What do King Arthur, mining, limestone and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have in common? You can all find it at Loggerheads Country Park. You might find this an unusual name for a country park but even this comes down to history. A dispute over mining rights gave the park its name – the involved parties were at loggerheads. The country park lies in Denbighshire right at the border to Flintshire and this is where King Arthur comes in even though in an unexpected way.
Carreg Carn March Arthur is a boundary stone marking the borders of these two counties (they had different names back then) and is said to bear the hoof print of King Arthur’s horse, following a leap from nearby Moel Famau. I know, it’s not quite what you’ve expected but there you go. You can find a lot of Arthurian mysteries and legends around here.
Loggerheads is a tranquil place featuring stunning woodlands and dramatic rocks and by the 1920s had become the destination by bus from Liverpool. But 200 years ago Loggerheads was a loud and busy industrial area. Thousands of tons of lead and zinc were mined here and you can still see some of the remnants of that era today.
Pentre water mill is over 200 years old and its machinery was used to ground corn into flour, cut timber and generate electricity.
But before I come to the industrial past of Loggerheads let’s enjoy the beauty of the rich woodlands and the views from the limestone cliffs.
The thing about getting a good view is you have to climb up. And even though it mentioned steep steps in the leaflet I had, I didn’t quite believe it as usually these things are a bit exaggerated. So I was a bit surprised that these steps actually were steep, luckily not too many of them and after a short walk through some woods I was rewarded with amazing views across to Moel Famau.
Moel Famau is not only the summit King Arthur’s horse was somehow connected to but at 554m also the highest summit of the Clwydian Range. At its top stands the Jubilee Tower, built as the focal point of local celebrations to mark the 50th year of King George III’s reign. Only a ruin remains of the tower today.
There are several points with amazing views along the Cliff Top Trail and each one is worthwhile stopping. Apart from the views even the woods are amazing as you find many different types of trees growing here. Ash, oak and elm trees grow naturally here because of the lime-rich soils. Add to them trees like beech and larch that were planted as timber crop plus sycamore trees und you get a beautiful mixture. You might even find some wild flowers along the woodland borders.
I definitely wanted to see dramatic Devil’s Gorge and on my way there I saw the first reminders of Loggerheads’ industrial past. Enormous entrances to mine shafts are along the way and they do look a bit scary. You’re not allowed to go into the mines because of dangerous rocks but just to imagine the conditions the miners had to work in makes me shudder.
After I watched the climbers at Devil’s Gorge for a while I made my way back along the River Alyn. The river joins the River Dee near Wrexham and like many rivers over limestone, it sometimes dries up and disappears underground through swallow holes. It is quite fascinating.