Tollgate Café and viewpoint, near Glyndyfrdwy

button-theme-prehistoric-moreLink to French translationThis café, at an A5 layby near Glyndyfrdwy, takes its name from the tollgate which was once here. The small forest behind the café is Tollgate Wood. Use the photo below to identify local landmarks.

Tolls were collected from the drivers of carriages and carts by the toll-keeper who lived in the well-preserved cottage just to the east of the café. Notice the angled windows each side of the front door, where the keeper could watch for approaching vehicles while staying warm and sheltered inside.

East of here the A5 descends gently to Llangollen – a fine example of the way Thomas Telford engineered the road through hilly terrain to avoid tiring the horses drawing the vehicles. You can see another Telford relic – a milestone – at the far western end of the long layby. Notice how “Llangollen” was a challenge to fit in to the standard width of A5 milestones!

See below for our photo of the view from the layby opposite the milestone with landmarks identified and their names explained. From that layby you may happen to see a steam train proceeding along the Dee Valley below. The railway was part of a route across North Wales from Ruabon to Barmouth which closed in 1964. It now provides nostalgic scenic rides from Llangollen to the edge of Corwen.

Postcode: LL21 9HW    View Location Map

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Footnotes: The view explained

The photo below shows the view from the eastbound layby near Tollgate Café.

The farmhouse at Rhydonnen Uchaf dates from the 17th century, extended in 1716. Rhyd is Welsh for ford. Onnen = ash tree. Uchaf = upper. Rhydonnen Isaf (isaf = lower) is hidden by the trees to the right.
To hear how to pronounce Rhydonnen Uchaf press play:

Moel Morfydd was originally Moel y Morwydd (“bare hill of the mulberry trees”). Over time morwydd was taken to be Morfydd, a female personal name.
To hear how to pronounce Moel Morfydd, press play:

Moel y Gaer means “bare hill of the fort”. A large burial cairn on the summit dates from the Bronze Age (2300BC to 1200BC). A hillfort was built there in the Iron Age (1200BC to 74AD).
To hear how to pronounce Moel y Gaer, press play:

The first word in Moel y Gamelin means “bare hill”. The elements in Gamelin are cam (“twisted”) and elin (denoting a sudden bend in a road or a river), but probably here refer to the hill’s contours.
To hear how to pronounce Moel y Gamelin, press play: Or, download mp3 (17KB)

With thanks to Professor Hywel Wyn Owen of the Welsh Place-Name Society, and Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

Photo showing view from the tollgate cafe