Rhyl of the Llandundo


Once little more than a couple of fishermen’s cottages until its development as a seaside resort from 1833, Rhyl used to be the destination for many workers and their families from the industrial towns and cities of Wales, the Midlands and the northwest of England. Though the heyday of this once elegant resort has long since passed, Rhyl still has a lot to offer the holiday maker.

 As well as the full range of amusement arcades and seaside attractions, Rhyl is home to two large and exciting complexes: the Sun Centre, one of the first all-weather leisure attractions in the country, with indoor surfing and daredevil water slides and flumes; and SeaQuarium, where visitors can enjoy a seabed stroll surrounded by sharks, rays and other ocean creatures.

 Nerys Hughes, the actress from the TV series The Liver Birds and District Nurse, was born in Rhyl, and Carol Voderman, though born in Bedford, attended school in the town when her family moved to North Wales. To the southwest of the town lies the mouth of the River Clwyd, which is crossed by Foryd Bridge, and to the south lies Rhuddlan Marsh where, in AD795, Caradoc was defeated by Offa of Mercia.

PRESTATYN 16½ miles E of Llandudno on the A548 A Prestatyn Castle C Offa’s Dyke G John Prescott J Offa’s Dyke National Trail With three great beaches – Ffrith Beach, Central Beach and Barkby Beach – Prestatyn has proved a popular holiday destination over the years and, as expected, all types of entertainment are available, making the town an ideal centre for family holidays. Although the town undoubtedly expanded with the opening of the Chester to Holyhead railway line in 1848, people were flocking here 50 years before that lured by descriptions of the air being like wine and honey and the abundant sunshine being deemed excellent for the relief of arthritic conditions and nervous disorders. However, Prestatyn’s origins go back to prehistoric times, as excavated artefacts have shown. While the Roman’s 20th legion was stationed at Chester, it is thought that an auxiliary unit was based at a fort on what is now Princes Avenue. 

The discovery in 1984 of a Roman bath house in Melyd Avenue would certainly seem to support this assumption. The settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Prestetone, from the Anglo-Saxon Preosta Tun (meaning a settlement in, which two or more priests reside). It was Lord Robert Banastre who was responsible for building the Norman Prestatyn Castle. It was of a typical motte and bailey design, but all that remains of the fortification today is one stone pillar on the top of a raised mound that can be found close to Bodnant Bridge. 

Prestatyn lies at one end of the massive 8th century earthwork Offa’s Dyke. Although the true origins of the dyke have been lost in the mists of time, it is thought that the construction of this border defence between England and Wales was instigated by King Offa, one of the most powerful of the early Anglo-Saxon kings. From AD757 until his death in AD796 he ruled Mercia, which covers roughly the area of the West Midlands. He seized power in the period of civil strife that followed the murder of his cousin King Aethelbald and, ruthlessly suppressing many of the smaller kingdoms and princedoms, created a single settled state that covered most of England south of Yorkshire. 

His lasting memorial is the dyke, which he had built between Mercia and the Welsh lands. With an earthwork bank of anything up to 50 feet in height and a 12-foot ditch on the Welsh side, much of this massive feat of engineering is still visible today. The northern end of Offa’s Dyke National Trail leads up the High Street, climbs the dramatic Prestatyn hillside and wanders through the Clwydian Range. This long-distance footpath of some 180 miles crosses the English-Welsh border 10 times and takes in some extraordinarily beautiful countryside. From the Clwydian Hills through the lush plains of England and the much fought over lands of the Welsh borders, 

the footpath not only covers some superb terrain but also allows those walking its route to see a great variety of flora and fauna as well as take in the traditional farming methods that have survived in the more remote areas of this region

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