After a day at home following our trip to Devon, we were ready to hit the road again. The destination this time was Wales and the small town of Ruthin. Not a part of Wales we are familiar with - or a town I'd ever heard of before to be honest - but options for accommodation were fairly limited when we were trying to book this break at short notice.
I had done lots of advanced planning for our first break to Devon because I knew we weren't going to have any internet when we got there. We do have internet at the place we're staying in Ruthin, and so we're taking a more spontaneous approach and making up plans as we go. As a place to break the journey today, we decided to try the National Trust estate of Erddig, which is actually most of the way to Ruthin; a mere 20 miles away.
We hadn't booked in advance, but it seems like it's possible to park in the car park and do some walks on the estate without actually going into the property anyway. All the estate walks are colour-coded and start from this dovecote, just outside the main car park.
We decided to follow the purple trail, which was supposed to be a circular walk of around 3 miles, taking us through some woods.
The path started by taking us past some beautiful fields.
We turned a corner and had a view up towards Erddig Hall itself.
Then we were in the woods.
The estate was rather flat, so this was definitely one of the easier National Trust walks we've done recently
It was quite a cloudy day, but it still felt very warm as we were walking.
At some point we lost track of the purple waymarkers and started following red ones instead.
They led us to this rather unusual water feature, known as the "cup and saucer".
From there it wasn't too far back to the dovecote where we had started.
We tried our luck getting into the property without a booking and enjoyed some ice-cream from the cafe, before setting out to explore the gardens.
They were beautifully landscaped, with lots of trees and hedges.
We walked right down to the bottom of the gardens, from where we had a view back up to the house.
I think the house itself is closed at the moment and in general there didn't seem to be a lot of visitors in the gardens today.
When we'd finished exploring we got back in the car for the short trip to Ruthin, where we checked into our cottage.
It's really lovely - downstairs is a living room...
...while upstairs is the bedroom.
It's really quiet too - it's completely set back from the road and you access it via a little passage, which leads into this garden area.
We settled in to the cottage and then set out to explore Ruthin.
The street which the cottage is off is really colourful.
Just at the end of it is Ruthin Castle.
It's a hotel today, but we walked up the driveway to have a look anyway.
The main castle building looks fairly modern...
...but we found some of the ruins of the old castle too.
As we wandered around we even caught sight of what looked like an ancient stone circle, admittedly on a bit of a smaller scale than the ones we'd seen in Scotland last summer
Overall Ruthin seems like a really pretty town and I think we're going to have a fun few days staying here