Earlier this Summer we went to the lovely little village of Ruthin, in the heart of the Denbighshire countryside. We had bought a deal from a website for a two night stay in a boutique hotel, The Manorhaus, which I will go into in part 2.
I had never been to this part of Wales before, but Mrs B had and she was looking forward to a nice weekend with some big long country walks. Not knowing the area, I was happy to go along with nothing planned and just take the weekend as it came to us.
The weather for the whole weekend was beautiful, we hardly saw a cloud in the sky, I think this was the last spot of hot weather we’ve seen this year! The village of Ruthin is something to behold. Lots of tiny little shops all crammed together in a little valley, built on a hill with a castle at the top. As you can see on the picture, very lazy and peaceful style of life had by all who live and visit. A few pubs and cafes, couple of banks, a church and a newsagents. This just about summed up all you could see. Even our hotel was so non-descript you wouldn’t know it was there if it wasn’t for the hanging sign.
After a rest in the hotel, we decided to just venture out locally on our first night. As is usual, there was one chain pub in Ruthin, a Wetherspoons. But being a Wetherspoons, it was in an old grand building, and more unusually had only been opened since March, and was one of the few new Wetherspoons Hotels! Now I’ll never normally crow about these pubs, you know what you get and you know the standard service and clientele, but I really must give a warm nod to The Castle Hotel and the company. The decor and ambience is warm, staff were nice and welcoming and the menu included half dozen or so ‘local’ Welsh dishes. I opted for the Fire Dragon Sausage and mash, decent local meat filled with spice and chilli. Along with a couple of pints of local Welsh ale and we were done for the night, leaving the few local youngsters to start on their Sourz shots.
Saturday was our day in the Welsh countryside. As said, Mrs B sort of knew of this area and was insistent we went to Loggerheads Country Park as it was full of large areas to walk, and again it was a beautiful sunny day. Venturing down at about 10am it was generally quiet and a nice start to the day. If you don’t know, Loggerheads is the starting point for several walks across North Wales and you could actually go as far as the North Coast at Rhyl or even Llandudno. I wanted a nice relaxing day so there was no chance of this! We opted to spend the day, and picked the two walks locally, one clifftop and one woodland, which also led to the Devil’s Gorge.
We must have been the only people that morning who picked the clifftop walk, as during our 90 minute hike up stepped path and through trees we saw only one woman and she was dog walking! We were able to take our own pace walking, take in the different flowers and plants, of which Mrs B decided to photograph each one, and generally take our time enjoying the lovely open air.
After stopping at the very well run and facilitated cafe, which served everything from sandwiches through to whole trout with potato salad and the best milkshakes to boot, we went off into the woods for another long nature walk. Dotted around the woods were unusual little ‘nature sculptures’. A bat, lizard, a fish and this little woodlouse fellow could be spotted by the eagle eyed out in the park. Nice little pointers for those with kids, young or old, or even a couple who were taking too many photos.
We followed the woodland path along the little river, watching many families with either children or dogs or both playing in the water. This really is a nice little place to come for a day out. The very end of the woodland path brings you to Devil’s Gorge, an old mine which you could view high from above on a bridge getting the feel of the cold air from within the earth.
Two hours later we’d walked enough and left Loggerheads behind to spend the evening in our hotel. That, however, will wait for part two….