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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. Many would 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 the same 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 from the 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 shops at 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 first destination, 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.

First Stop: Pistyll Rhaeadr

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