Sunshine, autumnal colours, woodlands, pools, ancient monuments, industrial ruins, the “Lourdes of Wales” and a nice stroll – a perfect Sunday afternoon in the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park and St. Winefride’s Well.
I had passed both sites many times in the past so I thought it was about time to pay them a visit. Greenfield Valley Heritage Park (Welsh: Dyffryn Maes Glas) is a country park located near Holywell and has a rich industrial past. Its factories played a big part in the Industrial Revolution. If you follow the stream and ponds through the woods you come across some factory ruins and can walk to St. Winefride’s Well in Holywell.
I started at a car park near the visitor centre at the bottom of the valley. Unfortunately, as I was out of season, a couple of things were closed including the visitor centre itself, the farm and some other buildings. However the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey are open all year round and very impressive.
I would have loved to take a look at all the farm buildings but as the area was closed I could only get a glimpse through the fences.
Making my way past the Wire Mill Garden (which was closed as well but the water wheel was still running) it was uphill from now on in a very gentle way.
Water is a constant companion on the way – either as a stream or one of many pools.
Next stop was the remains of the Meadow Mill.
The Battery Works employed local people to shape pots and pans from brass sheets, the energy needed to do this was made by using a Water Wheel, the water came from the Battery Pond. Next to the Battery Factory is the ruins of Battery Row, were many of the employees would have lived. The Battery Factory now lies next to the Battery Pond in ruin but it looked like there was some restoration work being done on some parts.
Passing the Battery Pond and another chimney I could spot on the way I made my way to St. Winefride’s Well. The legend of Saint Winifred tells how in AD 660, Caradoc, the son of a local prince, severed the head of young Winifred after she spurned his advances. A spring rose from the ground at the spot where her head fell and she was later restored to life by her uncle, St. Beuno. The well is known as “the Lourdes of Wales” and is mentioned in an old rhyme as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales. It has been a pilgrimage site since the 7th century.
I really enjoyed my day out, so if you are in the area it is worthwhile a visit.
Just one thing on a personal note: I parked my car on a car park at the back of the old school house (I think) and when I got back there was a Border Collie running around. He seemed to belong to the area (maybe to the farm) and was wearing a collar. But he really doesn’t like cars! When I started my car and tried to leave, he was jumping at it and barking like there was no tomorrow – maybe he thought I was a sheep he needed to herd. Anyway, I wanted to thank the kind man who distracted him long enough so I could exit the car park. Would have been a long evening otherwise…