Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB

The Range from Bryn Alyn, Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB, Wales
The Range from Bryn Alyn, Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB ©

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is located in the counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham in north east Wales. The area was first designated a AONB back in 1985 and was subsequently extended in 2011 and now the area covers 389 square kilometres and includes the Loggerheads and Moel Famau Country Parks. The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley is well known for the dynamic scenery, open spaces, remoteness, landscapes, tranquillity and rich variety of wildlife habitats and heritage.

The local population of approx 11,000 live in local villages and towns located across the AONB such as Bodfari, Carrog, Corwen and Llangollen. The area covered under the AONB designation covers an area starting from close to Prestatyn in the north to Mold in the east to Denbigh in the west to the Berwyn Mountains in the south. The area is of national importance for nature conservation and includes of Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

The key features and special qualities of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB include the river valleys, grasslands, moorlands, landscapes, hillforts, range of wildlife habitats, cultural heritage and historical sites including Chirk Castle and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site, legacies and settlements. The area is important for wildlife and habitats with a number of protected sites. The key features combined with the tranquillity, remoteness and unspoilt nature of the site and inspiring scenery makes the area special.

The main industries in the AONB include farming, agriculture, forestry and tourism. The area is popular among visitors and attracts visitors for day trips, short breaks, holidays and for a number of recreational activities. There are a number of scenic historic villages located in the AONB including Carrog and Llandyrnog and the small tows of Corwen and Llangollen. Main settlements located close by include Wrexham, Rhyl and Prestatyn.

The area is popular for outdoor activities wildlife watching, horse riding, fell running, walking and cycling with a range of routes and trails to explore. Visitors can enjoy the natural environment and scenic landscapes that rank among the finest in Wales and the UK.

Quick Facts

Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

Year of Designation: 1985 (further extended November 2011)

Population: 11,000 (approx)

Size in square kilometres: 389

Scheduled Ancient Monuments: 47

Listed Buildings: 236

Highest Elevation: Moel Farnau (554 Metres)

Main Settlements close by: Prestatyn, Rhyl, Wrexham, Chester.

Located in: Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham counties.


The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB in the north east of Wales is located in Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham counties, the area is famous for the Clwydian Range of mountains and the scenic natural beauty of the area. The AONB was extended in November 2001 to include the Dee Valley resulting in a larger protected area that is just under 400 square kilometres in size.

The location of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley in the north east of Wales border provides visitors with a scenic haven away from the traffic and congestion of the towns and cities, visitors can discover some of the finest and most scenic countryside and open spaces in Wales and the UK offering inspiring views, attractive villages and landscapes.

The AONB is well known for the lowland river landscapes, impressive limestone gorge scenery, dense ravine woodlands, a range of wildlife and habitats, a number of archaeological and industrial remains reflecting the history of the area and impressive geology including Old Red Sandstone and Silurian limestones. The AONB is on the England/Wales border; the area is a popular day trip and short breaks destination.

The AONB includes a number of small settlements, the AONB area itself does not include any major towns or cities falling within the AONB boundary, local settlements include as Corwen and Llangollen; visitors can discover a number of charming villages in the area.

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB has a rich history and includes various scenic landscapes and environments for visitors to explore; the area is of national importance for its landscape, ecology and geology. Local towns located close to the AONB border include Prestatyn and Rhyl in north Wales, Wrexham in north east Wales and the city of Chester across the border in England. The local towns provide convenient places from which visitors can tour the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB and surrounding areas in north and north east Wales.

The Area of Outstanding Beauty area enjoys a similar level of protection given to National Parks meaning commercial development in the AONB area has been limited in order to help protect and maintain the special qualities of the area. The area offers plenty for visitors to see, do and enjoy, the proximity of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley to nearby Snowdonia National Park to the west and the Shropshire Hills AONB to the south in England means time permitting visitors could explore all three in a trip to the area.

