On a recent trip home through Wales we stopped off again in Llangollen. We had a day to spare, so we decided to go and visit Valle Crucis Abbey which is just up the road. The ruined abbey lies on the road to the Horseshoe Pass; another beautiful place to visit. It is also known more formally as The Abbey Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can get more information about the abbey’s history and architectural information Castle Wales website. Further reading and pictures can be found on Wikipaedia.
The name Valle Crucis means Valley of the Cross; the ruins nestle in the valley under the hills surrounding Llangollen. We visited in October when the heather and the trees on the hills had already taken on that wonderful autumnal gold.
The site is wonderfully maintained by Cadw. There is an entrance fee, but it is well worth it.
Valle Crucis is a breathtakingly haunting place to visit; the abbey was built by the Cistercian monks in 1207, but now lies in ruins having been one of the monasteries affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1537. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what Valle Crucis looks and feels like.
There are some pathways to follow but a lot of the site is not paved so care might be needed on damp days; I went sliding on a grass bank because I wasn’t looking where I was going!
When you reach the rear of the site there is a duck pond – complete with ducks! These little guys were very active;there was a lot of chasing each other around the pond, and it was also very vocal. You could actually hear them way before you could see them.
The small white house in the last picture has a little visitors centre. When you enter the building you can hear the chants of the monks, and there is even one writing at his desk. Okay, so he’s not real. but he did give me a start when I walked in the door.
The stonework in the abbey is amazing; I often wonder when walking around sites like this how they ever managed to build them. This is a photo of the vaulted ceiling in one of the buildings.
Here are a few more photos of the buildings. I don’t normally photo-shop my pictures, but I was trying to capture the stonework in the buildings.
I love this place; it has that ‘far from the maddening crowd’ feeling about it.
Next time you’re passing in the area, take an hour and go and visit.