Wendy Hollinshead is leading the Mid ARS walk on 23rd July from Chirk Castle. We plan to leave Audlem Car Park at 8 am as it is about an hour's drive and an early start is we think preferable in the warmer weather. This means the toilets at Chirk castle will not be open when we arrive, but should be when we finish!
Wendy's description follows:-
> The walk starts at the Chirk Castle car park at LL14 5AF (car park is free) and is about 7.5 miles long with approximately 200 metres of ascent in the first half-probably a two booter, anticipated duration is about 4 hours including a brief lunch stop. Car travel is 50-60minutes by 3 possible routes through Ruabon, Ellesmere or Penley, each having initially passed through Whitchurch.
The walk starts at the car park and turns away from the Castle going through a gate into sheep fields where dogs will need to be on leads then crosses the Offa's Dyke path. We go uphill joining the Llwybr Ceiriog Trail on a narrow tarmac road for about a mile. Entering through a field we continue to follow the Trail on a stony path which can be slippy if wet, into woodland for about 2 miles-this part was mainly livestock free along fenced tracks when I walked it two weeks ago. Hopefully if weather permits we have a lovely coffee/lunch stop with fabulous views over Llangollen as we come out of the woods. Joining a narrow tarmac road, we gradually descend passing a disused quarry and the very pretty Bell Tower Farmhouse. With a last short ascent, we then join the original route along the road and walk back down through the sheep fields to our start point.
The walk crosses mainly sheep land, stony and woodland tracks and tarmac roads. As many ARS members may be aware I have not been able to participate in recent walks due to a foot injury so it may be that the walk is conducted at a more leisurely pace while my foot continues to recover.
> Chirk Castle itself is a magnificent grade 1 listed Castle/Stately Home built in 1295 by Robert Mortimer de Chirk as part of King Edward 1's chain of fortresses across North Wales. The Middleton family lived in the castle for many generations but it is now owned by the National Trust. Before you enter the estate you will pass by some very ornate gates (this is not the entrance to the Castle which is further on). These were created by the Davies Brothers-blacksmiths from Wrexham made from the estate's iron forge at Point-y-Blew in 1712-for which they were apparently paid 2 shillings a day to begin with! The gates have been moved twice and are now positioned where you will eventually exit the estate on the way home.
Opening times for the Castle Gardens, Cafe, Castle tours and Shop are published on the Internet but the Estate and parking is actually open earlier than published with the entry gates opening from around 8am. The shop and kiosk near the car park are advertised as being open from 10am on the 23rd and there is a cafe up by the castle a short walk away. Toilets are within the shop complex and are accessible when the shop complex is open.
NB All walkers must have suitable footwear and be prepared for adverse weather, carry food and water to last for the entire walk and be suitably fit for the various lengths of walk.
Each walk is led by a nominated leader who will carry some first-aid equipment. The leader has the right to refuse to include in a group anyone who is felt not be adequately equipped.
Non-members of Audlem Rambling Society (ARS) are welcome to come on a walk but are expected to join ARS and pay the membership fee after a trial walk or two.