A circular walk of 7 miles including 2,000 feet of elevation overall. Start Point: The Ponderosa Cafe on the Horseshoe Pass, Llangollen, Denbighshire. LL20 8DR. Map References: SJ1926748058 or Lat: 53.023701 Lon: -3.205093
Llantysilio Mountain is a collective name for a group of hills which run westwards from the top of the Horseshoe Pass. The main peaks are Moel Y Faen, Moel Y Gamelan, Moel Y Gaer, and Moel Morfydd; whose summit claims a specific trig point. Moel Y Gaer is denoted by the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, although evidence of human activity on these hills dates back to the Bronze Age with a large burial chamber located on the summit of Moel Y Gamelan.
In 2018 a large swathe of this landscape was lost to wildfire but despite this drab start underfoot, the slow reveal of extensive views over the Dee Valley towards Llangollen and the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran, more than make up for the blackened gorse and heather. The moorland is home to the rare Black Grouse as well as other moorland birds such as the Golden Plover, Ring Ouzel, and Merlin. Walking is on wide, clearly defined undulating paths. Some of the sections are steep. The second half of the route is easier going, connecting up with part of the Clwydian Way, before continuing eastwards past the disused Moel Y Faen slate quarries.
- Take the path opposite the Ponderosa Cafe in a south-westerly direction, which travels parallel to the road before bearing right, and uphill.
- At the top of the first knoll, bear left to continue. Thereafter the way is clearly denoted by wide tracks streaking across the aforementioned summits. At the trig point of Moel Morfydd the distance from the start will be 2.85 miles.
- Descend from this summit to see a post at the bottom indicating the Llangollen Round. Turn off the main pathway here and bear right along a sheep track which gradually descends to a well-hidden single-track road.
- Turn right. After a short distance on the right, a finger-post denotes a bridleway. Follow this until the bridleway swings right, and a stile presents itself by a gate.
- Go over the stile and follow the footpath through fields and pasture land until you reach a pair of wide double wooden gates with a stile and a finger post. Pass through the gate but ignore the finger post to the right and go straight on passing through all gates.
- At a fork in the path alongside a stone wall, take the right-hand path, ignoring the lower track leading to a metal gate.
- At the end of this path, stride over the low wire fence – it looks as if some stiles are missing on this section. Keep the quarry and the fence-line to your left, walking straight on through pasture, until the road comes into view.
- Bear left to find a wire gate/barrier which allows you to pass onto the road. Turn right, and follow the road for around a mile back to the Ponderosa.
The described route is a guide only, it’s always advisable to use a map or a GPS device.