Part of this article was written by Gary Jenkins – someone I’ve been trying to get to write for my blog for a while. You might be wondering why.
Well, Gary and his wife, Glenda just so happen to have the kind of lifestyle I would love. They’re now retired (but still fairly young) and are full-time nomads, living in their beautiful motorhome.
They do a lot of travelling around the UK, but also spend plenty of time abroad. 6 months in Spain? Easy. 6 months in Australia? No problem.
Sounds like the dream, right?
Anyway, very recently, they found themselves in the historic city of Chester in England and Chirk in Wales, and found so many unexpected surprises and hidden gems, that Gary just couldn’t wait to share his mini-tale with you all… are you ready?
“We camped at the Chester Racecourse with a Caravan & Motorhome Club (CMC) rally, which was just a ten minute walk from the city centre of Chester. We really enjoyed discovering the place despite a previous quick visit some years ago.
There are some lovely buildings here called the “Rows”, which are raised undercover walkways with a second level for shops. Chester is actually the only town in the UK with this arrangement!
When we visited in October, there was a Christmas market there and lights all around, making our visit extra special this time around.
We also used a CMC site at Chirk, a small town forty minutes South of Chester across the border into Wales. With two nights booked, we had a full day to explore the area and found some very interesting sights.
A forty minute drive along the pleasant Ceiriog Valley brought us to the Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfalls. These are the highest falls in England and Wales at 240ft, making them 60ft higher than Niagara Falls in Canada! We have seen the Niagara along with Icelandic falls, which have huge scale, but the waterfalls we found in Wales have a beauty that we agree made them even more special.
Later in the day we visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which was built between 1795 – 1805 and designed by Thomas Telford. We were very surprised to discover it is the tallest navigable aqueduct in the WORLD! It also happens to be the longest aqueduct in the UK.
After walking along the aqueduct and admiring the surrounding Welsh hills, it was back four miles to the village of Chirk where we were staying at the time. Thomas Telford had also been busy here with a second high level aqueduct, which is used by the Llangollen canal traffic directly exiting the 460 yard Chirk tunnel; all of this also part of the World Heritage Site.
Alongside it runs the Chirk Viaduct built between 1846 – 1848, which was deliberately built higher than the aqueduct to prove it as a more superior mode of transport.
But Chirk wasn’t finished yet.
Just outside the village is the National Trust property of Chirk Castle. This castle was completed by Edward I in 1310 as one of the Marcher Castles, and has extensive grounds; both of which the public can explore today.”
As separate unified countries, England and Wales date back as far as the 10th and 11th Centuries, which make them fabulous treasure troves for finding incredible secrets just like these. You just have to take a stroll in the countryside, or drive your car down an unknown road and you will never know what you’ll find. An old wartime bunker perhaps? An ancient castle? Or a Pagan ritual site. In England and Wales, you can be sure you’ll find it!
When Gary told me about this particular trip, I know he was very surprised at just what they found. And when they hop back into their motorhome to venture elsewhere in the UK and beyond, we’re all pretty sure that they will find even more precious secrets, hidden gems and immense beauty. Here’s hoping he tells us more…!
Looking for more hidden gems in Wales? Check out my blog on 10+ cool and unique things to do in Wales!
Did you like Gary’s story? Why not share it with your friends and followers?
And if you want to learn more about historic Chester, keep an eye out for an interview coming your way soon from someone who lives here!