Chirk Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Chirk

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    Chirk Castle Gardens

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 26, 2006

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    Topiary, Chirk Castle gardens
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    Wonderful gardens, created and landscaped in 1764 by William Emes, with lawns, shrubberies, topiary, lime tree avenue and a woodland walk through the ancient hunting park. The views from the terrace extend over nine counties with the Shropshire and Cheshire plains in the foreground.

    As it was Easter, there was a family Easter egg hunt on so the gardens were busy with families rushing to find hidden clues.Even so, it was not unbearably busy and plenty of quiet corners could be found.
    I think what impressed me most, here, was the topiary. Please read the plaque for interesting info on this, including using the clippings as a cancer cure!!!
    Further down the garden, set just off the lawn, is a thatched building known as the Hawk House. This is where birds of prey were kept and bred.
    The garden has it's fair share of statues, with the largest being Atlas.Also in the garden grounds, close to the house, is the laundry where you can imagine how the maids slaved over the antique equipment. This is newly restored and is home to the largest clothes maid/horse I have ever seen!!!!

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    Offa's Dyke

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 24, 2006

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    Offa's Dyke
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    Offa's Dyke is the ancient boundary between England and Wales, built in the 8th c. by the Saxon King Offa. It was used to defend his western boundary against the Welsh princes.
    It travels 177 miles and still seems to incorporate some of todays boundaries.
    There are many footpaths allowing access to the Dyke and some good, circular walks that use the path, around Chirk and Oswestry.
    I must admit the dyke is not impressive in some places, almost gone and yet in others, it rises up as a huge barrier, most remarkable. I guess it all depends on the area you are walking in.It is pretty well signposted but as I said, some parts, you have to use your imagination a little!!!

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    Canal Walks

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 24, 2006

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    Shropshire Union canal
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    From where we were camped it was a short walk down the road and onto a footpath that took us straight to the Shropshire Union canal. Here we watched the canal boats manouvreing through a lock, others waited their turn as they battled with the wind. It was pretty difficult going against the wind, boats were finding it difficult to pull out from the canalside when their turn through the lock arrived.Interestingly, the majority of boats had a dog onboard. Dogs and canalboats must go together!
    It being the Easter weekend, the canal was very busy with boats yet we hardly met another soul on foot.We walked a couple of miles back to St. Martin's, admiring the lovely canalside gardens and feeling rather envious.

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    Chirk Castle

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 26, 2006

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    Chirk  Castle
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    A great place to visit, especially on a nice day. The entrance is miles along a minor road, off the B4500. A lovely driveway (one way system) through beautiful parkland.
    The marshalled carpark was filling up with a steady stream of cars as we arrived, before the castle was even open(the grounds open a couple of hours before the castle.)It was Easter Saturday, after all. When we left, cars were parked all down the driveway.
    We opted to have a walk round the gardens first, come back to the van for lunch and then do the inside of the castle (See next tip for gardens.)
    The castle was built by Roger Mortimer in 1295 as part of Edward I's chain of 14 marches fortresses across North Wales.It has been continuously lived in for the last 700 yrs. The present owners, the Myddelton family,have resided here for the last 400 years and parts of the castle are of course, annoyingly out of bounds.
    No photography is allowed inside the house.
    The state rooms are simply lavish.Amazing ceilings which you can get a better view of from hand mirrors left for your use.
    You can climb Adam's Tower which was being restored on our visit and then decend to the deep dungeon.
    There's also the servants Hall with a list of quaint rules, just about legible, on the wall.Unfortunately, I can't remember any of them!!
    All in all, we felt for the £7 admission, (including the gardens) it was well worth the money. It wasn't over done and the lack of notices forbidding you to do this that and the other was refreshing. The housekeeper gave an introductory talk and then an official was in each room to answer questions and hand out cards with information on. It was all remarkably laid back. I don't like these places that herd you all through together on a guided tour. This was much better, being able to explore in your own time.
    We found most of the paintings were extremely dark and difficult to distinguish, even on a bright day.

    There is, of course, a restaurant, a snack bar and a farm shop.Also a childrens playground and a picnic area.

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    Whittington Castle

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Whittington castle
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    This is a 12thc. moated castle under reconstruction.Most of the castle was covered in scaffolding and fenced off as workmen went about their business.(Nice work.)
    A small carpark and pleasant grounds to walk in. There is access onto some parts of the ruins by a spiral staircase. From here, you get a reasonable view of the pond and moat, as well as the rest of the castle.
    The grounds are open all year and there was reported to be a souvenir shop and tearoom open from Easter. We saw no signs of these.I have also read that tours can be arranged but from what we saw, I wouldn't think it very safe to take the public onto a building site.
    I was mildly disappointed, thinking there was going to be more to this than there was.