The location in the north east of Wales means the AONB is easily assessable from across Wales, the Midlands and northern England. From Newcastle, Durham and much of north east England the area is 3 to 4 hours by car, from Leeds it is 2 hours by car, from Birmingham and much of the Midlands it is 1 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours. From Liverpool and Manchester it is approx 1 hours to 1 hour 30 minutes. The proximity of the AONB to north west England means the area has been established as a popular ay trip/short break destination for some time conveniently located for visitors from Merseyside, Great Manchester and Cheshire.

From Cambridge and much of the East of England it is 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours by car. From Cardiff and South Wales it is 3 to 3 hours 45 minutes by car. From London and much of southern England it is 4 to 5 hours drive by car.

Tourist Information Centres and information points are located at various locations close by to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB. There are centres located in Rhyl, Wrexham and in Llangollen within the AONB. The tourist information centres can provide visitors with useful information, help, advice and tips on the AONB area and the surrounding areas.

Each of the tourist information centres has knowledgeable staff with valuable local knowledge with information on local attractions, places of interest, things to see and do, along with local advice and tips. A visit to the tourist information centres provides a good first port of call for visitors helping to better plan and organise trips in and around the local area. At the centres visitors can find out about local events, public transport options and accommodation facilities.

Local Accommodation includes a range of hotels including historic and contemporary, B & B’s, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, holiday homes and cottages. Local accommodation is available in Corwen and Llangollen. Towns located in the area including Wrexham, Rhyl and Prestatyn and the cities of Chester in England and St Asaph in Wales, provide good access to local facilities and accommodation from which to explore the AONB and the surrounding local areas.

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB is a place where visitors can enjoy peace and quiet in a remote wonderland with a number of panoramic views where it is possible to get away from it all. There are a number of small settlements in the AONB, many of the villages in the AONB have preserved their history, traditions and heritage remaining quintessential Welsh. The villages include with a number of local attractions and places of interest to discover.

Local Towns and Villages include Carrog located 8 miles to the west of Llangollen in the south of the AONB area. The village of Carrog is located in Denbighshire, the name means 'fast flowing stream'; during the 1600s a church on low ground was swept away by floods, a new church on high ground was later built. Carrog Station is a station on the restored Llangollen Steam Railway, currently the only standard gauge heritage railway in North Wales. The line starts at Llangollen station and runs upstream for 10 miles up to Corwen; the heritage railway Victorian design and the stations have been made to resemble the 1950s.

Llantysilio is a village 2 miles to the north west of Llangollen; the compact village is located in Denbighshire, attractions include the church dedicated to St Tysilio that is located above the Horseshoe Falls in the wooded hills, the scenic area includes both picnic and parking facilities. Visitors can enjoy walks up to Velvet Hill or alternatively along the canal. The area is known for the moorland wildlife including golden plover, merlin and black grouse.

Llangollen is a picturesque town located by the River Dee surrounded by hills; it is located 10 miles to the east of Corwen in the south east corner of the AONB. The location and facilities available in the town make it a popular place for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley ad other areas in North Wales. The town is home to a number of cafes, bars, restaurants offering a choice of dining options and has a choice of accommodation options to suit a range of budgets.

Local attractions include the Llangollen Museum; visitors can learn more about local history and culture at the museum that is housed inside a circular building that resembles a castle tower. Victoria Promenade and Children's Park is located in the area bordering the River Dee; there is a children's play park, bandstand and cafe offering a great place for the whole family to enjoy a picnic with a scenic riverside setting. The Royal International Pavilion hosts a number of events and festivals during the course of the year including the International Musical Eisteddfod in July and the Food Festival held in October.

Other Attractions include the Llangollen Motor Museum; the museum houses a number of historic cars and bikes from the early part of the 20th century up to 1975. Among the collection of vehicles are a number of Austins, Citroens and a Model T Ford; bikes include the Triumph, The Norton and the Ariel revoking the golden age of British bikes. A visit to the museum offers an insightful, humorous look down memory lane for vehicles and is likely to appeal to motoring enthusiasts.

Corwen is a compact market town located 10 miles to the west of Llangollen in the south west of the AONB. Historically the tow was well known as a crossroads in North Wales associated with historic routes from Chester to Bala and London to Holyhead. The town was popular with Victorian travellers and evidence of this is shown in some of the historic architecture in the buildings in the town centre.

