Places of interest and historical facts

The region of the Open Church Network is rich in places of interest. The Ceiriog Valley near St Mary's Church Chirk and Fenn's Moss near St John's Church Bettisfield are contrasting areas of interest to ramblers and lovers of nature. There is a Moses Visitors centre in Bettisfield that provides guides to walks in the Moss. Near St Marcella's Church, Marchwiel is the Marchwiel Wetlands Centre and Nature Reserve with accessible walks. Village walk information can be found in St Chad's Church, Hanmer, with its Lorna Sage Trail and St Chad's Church, Holt with its Village Trail past the ruins of Holt Castle.

Chirk Castle and Erddig are National Trust properties in the region that provide excellent facilities for the tourist. The aqueducts spanning the River Ceiriog at Chirk and the River Dee at nearby Pontcysyllte are engineering marvels created by Thomas Telford that will be sure to astound any visitor.

St Dunawd's Church, Bangor-on-Dee stands by the ancient Inigo Jones bridge across the River Dee. Across the bridge is the Plassey Craft and Retail Centre, which has good facilities for visitors. By the river is Bangor Racecourse where regular horse race meetings are held. St Hilary's, Erbistock stands up river from Overton Bridge in a secluded location by the River Dee, and the nearby Boat Inn is a delightful place for a break of your tour. The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal passes through the parishes of Bronington, Bettisfield and Chirk on its way up to Llangollen and is a popular with holidaymakers on canal barges.

Out towards Penley from Overton are the remains of World War II hospitals where Canadian, Polish, and US soldiers were cared for and where many died. More information can be found from Wrexham Museum. This museum also houses a display of Ruabon brick and tiles made at a factory near St Mary's Church, Ruabon. Much in keeping with the theme of our discovery trail is the Techniquest@NEWI Discovery Centre in Wrexham.

There are many things of general and specialist interest to discover in the 16 churches of the Open Church Network. The churches all have stained glass windows of great beauty on a sunny day. Windows by Kempe, Burne-Jones, Shrigley and Hunt, and Clayton and Bell can be found covering a varied range of subjects. There are mechanical marvels of clocks in most of the churches: many are Joyce clocks made on the edge of our region in Whitchurch, Shropshire near to Holy Trinity Church, Bronington. A small Tourist Centre in Whitchurch town centre provides an exhibition about Joyce clocks. You will also find ancient yew trees in the churchyards, some of which have their interesting stories told in their churches. And one group of which, at St Mary the Virgin, Overton is one of the seven wonders of Wales.

There are excellent sets of bells in several of the churches and visiting bell ringers can arrange in advance to demonstrate their skills on many of them. The largest set of bells is in the tower of St Giles, Wrexham, which is another of the seven wonders of Wales. Christ Church, Rossett has a peel of eight tubular bells. Similarly there are pipe organs in the churches many of which visitors can arrange in advance to play.