Greentraveller's Guide to Clwydian Range & Dee Valley
Written by Richard Hammond, Sarah Baxter, David Atkinson, Florence Fortnam
Artwork for Greentraveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards
Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty forms the dramatic upland frontier of north Wales, one of Britain’s unmissable scenic highlights.
This specially protected landscape covers 390 square kilometres of windswept hilltops, heather moorland, limestone crags and wooded valleys, almost touching the coast at Prestatyn Hillside in the north and stretching south to brooding Moel Fferna, its highest point at 630 metres. The area embraces some of Britain’s most glorious countryside, also the World Heritage Site of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal.
Undiscovered by many yet easy to explore, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB offers fascinating heritage, colourful culture, delicious fare and the warmest welcome. Clwydian Range is a remarkable chain of purple heather-clad summits topped by Britain’s most strikingly situated hillforts.
Beneath imposing mountains crossed by the Horseshoe Pass, Dee Valley winds its way through historic Llangollen, where Wales welcomes the world at the International Eisteddfod. Offa’s Dyke National Trail is an ever-present pathway along this land’s spine, recalling the ancient margins of Wales. It links up the area’s special places, as well as connecting with the southern marches and Wales Coast Path beyond.
What our writers discovered in Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB
When the Dee Valley was added to the Clwydian Range AONB, it became the largest area of outstanding natural beauty in Wales. From the purple-heather’d moorland to limestone crags, from rushing river to scenic valley, the area is awash with natural beauty and its unspoilt landscape provides home for innumerable flora and fauna. There are over 200 miles of rights of way routes, so the region's delights are easily accessible. Unmissable, iconic and awe-inspiring are the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail that runs the entire length of the area and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site.
As part of our celebration of the eight Welsh Protected Landscapes, Sarah Baxter discovers the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB offers a fantastic range of outdoor adventure
As part of our celebration of the eight Welsh Protected Landscapes, David Atkinson follows a food trail in the Clwydian Range AONB
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay
Blue = Places to eat
Yellow = Attractions
Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
- The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley is the largest AONB in Wales
- The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site is 11 miles long and is the largest aqueduct in Britain
- More than a quarter of the AONB is open access
- The AONB is home to 645 listed buildings and 95 scheduled ancient monuments
- The Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail runs the entire length of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB from Prestatyn in the north to Chirk in the south
- More than a quarter of the AONB is internationally important for its habitat and is designated Special Area of Conservation
- The AONB is home to 10 Iron Age Hillforts
- 324km of Rights of Way are promoted routes
Map of Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wales
Map supplied by Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB
Main images: Castell Dinas Bran, Vale of Llangollen: Malcolm Davies; Boating along Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: Paul Miles; Vivod Mountains: Chris Taylor; Cascade Woods river, Llanferres: Alun Disley; River Dee canoeing: Karl Midlane; Cyclist in Llangynhafal: Ray Wood.
This online guide to Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was funded by Welsh Government.