Did you know that the Seven Wonders of Wales can all be found in the North?
The original reference to the Seven Wonders of Wales actually comes from an anonymously written rhyme:
“Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham Steeple
Snowdon’s mountain without its people
Overton Yew Trees, St Winefride’s Well
Llangollen Bridge and Gresford Bells.”
But, while the origin of the rhyme isn’t known, that of the seven mentioned locations most certainly is. So, if history is your thing, read on to find out more about the seven most historic landmarks in North Wales…
1) Pistyll Rhaeadr
Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall, near Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, is the highest waterfall in both England and Wales at an impressive 80 metres. Fed by water from the Berwyn Mountains, the waterfall is formed by the Afon Disgynfa falling in three stages into the Afon Rhaeadr below. There is a car park and café at the foot of the waterfall, making it a great place to explore the Berwyn Mountains and surrounding hills from, with many walks available to suit a variety of walkers. And, if you fancy stopping for a bit longer to soak up the atmosphere, a campsite is situated just a stone’s throw away from the majestic waterfall…
2) St Giles’ Church, Wrexham
The 16th Century tower of St Giles’ Church in Wrexham can be seen for miles. Referred to as a steeple in the poem the tower, which is 135 feet high, was completed in 1506. Over the pond, a half-size replica of the tower can be found at Yale University, which includes an original stone from St Giles’ tower. The Grade I listed medieval Parish Church itself is a whopping 180-feet long, making it the largest of its type in Wales.
The highest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon stands 1,085 metres high.
Located in Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon is the busiest mountain in the UK, and the third most visited attraction in Wales, with almost 600,000 visitors each year. The mountain can be climbed by a variety of routes, but the easiest way to reach the summit is via the Snowdon Mountain Railway which departs from Llanberis. And, whichever way you have reached the top, you can enjoy some refreshments at the Hafod Eryri visitor centre while admiring the stunning view.
4) The Yew Trees, Overton-on-Dee
These famous yew trees can be found in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, a church which dominates the high street of Overton-on-Dee in Wrexham. The majority of the 21 yew trees are believed to date back between 1,500 and 2,000 years, however one was planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992 in order to celebrate the 700th anniversary of a Royal Charter being granted to Overton by Edward I in 1292.
5) St Winefride’s Well, Holywell
St Winefride’s Well is located in Holywell, Flintshire. It is a Grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument that has attracted pilgrims for more than 1,000 years. Legend has it that the Well’s waters have healing powers, which perhaps explains why it is the oldest continually visited pilgrimage site in Great Britain. An onsite exhibition explains the history of St Winefride’s Well, and even displays crutches left behind by some of the reportedly cured pilgrims from the 19th and early 20th Centuries…
Llangollen Bridge, Denbighshire
Llangollen Bridge was the first stone bridge to span the River Dee. Built in the 16th Century to replace an earlier bridge built under the direction of John Trevor, Bishop of St Asaph, it has been upgraded many times. In the 1860s the bridge was extended by adding an extra arch and a two-storey stone tower with a castellated parapet. This then became a café before being demolished in the 1930s to improve traffic flow. The bridge was then widened in 1873 and yet again in 1968, using stonework which toned in with the original structure. Today Llangollen Bridge is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Gresford Bells, Gresford
All Saints Church in Gresford makes the list, not for its size or beauty, but for its bells – which are still rung regularly for church services. A device means that all eight of the bell chimes can be rung by just a single person, and the bells themselves are renowned for the purity of their tone. Meanwhile, the Grade I listed 15th Century church has been described as the finest parish church in Wales, and has the most surviving medieval stained glass of any Welsh church.