The scenic market town is located at the foot of the Berwyn Mountains in the west of the Dee Valley. The location of the town means it provides a convenient location from which to explore the Clwydian Range, Dee Valley, Snowdonia and Northern Wales. The town centre includes a number of shops and local conveniences and the town includes a number of accommodation options. Local attractions include the St Mael and St Sulien Church that dates back to the 6th century; the building dates back to Norman times and is noted for its architecture. The Rhug Estate is a historic estate noted for its 17th century chapel with its ornate interior.

The local landscapes are famous for the rugged mountains and heather moorland; the scenic landscapes offer visitors with a number of interesting walks. The Dee Valley Way links the towns of Corwen ad Llangollen in a 15 miles walk taking in some breath taking river scenery. The Caer Drewyn Walk is a waymarked path that takes walkers to the historic Caer Drewyn Iron Age hillfort.

Loggerheads Country Park is located approx 16 miles north of Llangollen in the AONB area. It provides a convenient northern gateway to discovering both the Clwydian Range and the Dee Valley; the park itself is renowned for its scenery, heritage and diversity of wildlife. The park is an internationally recognised area of conservation and is both a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); the woodland, grassland and flora and fauna along with wildlife habitats make the area special.

Visitors can see the river valley of the Alyn, explore the woodlands, grasslands, limestone cliffs and stunning natural scenery making it the perfect country escape for the whole family. The park is an activity haven including abseiling, cycling, walking, wildlife watching and more. There is a well marked Discovery Trail at the park along with accessible pathways allowing visitors to discover what the park has to offer. Visitors can take part in a number of guided walks to explore the area further and learn more about the rich history, heritage and industrial background of the area.

Moel Famau Country Park is located approx 18 miles to the north of Llangollen in the AONB area. Moel Famau (Mother Mountain in Welsh) is 554 metres (1,818 feet) high and is the highest peak in the Clwydian Range, it is known for Jubilee Tower at the summit that is visible for many miles around the area. The Moel Famau mountain and the surrounding area make up the Moel Famau Country Park, the park attracts in excess of 200,00 each year drawn to the wildlife, moorland and stunning views.

Local highlights include the scenic heather moorland, variety of wildlife including skylarks and black grouse, the park provides a feeding and nesting area for birds. Visitors are greeted with inspiring views across Vale of Clywd to Snowdonia and to the North Wales coast and o the east there are great views across to the Wirral and Merseyside.

Hillforts are a historic feature of the landscape in the AONB; created through earth movements millions of years ago. Today visitors can see an impressive chain of hillforts that starts from Moel Hiraddug in the north to Caer Drewyn in the south forming one of the most impressive and historic landscapes in Wales. In recent years there have been efforts to preserve and maintain the hillforts offering visitors with better access to the historic sites.

Chirk Castle is located 7 south east from Llangollen in the south east corner of the AONB. A National Trust property is an impressive medieval fortress that dates back to the start of the 14th century. The castle is the final Welsh castle built from the reign of Edward I that is still lived in currently and it has been inhabited throughout its long 700 year history. The castle is well known for its medieval tower ad dungeon.

Highlights in the castle in include the stunning views from the top floor offering inspiring views across some nine counties. Visitors can see the lavishly furnished rooms; visitors can take a tour of the castle and learn more about the 400 years of interior fashions and designs of the Myddleton family home including 17th century oak panelling and elements of Victorian Gothic designs and elegant Georgian designs.

The East Wing offers visitors a trip back to the 1920s, visitors can see how house guests of Howard de Walden were entertained during the era. Highlights include the dining rooms, compact library and the lower butler's pantry.

