Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here after a gap of a few months. The big feller had to have an operation on his knee and we have been out of action for a while. Well, we are back, albeit only doing short hikes for now. So, we decided to tackle the Clywedog Valley Trail over a few outings. It is only a short trail of 5.5 miles in length, but its a reintroduction to hiking for us. We decided to split the hike into 3 halves (my human said you can’t have three halves but, I am a pup of the metric era and don’t understand fractions!). Ok then, we split it into three sections that we walked out-and-back, so we actually hiked the trail twice. I just follow my humans lead. He seems to know what he is doing, I assume. We will describe the trail as if we had walked it in one go, starting at the Minera end.
The trail starts at Minera Lead Mines and follows the Afon Clywedog to King’s Mill. We parked in the visitor centre car park before having a mooch around some of the Lead Mines. My human said that we could explore them in more detail on another day. Apparently, the Romans were the first to mine lead from here, well before my human was born.
I watered the weeds at the side of the waymarked lane from the carpark to a short length of roadside walking. After crossing the road we walked along a wide track past a few run down farm buildings. This led us to a few stiles that I had to crawl through while the big feller struggled to clamber over. The view across the valley to Coedpoeth was stunning with houses perched on the opposite hillside.
We came across couple of fields with scary sheep in. The boy one was in a field of his own. He must have been naughty. He had very frightening horns, so I didn’t really want to mess with him. The rest of them were in the next field and looked a little less scary as they were busy eating grass or lying down.
The path was fenced on either side and led us down to the bottom of the valley after passing through some woodland. We could hear the rushing of water as we approached the Afon Clywedog at a junction with a seldom used minor road. The road crossed a ford, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take a dip as my human was being grumpy.
We followed the river as it wound its way down hill through the Woodland Trust managed Nant Wood. The path undulated as we neared Nant Mill. Up and down a few flights of steps cut into the hillside. It was a bit muddy in places. My human slowly found the driest route while I ran through the mud. What’s not to like about mud?
We crossed the river over a small wooden bridge to enter Nant Mill. The mill has a picnic area on the flat area by the river. We walked to the river bank where I was allowed to go for a dip. Wow! I love shallow rivers where I can have a run and a splash in. This is what I did for a few minutes before I was told to get out of the water. Much too soon for my liking, but at least I had a mad few minutes.
Nant Mill was originally a woollen mill and later a corn mill. It has been on this site for a few hundred years and closed early last century, but was reopened for a while during WW2. Nowadays, it houses a visitor centre and is a popular spot with tourists and daytrippers. There is a pleasant picnic area by the riverbank with an ornate gated entrance.
The trail joins a short length of a minor road that leads to a stone road bridge. Just before the bridge the trail enters Plas Power Woods through a kissing gate on the left of the road. The wide well-used track climbs slightly and gently through the woodland as the river meanders below. We saw sections of Offa’s Dyke, the Mercian Kings border between his land and Wales, as we walked. I should really say that my human saw it, I was preoccupied by trying to chase grey squirrels as they ran across the path and teased me by scurrying up the oak trees to hide in the canopy high above us.
We could hear the roar of the water as we approached Big Wood Weir. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to have a dip in this section of the river. Sad face emoji! I did get to splash through the shallow section as my human gingerly strode across the stepping stones. The weir was built to supply water to a small local coalmine. We plodded on towards Bersham. Just before we left Plas Power Wood we walked alongside a disused leete and Caeau weir, which supplied Bersham Mill with water. The path left the woods at a small parking area opposite the stunning St. Mary’s Plas Power Private Chapel or Bersham Church as it is commonly called. The church was built in 1875 by Thomas Lloyd FitzHugh and has recently been renovated with the use of Lottery funds, CADW and voluntary contributions.
We walked along the quiet road into Bersham after passing Bersham Ironworks Foundary which was later used as a cornmill, Bersham Mill. The ironworks once produced cannons for the Royalists during the English Civil War. The site is only open nowadays by appointment so, the big feller was disappointed that he couldn’t have a mooch around. Now he knows how I feel when he won’t let me swim in the river.
The trail passed along the roadside towards Bersham after going under the noisy A483 and its ugly concrete bridge. We were soon in Bersham after passing the Heritage Centre. I had a quick sprint around a grassy playground, but I was soon back on my lead as we walked through the narrow street that led us out of the village. The path was muddy, which I loved, before it crossed the river via a small footbridge. This area is the site of the Turkey Paper Mill which produced high quality paper such as banknotes and writing paper. We were soon in a meadow following the route of the river. More mud for me to run through and for my human to complain about.
We reached a small industrial estate and parking area for the Erddig Estate at Felin Puleston. There is a dog obedience centre there which my human threatened to send me to if I wasn’t a good boy. I’m always a good boy, honest! I dragged him past it as we continued on our journey.
We walked over a footbridge into the Erddig Estate, a National Trust property with some great walking trails, on-lead of course. The next section took us through woods with some very muddy sections. We avoided some of these by crossing the meadow in places instead of walking along the trail. We passed from Coed y Glyn into Lewis’s Wood. Now this was where my human found the going a bit tough as the mud was quite deep even for me. The path was overgrown in places where it wasn’t as well maintained as most of the trail to this point.
We soon left the woodland to walk under a drab graffiti lined tunnel under the main road. This led us to the end of our journey at King’s Mill. Built in the 14th century, the mill was Wrexham’s most important mill in its heyday. It sadly closed in 1940 and is badly in need of a clean up and some TLC. The round building next to the mill was originally housed at a nearby brickworks and is known as a beehive kiln. It isn’t the most glamorous ending to a trail but we had enjoyed our series of hikes. Hopefully, we will start to hike a bit more if my human can get his act together! Till next time.