In just under 10 minutes drive from Tower Hill Barns you’ll come to Panorama Walk, a minor road which boasts some seriously attractive views of the local scenery even if you’re just driving along. Along this route, the viewpoint called The Panorama is thought to be one of the very best viewing points in the whole of Wales.
On a clear day you’ll see all the way out to Shropshire and the Cheshire plains to the East. In the other direction you can see all the way across the Vale, to the Berwyn mountains, and even as far as Snowdonia. The experience gives visitors a new respect for the sheer scale and majesty of the North Wales countryside.
The Panorama forms a stunning and memorable backdrop both for active outdoor sporting pursuits and more leisurely restful picnics on the hills. Its worth getting out of the car and planning on a few hour’s walk to get first hand experience. The outcrops of carboniferous limestone allow climbers and walkers a satisfying challenge, but even if you’re just out for a more casual wander there’s plenty to enjoy.
Along the way there are public footpaths, tarmac roads and permissive paths as well as land that is open access. It takes in part of the Offa’s Dyke Path. For serious walkers, the route offers a medium difficulty challenge, with a few moderately exposed drops and one descent that is quite steep. If you take the circular route, you should allow around 7 hours to cover the 9.6 mile distance.
It’s worth bringing binoculars and a camera because there are so many fascinating landmarks to spot, from Castell Dinas Bran and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to the Hooson monument and the summits of Snowdonia. Along the Shropshire Union Canal you’ll probably spot some wildlife that’s worth seeing, and there’s plenty to interest historians and geologists too.
The limestone cliffs have since been extensively quarried, both as stone for building, and also for the lime which was used in lime mortar as well as in agricultural fertilizer. Along the route are distinctively curvaceous outcrops of limestone known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ which are a favourite for those rambling in the area. You may even be able to pick up some coral relics, shells and fossils from the eroding rocks because, incredibly, once upon a time this mountainous region was hidden deep beneath the waves.
You’ll spot stone ruins, moorland used for grazing sheep, a timber framed 16th Century Manor House and you’ll cross a ford on stepping stones. You’ll also see burial cairns from prehistoric times, such as the one at Craig Arthur. The burial sites here date back to the Bronze Age (around 2300 to 1200BC), and many of them have never been excavated, although in one site an ancient urn was found.
Look around and you’ll see more contemporary remains and memorials too. There’s the site of a lead mining shaft that dates back only (!) several hundred years. And along the Panorama Road you’ll find a monument to the Welsh poet, Isaac Daniel Hooson, who wrote a Welsh language version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, along with a collection of children’s poems.
The Panorama is hardly any distance at all from Tower Hill Barns, so you should definitely plan to take in the sights there when you come with your guests, even if it’s just to drive around the area this time, and make plans to come back again in the future.