The parkland includes a number of mature trees, wild flowers, bugs and birds. The scenic tranquil landscape offers a fine place to enjoy a walk, with woodland trails. The gardens at the park offer a place where visitors can enjoy a relaxing stroll and become relaxed and refreshed enjoying the scents and colours of the range of flowers and scrubs in a relaxing environment.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a World Heritage Site located 4 miles to the east of Llangollen in the south east corner of the AONB. Located in the Dee Valley in 2009 the site along with 11 miles of canal from Chirk to Llangollen became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding historical, engineering and architectural importance. It has been referred to as 'the stream in the sky', the aqueduct is 126 feet in height and 1,007 feet in length and is the tallest navigable canal boat crossing in the world.

The aqueduct includes 18 piers and 19 arches each of which has a 45 foot span, dating back to 1805; it was built using local stone. The largest aqueduct in the UK, water is fed from the Horseshoe Falls located close to Llangollen. Visitors can see more of the area via a boat ride complete with commentary on the history of the area. Visitors can walk along the towpaths that are flat and rich in wildlife, the relaxing landscape and peace and quiet offer a great place t enjoy a scenic walk.

Walking offers visitors the most cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to discover the AONB and the surrounding areas, there are a number of popular walks in the area for visitors to try. The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB includes a choice of landscapes and terrain offering shorter and longer walks for walkers of all abilities. The routes pass through some of the most scenic and prettiest villages in the AONB.

Walks include the Dee Valley Way, a 15 mile trail from Corwen to Llangollen or vice versa. The route is way-marked and spilt in to sections, it makes in some of the finest scenery and pass through a number of villages that are full of character and charm. The Offa's Dyke National Trail is a long 177 mile trail that starts from the England/Wales border in Chepstow all the way north to Prestatyn. The route takes in some inspiring landscapes and wonderful natural scenery, including the Llandegla moors, Ruabon Mountain and the hills of the Clwydian Range and finishes by the coast on the Prestatyn hillside.

Cycling provides both a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to explore the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB. There are a number of quiet country lanes, bridleways, tracks and flat terrain to far more challenging terrain making the area suitable for cyclists of all abilities. There are a number of cycle routes in the area these include; the Prestatyn-Dyserth Way; is a 4 mile route along side an old railway line that includes a wildlife corridor that includes butterflies, kestrels and voles. Visitors can return via the Rhuddlan to Rhyl Riverside Path (National Cycle Network Route 84) making the route circular and seeing up close many of the finest elements of the AONB.

Visitors to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB in north east Wales provides visitors with a quiet, scenic haven area full of history, charm and character. Visitors can explore a number of historic Welsh villages and towns in and around the AONB. A visit to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB offers visitors a scenic getaway showcasing some of the finest landscapes and countryside in Wales.

How to Get There

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

The town of Llangollen in Wales is located in the south of the AONB; providing a convenient located from which to explore the area with a choice of accommodation, facilities and local amenities. Located approx 190 miles from central London. From London take the A5 then take the M1 all the way until the junction with the M6 and take the M6 up to junction 10A and then exit on to the M54. Continue on the M54 and the A5 that goes to Llangollen. The approx journey time is 4 to 5 hours depending on traffic and time of day.

By Train:

From London Euston station there are regular services to Chester train station. The journey time is approx 2 hours depending on service, connections and time of day. From Chester there train services to Ruabon railway station via Arriva Trains Wales, the approx journey time is 20 to 25 minutes. From Ruabon Station bus service number 5 to Bridge End Hotel, Llangollen are available via bus operators Bryn Melyn, the approx journey time is 15 minutes. Services from London Euston to Chester are proved by Virgin Trains and train services from Chester to Ruabon are provided by Arriva Trains Wales

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular coaches available from London Victoria Coach station to Wrexham. The approx journey time is 5 hours 30 minutes depending on connections, time of day and traffic. From Wrexham there are bus services available to Llangollen from the service number 5 bus via GHA Coaches, the journey time is approx 35 minutes. Coach services to Wrexham are provided by National Express

Contact Details

Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB
Denbighshire Countryside Services
Loggerherads Country Park
Nr Mold

Telephone: +44 (0)1352 810614 / (0)1352 810586

Website: Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB


For Local Search and Directions see: Clwydian Range & Dee Valley (AONB) Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including comfortable walking shoes, fleece, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB on the England/Wales border ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the AONB, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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