• 13 дек. 2010 г.
  • 7186 Слова
Seven Wonders of Wales



Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton Yew-trees, St. Winifred wells,
Llangollen Bridge and Gresford bells

The anonymous nursery rhyme listing the so-called seven wonders of Wales was probably written by an English visitor to North Wales sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century. Manywould argue with his choice of so-called wonders, but as they are all found in the same general area, from our base in Chester, handily situated on the border, we can visit them all in turn in a day or two and also add a few of our own on the way.. Should the visitor wish to stay in Wales, then Wrexham (but 12 miles distant), provides an ideal center: look for the Belmont Hotel on the road with thesame name.
Chester, nestled within a great curve in the River Dee (Afon Dyfrdwy), was once named Deva, the headquarters of the 20th Roman Legion in the 1st Century A.D. There are many Roman remains to be seen here, including part of the excavated amphitheatre, the hypocaust, and a few surviving baths. It is of more interest to us perhaps, that there are Chester laws still extant (dating fromthe late Middle Ages) that proscribe the actions of Welsh people within the city gates. Fortunately these laws, (dealing mainly with the times that the Welsh are allowed into the city and what weapons they are limited to carry) are not currently enforced by the current chief constable, a Welshman!! The famous Rows-- galleries above the main streets, are said to have been built to protect the shopsat street level from Welsh cattle drovers with their flocks of sheep and geese and herds of cattle.
The high city walls that encircle the old city for two-miles were first begun almost two thousand years ago by mercenaries in the pay of Rome. From the northwest corner, the hills of Wales can be seen in the distance, the most prominent being Moel Fammau in the Clwydian Range. Our firstdestination, however, is located in the peaceful, green Berwyn Mountains (famous for their succulent Welsh lamb), southwest of the Vale of Clwyd. It is the waterfall known as in Welsh as Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Pistyll Rhaeadr


Translated as the spring of the waterfall, the impressive cascade, at 240 ft (74 metres) is the highest in Wales. It is also the most difficult of the seven wonders toreach. From Chester, we take the A483 road to Oswestry (Croeswallt), a town east of Offa's Dyke (the eighth century border between England and Wales), but one that stubbornly has held on to its Welsh identity right up to the present. From Oswestry, it is but a short journey to
the Tanat Valley.

To reach the secluded falls, after a pleasant drive through mostly uninhabited countryside we reachthe village of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant (A translation is the Church of the waterfall in the village of the stream of the Pigs). This village was once the parish of vicar (and later Bishop) William Morgan (1545-1604), the place where he worked on his translation of the Holy Bible into Welsh that became one of the deciding factors in the survival of the language. A narrow single-lane road, unsuitedfor coaches, and barely managed by automobile, leads to the falls, about 4 miles distant. Traffic must drive very slowly, for passing places are few and far between.

In the farmhouse at the base of the falls, though there is a little tea shop. It is a blessing to find no tourist offices, welcome centers or gift emporiums, thus the falls can be enjoyed without interruption in their naturalsplendor as they descend down the steep, rocky hillside in a series of leaps. The water drops first into a rock basin, and then descends under a natural arch of stone. Of the justly-famed falls, 19th Century author and traveler George Borrow remarked: " I never saw water falling so gracefully, so much like thin, beautiful threads as here."

The best time to visit, of course, is in spring,...
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