Wat's Dyke Way Heritage Trail

Basingwerk Abbey, Greenfield, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 7GH, Wales

The trail follows the route of Wat’s Dyke using public footpaths and quiet country lanes for a distance of 61m/99km between Llanymynech, close to the Powys/Shropshire border as far as Basingwerk Abbey, within a stone’s throw of the River Dee estuary near Holywell in Flintshire.

From Llanymynech, the Wat’s Dyke Way follows the Montgomery Canal to Maesbury.

The lime kilns at Llanymynech- From here the trail follows public footpaths and lanes close to the remains of the Dyke as far as the market town of Oswestry which is dominated by a Celtic Hill Fort.

North of Oswestry the Dyke followed what are now the A5/A483 to and beyond the River Dee. This necessitated a diversion in the route which now goes through the Gobowen and the St Martins area where there is a wealth of mining history and archaeology.

The River Dee is crossed at Overton Bridge in Erbistock. The route then goes across country to rejoin the Dyke south of Ruabon. It now passes through an area with a rich industrial heritage going back to the industrial revolution and beyond. South of Wrexham is the National Trust Property of Erddig Hall and the Information Centre of the Bersham Trail. The route passes through the town of Wrexham taking in the grave of ElihuYale, founder of Yale University. Yale College in the town is also named after him.

North of the town the route returns to pastoral countryside going via a deep valley to the Alyn Waters Country Park and the twin villages of Hope and Caergwrle, the latter with its imposing castle. The next important industrial heritage area is the town of Buckley with its associations with the clay pot and brick industry. After passing through the village of Sychdyn the Trail leaves the line of the Dyke to take in the a second impressive Celtic hill fort at Rhosesmor. This is on Halkyn Common, which in itself has an industrial heritage going back to the days of the Romans who mined lead in the area.

After crossing the A55 the path passes near to Flint with its Castle and associations with Richard III. The section of the Dyke in this area is impressive. It goes through a minor watershed and towards the town of Holywell. Holywell and the Greenfield Valley also have a long Historical and industrial heritage. The town takes its name from the nearby St Winefride’s Holy Well; one of the Seven Wonders of Wales and known to many as the Lourdes of Wales because of it’s alleged healing powers. The water from this well in turn was the source of the power for the development of the cotton and wool industries in the Greenfield valley in the early 18th Century.

At the northern end of the Greenfield valley is Basingwerk Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian monastery which marks the end of the Wat’s Dyke Way.


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