Waun Y Llyn, Hope Mountain

The ‘mountains’ in Wales might not be the highest ones ever but they sure offer spectacular views. And Hope Mountain in Flintshire is no exception.

I started my circular walk in Coed Talon, trying to include some local industrial history along the way. From the Railway Inn, I followed the disused railway line towards Llanfynydd. What is now a quiet and peaceful wildlife corridor including Wood Pit, a wetland nature reserve, was once part of the Mold-Brymbo railway line and a very noisy and bustling place. The area was heavily mined and trucks transporting coal, oil and stone from the nearby works and mines used the tracks. A far cry from the sound of birds chirping away and woodpeckers that greet you now.

hope mountain railway

If it looks manmade, it probably is. The disused railway line.

A far cry from the sound of birds chirping away and woodpeckers that greet you now.

After leaving the old railway line it was uphill to the top and Waun Y Llyn Country Park.

Waun Y Llyn has always drawn people up here. The panoramic views over Snowdonia, Liverpool and far beyond are amazing especially on a sunny day like this.

People used to take a bracing walk up here from the fashionable spa in Caergwrle 100 years ago. Though it would have been less peaceful up here back then.

 

hope mountain stone stile

Love this kind of stile: hole on the left for dogs, steps on right for humans

 

In the 19th and early 20th century, the hard silica sandstone of Waun Y Llyn was quarried and taken down the hillside by tramway to Coed Talon where it was ground into silica powder, used in glass making. Millstone grit was also quarried from the mountain and used for buildings and millstones for mills int the Alyn Valley below.

 

hope mountain winding top

Remains of the stone base of the top winding house.

hope mountain winding house

Winding house at the bottom

 

King Arthur, Mining and Beautiful Views – Loggerheads Country Park

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_Boundary-Stone

Carreg Carn March Arthur: I think the hoof print is on the smaller stone underneath the arch.

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.

Loggerheads_-Pentre-Water-Mill

It’s quite noisy when the mill is running

Loggerheads_Pentre-Water-Mill2

You can go upstairs and take a look at the room there

Loggerheads_Pentre-Water-Mill3

It is set up for grinding corn into flour

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.

Loggerheads_Limestone-Cliff

Going up there for the view

Loggerheads_Steep-Steps

Half way. Those steps really are steep.

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.

Loggerheads_Cliff-Top

After the climb I am rewarded with those beautiful views. On the right in the shadow you can see Moel Famau with the Jubilee Tower.

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.

Loggerheads_Moel-Famau

Another view of the valley and Moel Famau. This time the summit is bathed in sun shine.

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.

Loggerheads_Woods

The cooling shadow was much appreciated.

Loggerheads_Wild-Flowers

It was buzzing with bees and butterflies

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.

Loggerheads_Mine1

Entrance to a mine shaft

Loggerheads_Mine2

Just a few steps into the opening

Loggerheads_Mine4

Another mine shaft

Loggerheads_Devil's-Gorge1

Devil’s Gorge – the climbers give you a sense of scale

Loggerheads_Devil's-Gorge2

Fortunately for people like me there is a bridge across it.

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.

Loggerheads_River-Alyn1

The riverbed of the Alyn – there should be water here.

Loggerheads_River-Alyn2

The water just disappears in this kind of puddle.

Loggerheads_Figures

There are a lot of things to discover along the way.

Loggerheads---Mining-Cart

I suppose this is an old mining cart.