Explore; The Clywedog Trail
Walking amongst nature is so awe inspiring, allowing us to share carpets of bluebells, a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher, meandering rivers, waterfalls, ancient trees changing with the seasons, providing shelter for a myriad of species.
All of these and more can be experienced on the Clywedog Valley Trail, which follows the River Clywedog from Minera Lead Mines to the west of Wrexham, to King’s Mill, approximately 5.5 miles downstream, south- east of Wrexham town centre.
The linear waymarked walk can be done in its entirety in a few hours or in several shorter sections, depending on the time available. There are also many footpaths leading off the trail, enabling the walker to explore beyond. There are no really challenging sections but there are some stiles and the path can be muddy in parts so sturdy walking shoes are advisable.
As well as marvelling at the natural beauty of the trail, there are many opportunities to explore its wealth of history:
· There are the lead mines at Minera, which was once one of the busiest mining centres and it is believed that the Romans first began mining lead here.
· Just off the trail is Minera Quarry, a limestone quarry which is now a nature reserve.
· A little further along the valley is Nant Mill, which was mainly used for milling corn.
· Following on from Nant Mill, in Plas Power woods, further evidence can be seen of the valley’s industrial past, including a weir, an 18th century tramway and a waggon way used by John ‘Iron Mad’ Wilkinson to bring limestone from Minera to Bersham Ironworks for use in the blast furnaces there. A section of Offa’s Dyke, a defensive earthwork, built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century, can also be seen here.
· From the woods, the trail will take you past Bersham Ironworks where it is reputed that British Ironmaking began with John Wilkinson and that cannons were cast here too. (Guided tours of Bersham Ironworks can be booked via Wrexham Museum and give a fascinating insight into their history.)
· Following the river a couple of miles further downstream, you will reach Erddig Country Park, which belongs to The National Trust. A short detour off the trail will take you to Erddig Hall, where you can see how life was in a stately home, both upstairs and downstairs. There is an admission charge for the house and gardens. Within the parkland you can see the cup and saucer waterfall which formed part of a system to supply water to Erddig Hall. In the woods you can visit the mound where a Norman Motte and Bailey castle once stood and see Watt’s Dyke, another defensive earthwork, built in the 8th century.
· At the end of the trail is King’s Mill, an 18th century corn mill.
The trail offers plenty of simple pleasures for families to enjoy, with opportunities to stop and picnic (Minera Lead Mines, Nant Mill and Erddig); play in the play area at Nant Mill; play hide and seek in the woods (Plas Power and Erddig); paddle in the water; play Pooh sticks (Erddig); find the way across the river on stepping stones or through the wooden maze in Plas Power woods; look out for wooden sculptures of pigs in their styes at Nant Mill and the impressive King Offa in Plas Power woods, where carved wooden insects can also be spotted.