Llantysilio is a stunning little hamlet on the northern bank of one of many meanders of the River Dee, some 2 miles from Llangollen on the B5103. It sits on the southern edge of Coed Hyrddyn (Velvet Hill), and excellent routes to the summit are available from the carpark. While the Industrial Revolution has undeniably left its mark on this tiny settlement, it has somehow managed to enhance the place rather than detract from it. Certainly, Telford’s Horseshoe Falls were created to supply the Llangollen Canal and the trade that plied its still waters, but to view the works is to believe that nature and industry can find a happy compromise. The much restored Chainbridge is another example of how practicality does not always have to injure the eye.
No recorded history would seem to exist of Llantysilio before the Norwich Taxation records the place as, ‘Sancto Tessiliao’ in 1254, and yet, there is a sense of real age here. St Tysilio’s Church, discussed elsewhere in these pages, and its dedication to the British saint seems to push its past deep into the times before the Norman invasion. And, it is a curious thing to stand in the churchyard and watch the steam trains from Llangollen make their way along the southern bank of the River Dee; industrial might viewed from the peace and serenity of this ancient place. Llantysilio is one of those rare settlements that time has made smaller. Today, it is little more than the church, the Hall and a smattering of homes. Certainly, Edward Lhuyd at the end of the 17th century suggests a marginally larger settlement than that which exists today.
Stand upon the hill in the car park at Llantysilio and look down upon the River Dee and the Horseshoe Falls, indeed along the river valley towards Corwen and allow the pressures of the present ebb away.