Silent Sunday…. When is a Church, Not a Church


St. Cynog Church, Llangynog, Wales

St. Cynog can be found in the Tanat Valley in the Berwyn Mountains, Powys, Wales.  The village of Llangynog is at the point where the rivers Eirth and Tanat meet.

Today Llangynog is a quiet community, a small village surrounded by Hill Farms.  It is also surrounded by the ghosts of once very busy Slate Mines and Quarries.  Remains of this industrial heritage can still be seen on the surround hill sides and along the neighbouring valley’s.


St. Cynog dates back to 1254, with rebuilds at various times between then, and the last refurbishment in 1894.  Carved stone windows and a porch entrance and its carved stone pillars, add character to what could have been a plain stone building. Carved wood beams support the roof, but also add something special to an otherwise simple interior. Outside the Graveyard with its many slate headstones confirms its links to the local heritage…. and no doubt the Bell Tower will have sounded both solemn events as well as happier times for the village

As with so many Welsh villages, the church was once the centre of the community, Sunday Service a must, in fact considered a duty by many.  Today with the community shrinking in size St. Cynog is no longer the ‘Parish’ Church’.  It is though kept open, kept alive, as what is known as a Pilgrims Church available for travellers.  It still has an important religious role.  A programme of services is held at various intervals through the year, it is still used for weddings and funerals. Perhaps what is equally important , that as a Pilgrim Church, it is still a centre point for the community… far better than closure and standing empty.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

30th May

(C) David Oakes 2021



Chirk Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal, Wales

A Thomas Telford construction, built to carry the Llangollen Canal over the River Ceiriog.  It stands some 70ft above the river and carries the canal over the river and valley for some 710ft (220meters).  The canal was built in 1801 and was a vital link between the many coal mines in this part of Wales, with the Industrial Midlands of England.

As you can see, there is another equally spectacular viaduct alongside Chirk aqueduct.  Its completion was around 1850 and was built to carry the newer faster steam railway.  More cargo could be shipped, much quicker, than by canal barge.  Of course this ‘progress’ occurred all over the UK.  The “Age of Steam” had arrived and the canals that had played such a vital role in the industrial expansions of the time, gradually fell into decline.  A  reminder that progress at times can be short lived.


Today the canal network is leisure orientated.  The majority of the original canal network still exists and navigable.  The Llangollen Canal is particularly popular.  Spectacular scenery that straddles the English and Welch borders, travels through a World Heritage Site, and the chance to navigate the narrow high aqueduct here at Chirk, but also an even longer construction at Pontycysylite, are magnets for canal cruisers in the distinctive Narrowboats.

Progress is being made in our troubled times……. but please

 Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

27th May

(C) David Oakes 2021

How Green was my Valley


Just one of the many green valleys that lie within the Berwyn Mountain range in Wales.  Surprisingly they have not really been discovered by the many of the Tourists, who head to Snowdonia or hurry down the A5 to the Welsh Coast….. which makes for a tranquil location.  The Berwyn’s straddle the Welsh county boundaries of Powys and Denbighshire, just over the Shropshire border of England. Natural beauty and excellent hill farming country are their main claim to fame.

Much earlier, back in 1165 the Armies of the English King Henry II, found them a barrier in their attempts to cross into Wales to subdue the “Welsh rebels”.    It has long been suggested that King Henry later changed course, and went round the Berwyn’s.  Not because of any physical difficulties, but more because of persistent rains that hampered progress and demoralised his troops.  Maybe it is those rains that make the valleys so green!

Rain or shine and no matter where you are…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd April

(C) David Oakes 2021

Saint David’s Day….


Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, North Wales

The First Day of March… It is also Saint David’s Day, The Patron Saint of Wales.

So to mark this special day for our Welsh friends, two symbols.  One Historic the other more symbolic…

Caernarfon Castle and Daffodils

Some sunshine

But no matter what day it is……

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

1st March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Wordless Wednesday…… Another Favourite Place

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Location:-  Chirk Castle, Denbighshire,  Wales

Chirk Castle is described as a 13th century Fortress on the English-Welsh Border.  Built to control the uprisings of the Welsh Princes.  Today the grounds and gardens are rather serene and a far cry from the Castle original defensive roll.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

20th January

(C) David Oakes 2021