Walks Near Manchester: Wandering in Wales

A strenuous, "rollercoaster" 22 mile walk from Chirk to Wrexham...

When someone mentions Wrexham, or Wales for that matter, it does seem like it’s really far away from Manchester. But it isn’t.

Just over an hour’s drive away, Wrexham and its surroundings are closer than parts of Lancashire and the Lake District, and offer up an outstandingly diverse range of walks and trails for all abilities.

This particular walk, ‘Wandering in Wales’ has been designed by Sarah Peppiat at MAD Walkers, a strenuous “rollercoaster” walk along the Welsh border, from Chirk to Wrexham that’s been designated as perfect for experienced walkers.

MAD Walkers will be hosting this particular walk on Saturday 19th March, it’s FREE to attend, and all the details can be found at the bottom of this article.

Anyway, to the walk – and, starting in the village of Chirk, it’s an interesting little tidbit to note that it straddles the Welsh/English border along the River Ceiriog, which features a stunning canal viaduct, and an equally impressive boozer – The Bridge Inn – where you can start the day off properly with a pint.

Chirk Castle

Chirk is also home to Chirk Tunnel, an underground canal way that extends 420 metres and was constructed back in 1801. It’s a rather popular paddle boarding route, and there’s actually a walking path down there too that extends all the way – and makes for a rather creepy stroll.

Arriving either by train or car, from the centre of the village you should make your way towards Chirk Castle, a magnificent Medieval fortress that was built in the late 13th Century as part of King Edward I’s chain of castles surrounding North Wales.

Vale of Llangollen

Surrounding the castle is a huge deer park, so keep an eye out for them. From the castle though, the walk is going to take you towards the Vale of Llangollen, via a long pull-up road followed by a steep, loose descent down hill.

Llangollen is a quaint village right on the river, and there’s another castle nearby, Castel Dinas Brân, although this one is just ruins, set atop a hill and once a site of an earlier Iron Age hillfort, they make for a stunning stop off.

From here the walk is going to take you up towards World’s End, following Offa’s Dyke first on road and then across a rough limestone traverse, where it then climbs steeply up wet limestone and mud to exit on to the glorious Welsh Moors.

It’s a boggy crossing now towards Esclusham Mountain, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the site of Neolithic and Bronze Age farms, plus small scale mining. The 8km long Minera Caves also have their entrance around here, and because this whole area was once a seabed (440 million years ago), there’s the chance that you’ll find plenty of fossils.

The walk is finished by a pretty descent down a limestone gorge to Erddig Country Park, and then back through the suburbs of Wrexham. From here you can get the train back to Manchester, Chirk, or just head to the football club and see if you can catch a glimpse of Ryan Reynolds.

As mentioned above, MAD Walkers will be hosting this walk (plus others) this weekend on Saturday 19th March – lead by Sarah Peppiat. If you want to get involved – click the link below.

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MAD Walkers are a hiking group for 20s and 30s for people who live in and around the Greater Manchester area. With over 400 members, they offer a variety of group walks to suit you and many other like-minded people.

Head to their website to find an upcoming walk…

MAD Walkers

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