As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of outdoor adventure activities in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north Wales.
Those with an adventurous spirit will find endless amounts of fun in the Clwydian Range. The limestone cliffs and gorges are great for abseiling and climbing, whilst the steep wooded valleys are a real draw for mountain bikers. The region's two rivers – the Dee and Alyn – offer up some fantastic canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and thrill seekers will love the white water sports, such as body boating and stand up paddle boarding.
There's plenty on offer for those after a gentler experience too: the Clwydian region is home to some of Wales's best walking and cycling routes, and there are heritage tours if you want to polish up on your cultural knowledge along the way. Or learn how to keep bees on a woodland skills and craft course.
Ty Nant Outdoors, Llangollen, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
This friendly, family-run outfit specialises in all sorts of outdoor adventures, from kayaking and rafting to hill walking and abseiling. Canoe over Telford’s magnificent aqueduct, tackle raging rapids in a kayak, swing through the trees on ropes or bounce around the hills on a quad bike. Families are catered for too – children can have a go at most of the activities on offer on tailored family days, and there are steam train rides and narrow-boating for tinier ones. Andy and team also run a series of courses and workshops, such as whitewater rescue and first aid. tynantoutdoors.com
Bodyboating, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
If you think you’ve tried every water-based activity under the sun, think again. Body boating is the new white water craze to hit Wales, offering adreneline junkies a unique way to experience the raging rivers in this corner of Wales, essentially involving paddling a surfboard-like boat down rapids face first. Sound fun? It certainly is, and one day on the River Dee with these guys and you'll be as hooked at they are. And if you can tear your stare away from the menacing rapids ahead, there's some stunning countryside to gawp at too. bodyboating.co.uk
Stand Up Paddle Board UK, Corwen, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
One of the only UK companies providing stand up paddle boarding on white water, their fun and friendly sessions are run on the beautiful World Heritage Site, the Llangollen waterways. If paddling down rapids seems like a daunting prospect you can opt for a session on flat water, or how about getting a group of friends together for an evening social on the water? You can even bring your pooch along for a doggy paddle boarding session – water pups will love it! Choose from half-day taster sessions or a full day lesson. standuppaddleboarduk.com
Pro Adventure, Llangollen, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
You couldn’t find a better base for outdoor adventure: the Llangollen Canal – a World Heritage Site – runs straight through the town, and the centre is surrounded on all sides by wooded valleys, fast waters and rocky crags. If you’re itching to get out and put your muscles to the test, the enthusiastic team at this not-for-profit enterprise are the guys to turn to. As well as all the usual activities – climbing, abseiling, canoeing – they also run bushcraft weekends, target sports such as axe throwing, and canoe holidays. proadventure.org
Woodland Skills Centre, Denbigh, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
Ever fancied learning how to keep bees, spot British native trees or create a beautiful sculpture from a pile of stripped willow? This outdoor crafts and skills centre runs a huge range of woodland skills and crafts courses from their fabulous forest school hidden deep in the Dee Valley, from basket weaving and spoon carving to more practical workshops on hedge laying and how to manage a small woodland. They also run bushcraft weekends introducing children to the woodland and its wildlife. Their fabulous new eco-build centre is the ultimate inspirational place to learn about all things sustainable. woodlandskillscentre.uk
Heritage Tours North Wales, Llangollen, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
Experienced guide and storyteller, Heather’s walking tours combine invigorating hill walking with an insight into the area's cultural and historical legacy. Join her for a gentle stroll around the charming streets of Ruthin and learn intriguing stories of past inhabitants, or discover the geology and mining history at Loggerheads Country Park. There are various tours on offer, suitable to all ages and levels of fitness. heritagetoursnorthwales.com
TREKsmart, Clwyd, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
At the helm of this hill walking holiday company is Mike Smart, an experienced and passionate mountain walker, and a qualified guide, photographer and artist. Mike can tailor his trips to suit you, whether you’re after a single day or a multi-day adventure. Mike also runs the Llangollen Walking Festival each spring, a fabulous 3-day event with a programme packed with fascinating walks covering all sorts of subjects, from history to photography. treksmart.weebly.com
Oneplanet Adventure, Llandegla, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
With over 40km of biking trails set within the 650-acre Coed Llandegla Forest, this mountain biking centre is the place to go to for seasoned pros or total novices alike. On site there's a friendly shop selling every item of biking equipment you could possibly want, and the award-winning café serves great coffee and an ever-changing specials menu. And you don't have to own your own bike – rent a top-of-the-range model from their hire shop oneplanetadventure.com
For information on characterful places to stay, local food and drink, and nearby visitor attractions, see our Green Traveller's Guide to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley