A stunning welsh pub ride

A stunning welsh pub ride

Welsh vistas, canals, rivers.... and pubs.


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - you can’t beat a good cycle ride that ride ends up at a great pub (or two).


This family friendly, feature-rich route has the benefit of following a canal towpath, which means it’s pretty much flat. The other benefit of a canal towpath is that this makes navigating the route dead easy. One thing to remember though is that there are a number of short sections where you will have to dismount and walk your cycle.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Llangollen (pronounced "klan·goth·luhn”), it features a beautiful canal and riverside town nestled in a picturesque and lush Denbighshire vale. The great news is that it’s very accessible for a reasonable chunk of the west midlands and northwest England. This part of North Wales is within an hour of Chester, and an hour and a half of Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke and Wolverhampton, not to mention of course Wrexham and numerous other smaller Welsh towns and villages.


The Horseshoe Falls

 The stunning start point from the Horseshoe falls


// Where to start

You can of course make this route along the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal as short as possible by joining and leaving the route wherever you like on the 46 mile stretch between the start of the canal near Llangollen to where it joins the main branch of the Shropshire Union Canal near Nantwich. Today our focus in on the ten mile (one way) stretch between Llangollen and Chirk, primarily because beyond Chirk the number of canal-side pubs dramatically tail off.

If you want to take the train, we suggest you make your way to Chirk Train Station and start from there. If driving, you have the option of starting from either Chirk or Horseshoe Falls.

Horseshoe falls (LL20 8BN) is just off the A5 between Berwyn and Llangollen. The falls are in a beautiful spot in at the bottom of a sloping meadow albeit, and is primarily a wide ‘U’ shaped weir. This weir, was cleverly designed by Thomas Telford to feed just the right amount of water from The Dee to feed this branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. So, this point marks the very start of this section of the canal.

If you want to take the train, we suggest you make your way to Chirk Train Station and start from there. If driving, you have the option of starting from either Chirk or Horseshoe Falls.


// From the falls to Llangollen

The first part of the route is from the falls to Llangollen. This section of the towpath is a gently meandering tree-lined 2 miles taking you past the Marina at Llangollen Basin to Llangollen Wharf (you’ll need to dismount during this section). It is probably the best place to have lunch due to the number and variety of places to eat and drink. If you don’t wish to stray too far from the canal, then The Bridge End Hotel is the spot. If you come off the path at Llangollen Wharf, the pub is about a couple of hundred metres towards down Wharf Hill towards the town.

From Llangollen the canal winds past a narrow section that has been cut into the rock and then opens out to reveal some stunning views across the valley and the River Dee, which effectively shadows the canal. Another 2 miles on from Llangollen, The Sun Trevor is the next pub along the route. It sits on the A539 just above the canal on the opposite side of the valley to the Vale of Llangollen Golf Club, which means if you’re sitting outside you get an appealing vista.


The Sun Trevor

This is the slightly oddly named The Sun Trevor


// Where to next?

A canal lift bridge is an interesting mechanism seen on many canals up and down the country and there’s a good example on this stretch between Llangollen and Trevor.

Pontcysyllte (I’ve tried and failed pronouncing this one) Aqueduct is one of the highlights of the route. It’s stands tall, just South of the Trevor Basin in the village of Trevor and if you’re not a vertigo sufferer, then it’s great to walk across. You won’t however, be able to take your bike across the aqueduct, so you can either park and lock your bike up at Trevor Basin, and walk across it and back, or just cycle around it and appreciate the view of it, rather than from it.

The Trevor Basin, is a very pleasant spot to visit, it hosts the Telford Inn pub, a café, public toilets and a visitor centre. The Telford Inn is a good spot for a bite to eat or a drink whilst observing the canal and the longboat traffic going onto and coming off the aqueduct.


The fabulous canal lift bridge between Llangollen and Trevor


// The last leg?

Because you can’t cycle over the aqueduct, you’ll need to cycle a little bit on the road dropping into and climbing out of the River Dee valley; Jump onto the B5434 out of town bearing right into Gate Road and across the Dee. A few hundred metres further on your left you’ll see a signpost pointing left towards a wide section of the canal that reads “Aqueduct / Pont Cario Dwr”. Follow this path across the canal, at which point you’ll be back on the tow path. Head away from the aqueduct.

It is then 3 miles to Chirk Station, which runs broadly parallel to the Wrexham train line and takes you past Chirk Marina. In Chirk there are a handful of places to eat and if you want a drink in Chirk, there’s the Stanton House Inn in town on the B5070 that runs through town, and The Bridge Inn on the same road just after you exit the town by the River Ceriog and interestingly just over the border into England. The border also bisects the aqueduct, so you step on to it in Wales and leave it in England as you head out of Chirk.

Your options are either to keep going on the towpath for as long as you wish, head back on the towpath and visit one of the pubs you've just cycled past.


This is Wales at its most wonderfulView across the Vale of Llangollen from the towpath


// The Route?

Where exactly is the ride?

The Route from Llangollen to Chirk


🚲What a load of kit: For the scenic pub tour

To enjoy the pub you will need to park your bike, sometimes out of sight and even though the area feels very safe, for complete peace of mind make sure your bike is rocking the ultra lightweight TiGr lock (and it looks super cool too).

The TiGr Blue Plus

Secondly, remember that your are in Wales. That means rain, and although we had a wonderfully warm dry day, the same couldn’t be said for the rest of the week. So make sure you wear your waterproofs and put your stuff in a Dry Patch Foldaway Back Pack to keep the damp out.

The Dry Patch Foldaway Back Pack