For centuries, this area of Wales was a crucible of conflict. In Roman times, the Celtic tribes were a perennial nuisance for the legions based at Chester Castle and their continued to harass their English neighbours for generations. Their resistance to English rule led Edward I in the 13th century to contruct his Iron Ring of fortresses along the Dee estuary and the North Wales coast. Each was built a day’s march from its neighbours with the first to be built at Flint in 1277. Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Denbigh, Rhuddlan and Chirk – these magnificent castles represented the cutting-edge military technology of its day. The remains of this massive project, the largest seen in Europe, are still mightily imposing.
Peace finally came to the area when a Welsh prince defeated Richard III in 1485 and ascended the throne as Henry VII. The Iron Ring of castles remains the most popular historical attraction but the area also boasts some fine country houses, such as Plas Newydd in Llangollen, ecclesiastical treasures such as St Winefride’s Well and St Asaph Cathedral, and a wide choice of country parks and farm parks. There is also superb fishing for salmon and trout on the Rivers Dee and Clwyd, sea fishing in the Dee estuary, and trout or coarse fishing at numerous lake fisheries. This region of Wales also offers some of the best mountain biking in Britain, and among the most challenging rides are those in the Clwydian Range and through Clocaenog Forest near Denbigh.
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