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    Oswestry Race Course

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Old Racecourse, Oswestry
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    Supposedly a popular beauty spot, the old racecourse common set high above and to the west of Oswestry.
    It was a hugely popular venue for horse racing up until 1850.Nowadays, you can still see hoof prints but only from horses being ridden for pleasure.
    It's an easy mile and a half walk on a figure of eight course which you can't really make out from ground level.
    The old grandstand has been re-fettled and is close to the car park.
    Supposedly superb views from the race course, over Shropshire and Wales, with various landmarks depicted on maps in the grandstand but trees cover much of the views. Probably the best views are from near the carpark.
    It was wonderfully peaceful up here and hard to believe we were only a mile or so from Oswestry.

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    Fenn's and Whixall Mosses

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 26, 2006

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    Old tramway across bog for transporting cut peat
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    On our last full day, we decided to head for somewhere quiet so out came the map to look for reasonably interesting places for a walk. In the end, we chose a nature reserve to the east of Ellesmere, noting there were three parking areas marked on the map. This was Fenn's and Whixall Mosses trails, an area of raised bog, once used for peat cutting, now managed by English nature and Countryside council for Wales. They are working at mending the damage created by commercial peat cutting by controlling the scrub and damming the drained peat cuttings so they retain rain water.
    It's a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the third largest raised bog in Britain. It is home to rare plants, animals and birds, though I must admit, we only saw a few birds of prey otherwise it was the most sterile place we had ever come across as far as wild life was concerned. They obviously heard us coming.
    Be very careful not to stray off the paths and end in a deep gully of which there are many.

    We began our way-marked walk along the Llangollen canal where we watched a small bridge lifted many times to let canal boats through. Actually, this was probably the most exciting part of the walk as the old tramway across the peat bog was mind-bogglingly boring. Plebs we may be but we can recognise a decent bit of landscape when we come across one!!! One other intersting detail was the detailed whittled fencing.
    A small parking area over the lifting bridge and a layby this side.

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    Ellesmere

    by nickandchris Updated Apr 26, 2006

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    This, believe it or not, is classed as the Shropshire Lake District. What a laugh, it's all flat and there's only a few small, piddling lakes!!! In fact, we were never able to stop here, as all parking was taken up apart from a boggy pay and display park outside the town.
    So, it's a pleasant enough place with a lake slap bang in the middle that you can walk round or feed the ducks and a touristy looking town full of people but not really our scene. Reminded us of Bowness on a small scale too much!!!
    There is a small parking area on the outskirts next to the Shropshire Union canal with walks going in both directions and a marina along the way. Ellesmere is also close to the junction of the Shropshire Union and the Llangollen canal.

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    Chirk Castle

    by Andrew_W_K Written Apr 25, 2009

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    Mighty towers of Chirk castle
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    The obvious attraction in Chirk is the castle and it is a castle worth visiting. More of a huge fortified house really and if you check out my Chirk page it will give you more details about the history of the castle.
    Now under the ownership of the National Trust there is an admission charge (in April 2009 it was almost £10 for adults) but there's no charge to park in the car park and wander around it.
    There is also a cafe, shop, farm shop selling local produce and a small childrens play area. The views from the castle are wonderful looking out over the rolling Clwyd hills in the distance.
    Worth a detour if you are travelling along the A5.

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    Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts

    by Andrew_W_K Updated May 13, 2010

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    Chirk Aqueduct
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    If you are in the Chirk area you really should check out the spectacular aqueduct that spans the Ceiriog valley. And the nearby Pontcysyllte aqueduct just off the A5 near Llangollen (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Now over 200 years old and designed by Thomas Telford, the Scottish civil engineer so intrinsically linked with Shropshire.
    Still in use today and making up part of the Llangollen canal it is an engineering masterpiece.
    You are able to walk the towpath that runs alongside the canal and marvel at the aqueduct and the even taller viaduct that sits alongside and carries the trains from Wrexham to Shrewsbury.
    Just before the aqueduct starts at the northern end there is a large basin where canal barges moore up while they wait to use the tunnel that cuts through the hillside for almost half a kilometre which you can also walk.

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    CHIRK CASTLE ENTRANCE GATE'S

    by balhannah Written Jan 28, 2012

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    Chirk entrance gates
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    All we had to do to find Chirk Castle, was to follow the sign's from the Village, easy!
    The route took us through some beautiful countryside to a very nice wrought iron Gate, so nice that I had to take a photo.

