By Welsh Waters

Trails around Oswestry

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We were drawn into the Welsh hills, through a valley dotted with stone-built farms, to reach the speeding waters of Pistyll Rhaeadr.

As we started on our trip, the placenames on the signs tantalised our minds and challenged our tongues.

Though still in Shropshire, Llynclys gave away its Welsh past in its name. the nature reserve trails led us over part of Offas Dyke, earthworks of an ancient frontier line. Further on, we drove into Llanyblodwel and across its hump-backed bridge. The River Tanat, flowing past us, suggested a walk along its banks.

Through Pen-y-bont we passed imperceptibly into Wales. In Llangedwyn Mill, we watched the craftsmen exercising age-old skills.

The road to Pistyll Rhaedr left the grey-stoned town of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and we began to climb into the Berwyn Mountains. The valley walls rose up to either side, a green-brown carpet dotted white with grazing sheep. In the sun it seemed ideal, a life of peace and isolation. We wondered how it might feel when the winter snows, that just now touched only the tips of the hills, covered all we saw.

Ahead the foaming waterfall emerged between the mountain rocks and at the road's end we saw its power in full. The tumbling sound was strangely calming as we walked to the top.

We made our last stop at Oswestry's Racecourse Common. From the old figure-of-eight racing track last used in the nineteenth century, views streched out to east and west and the path retruned us King Offa's borderline.