This month we feature the walks around the beautiful stretch of parkland at Moss Valley Country Park between Gwersyllt and Brynteg, three miles north of Wrexham.
The valley is V-shaped with has wooded sides, two small lakes and areas of open grassland. It provides varied habitats for wildlife and is particularly well-known for its birds. Moss Valley has an industrial past and was once a major coal mining area.
The authorities reclaimed the spoil heaps in 1973, but you can still find hidden evidence of the old railways among the tranquil woodland and meadows. The park has several footpaths running alongside the lakes and through the forest of oak and beech. The paths often follow the old tramways and railway lines that used to extract coal and sandstone. Although the coal mines have long since gone, the small sandstone quarries still exist offering excellent wildlife habitats hidden away amongst the trees.
Moss Valley had a long industrial history before becoming the beautiful country park that it is today. In 1796, Thomas Telford constructed a feeder reservoir lake in the valley to extend the Ellesmere Canal, which would have eventually served as an extension from the local Trevor Basin. However, they abandoned the plan in 1798 and the lakes you see today are not the work of Telford.
During the 19th and 20th century, the valley contained several coal mines, including the Westminister and Gatewen collieries. Bespoke railway links transported coal nationally and internationally.
This rail expansion included the construction of a 750ft long tunnel from Westminster Colliery to Summerhill. The Army used the tunnel as a test site to practice blowing up the Brenner Tunnel in Italy for the allied invasion of 1943!
Upper and Lower Boathouses
Later, the trains carried passengers and freight from Moss railway station with the valley’s collieries closing in the first half of the 20th century. There was a small community of dwellings that once existed in the valley. These were known as the upper and lower boathouses, but these were demolished in the 1930s.
There were many freshwater wells in the valley. These wells supplied water to the locality. One well, known as Ffynnon Deuno (Deuno’s Spring), was at the Gatewen end of the valley and was reputedly a “healing well”, helping heal the sick and injured residents of the district. There was also possibly a small chapel on the site.
We hope you’re enjoying our article about ‘Walks Around Moss Valley Country Park’. For more of our features on local walks, please click here.
Moss Valley Walks
Both walks are looping routes. They include steps, some uneven ground, gradients and narrow sections of pathway.
Valley Top Woodland Walk
- Starting at the wildlife lake car park, walk back towards the edge of the road. You will see steps on your left up through the woodland. Ascend these and turn left at the top.
- Following this pathway, you will see evidence of historic quarry works at intervals on your right. Looking left, you may glimpse the lake below you through the trees. You will come to some steps, go up these and continue left on the track through the woodland.
- Next, you will reach some steps down to the valley floor. Go down these steps and turn right onto the path. Cross the bridge, take the looping way to the right that passes the bench and go up the bank.
- At the top of the bank, turn left onto the broad path that skims the top side of the valley.
- You will come to some steps with a handrail to your right, take these and you’ll emerge onto a narrow lane. Be aware of passing vehicles as you turn left and follow this lane back down to the main road. Looking to your left, you will see the car park where the walk began.
Points of note:
- Look out for jays and greater-spotted woodpeckers on the walk.
- Open grassland is a perfect habitat for a myriad of butterflies in the warm months.
- The wildlife lake attracts a host of dragonflies in the summer.
Old Railway Walk
- Starting at the main car park with the angling lake facing you, walk left through the metal barrier. Stay on the path closest to the lake, crossing the weir via a small bridge.
- Carry on down this side of the lake as far as the corner where, looking left, you will see some steep steps. Climb the steps and, turning left at the top of these, you will come across one of the old railway bridges.
- Walk under the railway bridge, turn left up the steps and follow the path back onto the top of the bridge.
- Walking left along the path, you’ll cross a small bridge. Follow this path until you reach the end.
- The path ends at the metal fencing, turns right down into the woodland, and then immediately left onto a road by a small bridge.
- Be aware of passing vehicles as you walk down this road back to your starting point in the main car park,
Points of note:
- Spot the ducks as you walk past the angling lake.
- See the old railway bridge – a reminder of the valley’s industrial past.
Location and Contacts
The park lies between Gwersyllt and Brynteg, three miles north of Wrexham. To get there, leave the A483 at the Mold turning. At the roundabout, take Summerhill Road, following the signs for Moss Valley Golf Course. Take your third left into Poolmouth Road. The car park is between the two lakes.
Moss Valley Country Park
Poolmouth Road, off Summerhill Road and Gatewen Road
Moss LL11 4UR
Telephone: 01978 763 140
The park is open daily all year round although there is no visitor centre. There is a small, fenced children’s play area next to the car park.
We hope you enjoyed our article about ‘Walks Around Moss Valley Country Park’. For more of our features on local walks, please click here.