    The magnificent baroque designed iron gates [1719], bear the coat-of-arms of the Myddelton family of Chirk Castle.

    The original gates were intended to be located at the end of the drive from Chirk Castle, but instead, in 1771, when the New Hall Lodge was built, the gates were moved alongside.
    In 1888 the gates were moved for a third time to their present position at Llwyn y Cil and the pallisades on either side were restored to their former state.

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    CHIRK CASTLE GARDEN'S

    by balhannah Written Jan 28, 2012

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    There is plenty to see here, so allow plenty of time.
    Chirk Castle has been occupied virtually continuously as a castle and stately home for almost 700 years.

    My main interest and what took me most time, was walking around and enjoying the lovely garden.
    Lady Margaret Myddleton brought the gardens back to life after the Second World War - a time when they became overgrown.

    There were many neatly trimmed hedge's that formed "garden" room's, each one with something different. In one large hedge, I found a garden seat hidden, maybe for the romantic's!
    July had colour, and I wasn't at all disappointed with the garden.

    More photo's in travelogue.

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    CHIRK CASTLE COAT OF ARM'S

    by balhannah Written Jan 28, 2012

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    Well, I guess I should say, the owner's [Myddelton coat of arms]

    I saw a few of them, a good one is above the entrance way to Chirk Castle.

    What is interesting, is there is a myth about a "red Hand", and if you look, you will see it in the coat of arm's.
    One story tells of a dispute which arose between two young lads in the family, this involved inheritance of the castle.
    A further story tells that during a battle, one of the Myddeltons was dressed in a white tunic when he was badly injured. Not thinking, he put his blood covered hand on his tunic which then became this heraldic symbol???
    There are more stories than these!

    The other is the Wolve's and you will find many statue's of Wolve's around the Castle. This is because some early Myddelton ancestor's had the name of Flaidd (the wolf) and Blaidd Rhudd (bloody wolf). They even used to keep a pet wolf under the drawbridge.

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    CHIRK CASTLE DETAIL'S

    by balhannah Updated Jan 28, 2012

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    Chirk Castle
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    We came to Chirck Castle by Car, this was easy as we just had to follow the sign's.
    I did notice the Arriva 2/A Wrexham to Oswestry is listed for the Castle, but am not sure if it takes you to the Castle itself.

    When we were quite close to the Castle, we noticed a car park down the bottom of the hill, and this was where we had to park.
    So, you guessed it, To reach the Castle it is a short STEEP walk from the Visitor Centre.
    You may huff & puff!

    What is good for busy day's, is the one-way route in place, this is good because the road is narrow. When you reach the wrought iron gate's, check which way to go because of this.

    Through out the Summer month's the Castle is open daily from 10 - 5pm
    I believe it is closed throughout Winter, so please check the excellent website

    I wanted to mainly see the Castle garden's, so this is where I spent most my time. I did go inside and have look, and would have liked to seen more, but time was against me.
    I think you would need a good part of a whole day to enjoy fully the "whole" Castle!

    ADMISSION IN 2012.....
    Full castle...Adult: £9.00....Child: £4.50 ... Family: £22.50
    Garden and tower only...Adult: £6.40...Child... £3.24Family: £16.20

    National Trust Members are FREE

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    AQUEDUCT LOWER VIEW POINT

    by balhannah Updated Jan 28, 2012

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    Chirk Aqueduct
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    The Chirk Aqueduct is a 70-foot high and 710-foot long navigable aqueduct that carries what is now the Llangollen Canal across the Ceiriog Valley near Chirk, on the England-Wales border.

    I wanted to see it close up, so down the Hill I walked and came out alongside the Narrow-boat's.

    This was a larger area than the Canal as it was a Boat park. Boat's waited here to pass through the Tunnel, and other's were waiting to go along the Aqueduct.

    The funny part, was the "BOAT TRAFFIC JAM!"
    I learnt from this, that you don't want to be in a hurry if hiring one of the Narrow boat's.
    From a "boater" I was told only so many were allowed through the Tunnel at a time, and then the other side were allowed to go, but this was not happening, getting so bad, there were nearly Boat accident's.
    Eventually, after about 10 Boat's came through the Tunnel, they were able to move, and the traffic jam started to ease! Thank-goodness, as more and more Boat's were pouring into the area from crossing the Aqueduct!
    This took up a lot of my time, fun to watch!

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