Wales, Ceiriog Valley
7 miles/11.3 km • moderate
Ceiriog ValleyMid Wales, near Wrexham
The Ceiriog Valley – ‘a piece of heaven that has fallen to earth’ (David Lloyd George) – offers peaceful walking and a charming setting. A highlight of the walk – for some perhaps the point of it – is the traditional and unspoilt West Arms pub with its heartening food. It’s not just a pit stop for summer walkers – the welcome is always warm – but the roaring log fires in the front hall and bar will make even the most blustery autumn or winter walk worthwhile. It has rooms, so you could make a weekend oi it. There’s more about the pub in the link below as well as directions and points of interest for the walk.
Start The West Arms, at the centre of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog village. Ample car parking at rear of the hotel.
Essentials 2-3 hours, one long ascent. Terrain Tarmac lanes and grassy paths.
Finding the way From The West Arms, 1 turn left and walk over bridge and straight up the tarmac lane opposite. This turns into a gravel track – the Upper Ceiriog Way. The first 15 minutes of walking are very steep and all uphill. Passing Penybryn and, slightly further on, Pen-yr-allt there are good moorland views westwards. At the top pass through two gates on to open moorland, and a gentle decline to the ford at Rhyd Caledwynt, called Ford of the Wild Winds. In 50 yards (46 metres), take the rutted track heading south to your right, which hugs the valley on its right. Follow the track through a gate, then 2 take the right fork and continue to Gorffwysfa where track becomes tarmac, towards Hafod Adams. After roughly 0.5 miles (0.8 km), 3 take tarmac lane sharp on right and follow up the hill westwards through Llwythder-isaf farmyard and on up to Pen-yr-allt to rejoin Upper Ceiriog Way. 4 Here turn left and retrace start of route back to The West Arms.
Points of interest
LLANARMON DYFFRYN CEIRIOG is a settlement that grew up at the intersection of several roads, by which Welsh drovers brought sheep and cattle to market in England. This intersection of the roads that forded the River Ceiriog made the place a natural spot for a set- tlement to spring up. The inns in the village (The West Arms and The Hand) originally fed and watered the travelling drovers.
PENYBRYN is the farm where poet and collector of Welsh folk tunes, John Ceiriog Hughes (sometimes referred to as the Robert Burns of Wales), was born and spent his childhood.
CERRIG GWYNION HILLFORT is an Iron-Age hillfort which shows evidence of quarrying and building-platforms.
The West Arms Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog Where to start? Maybe the the beer garden – you can eat out here – it has spectacular views of the scenery in which you are about to walk. And the real ales are local – mainly from Stonehouse Brewery in Oswestry – but they rank nationally: the traditional Station Bitter from this brewery was the SIBA national champion in 2013. It’s certainly a good one to try first. The food may look pricey, but that’s because its reputation (under Grant Williams – 20 years in the job) is unshakeable. The bar menu is extensive and you can just order a sandwich if something like their grilled Ceiriog trout with lemon, almond and rocket butter doesn’t take your fancy. You’ll find atmosphere aplenty since locals flock here too, and although the walking might be best in summer, the cheer of the open Inglenook fires, flagstones and blackened beams would be most cosy at other times of year. The bedrooms are comfortable and unpretentious.