This month’s walk is reproduced by kind permission of Rights of Way, Wrexham Council (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is a circular route starting and ending at Bwlchgwyn and passing through Nant-y-ffrith, Ffrith and Glascoed.
The way is not suitable for wheelchairs, buggies or small children. Ample car parking space is available by the memorial.
Buses: call Traveline Cymru on 0800 464 0000, text 84268 or visit www.traveline.info.
Ordnance Survey Explorer map 256 covers the area.
This walk starts at Bwlchgwyn War Memorial (grid ref SJ263536) on the A525 between Wrexham and Ruthin. There are many fine views of Ffrith Valley and there are impressive waterfalls nearby. The route passes through Black Wood and Nant Wood on its descent to the former Romano-British settlement at Ffrith, returning along a pack-horse trail and over grazing land. Many areas of scenic beauty make the walk worthwhile in all seasons.
Turn down the narrow lane and 70 metres after passing the buildings, look for a path between two concrete posts on the left. From here, there are views across the valley to the mountain, Pen-Llan-y-Gwr.
Follow the path downhill, passing a quarry on your left and bear right at the junction. Cross the road and find the descending path. Go across a forest track and at the lane, turn left heading downhill to the bridge. On the other side, turn left to see the stables and coach house with an interesting cupola made of pitchpine and covered in lead. This building was once part of Nantyffrith Hall Estate and is now a private residence.
Return to the bridge and, without crossing it, take the track uphill revealing a good view across the valley. The estate introduced trees and shrubs, including red oak and copper beech, which can be seen growing among Forestry Commission conifers. The broadleaved trees help make Nantyffrith a good habitat for bats. Natterer’s, Daubenton’s and longeared bat are some of the species that can be seen here at dusk.
At the crosspaths, the way ahead leads to the site of Nantyffrith Hall, now popular for picnics. Follow the main track bearing to the right through Black Wood and Nant Wood; this path was the old estate road to Ffrith. You eventually come to Nantuchaf, an 18th century smallholding, which has now been modernised.
Just past the main buildings turn right along the main track for about half a mile, passing Nant Issa on your left. Hazel trees dominate the hedgerow as you make your way towards the railway viaduct. Walk along the road into Ffrith. After looking around the village, return beneath the viaduct, then take the track over the river bridge and turn right. Your route now follows an old packhorse trail.
Walk under a mineral tramway bridge to reach the early 17th century Glascoed Hall. Just beyond here, the path angles to the left. The packhorse trail continued straight on, but only remains of this can be found. The trail may have been used by the Romans to carry lead from Minera to Ffrith.
At the road, turn left. Pass the prominent stand of black pine and further on, beyond Glascoed Cottage, you can see Glascoed Lodge. This was originally called Glascoed Hall before the present one was built. Note the different species of tree and shrub in the hedge alongside the road. When you reach the first sharp left-hand bend, turn right leaving the road and cross the stream. Cobbles of coal may be seen in the water showing the location of outcropping seams.
Walk up the embankment to the stile in the top far corner of this enclosed part of the wood. Turn left and cross three fields. In the third field, a pair of standing stones mark the gateway to a disused ford. Turn left onto Strytycefn (street of the ridge). In 170 metres, you reach a stile on the right. Take the path diagonally left down the field towards the stile in the far-left corner, then go through the second gate on the right towards Waen Farm. The farmhouse, an early 17th century building, was a stop for caravans of packhorses travelling between Mid-Wales and Chester. Go ahead through two gates into the farmyard, then turn immediately left.
At the corner of the field, turn left and follow the hedge to the next corner. After crossing a stile, continue along the same line for 140 metres and turn right onto Cefn Road. Turn right again into Brymbo Road and after 300 metres right once again onto the main road back to the War Memorial.
There is a large ‘additional information’ section that provides you with some very interesting extra details concerning the walk. This can be found at wrexham.gov.uk/assets/pdfs/walking/cw_route5.pdf
If you experience any problems on this walk or if you would like to make any other comment, please contact Public Rights of Way, telephone 01978 292 057.
Many thanks to Wrexham County Borough Council for supplying us with this walk. Please visit wrexham.gov.uk and look for ‘self-guided walks’.