Clywedog Trail led by our Guided Walk Leader Volunteers
Origins of the Walk
Sunday 15 May 2022 brought warmth and sunshine for the most recent edition of this annul walk. The staff and volunteers in Wrexham, North East Wales, set up this walk to engage locals and visitors in the unique history of the area and the role of Plas Power Woods in this industrial past. It has become tradition to collect a special mug for completing the walk – much more practical than a medal!
‘My inspiration for events is I plan something I want to do and know I’ll enjoy! I’d never walked the 9km Clywedog trail when I started the job despite being in the area for years before and our Plas Power Woods takes in a good 3rd of the trail.’ Rebecca Good, Site Manager.
Some of our team enjoying their official mugs!
The woods and the area
The combined sites of Plas Power Woods and Nant Mill Wood, which make up 42.3 hectares (104.6 acres), are situated in the Clywedog valley between Bersham and Coedpoeth, 2.5km (1.6 miles) west of Wrexham. One of our most popular Welsh sites, Plas Power Woods is a haven for botanists, wildlife lovers and history buffs alike. Visitors can explore a diverse selection of flora and fauna, a rich and intriguing history and the trails that lead you through the site.
The woodland is coming back to life! We are slowly removing conifers from this ancient woodland site, allowing the light to return to the woodland floor and the native species to come back. Explore the maze, which tells the story of the woodland restoration, from the light-blocking conifers, to the healthy broadleaved woodland. This wood is a wonderful spot to visit all year round.
“Sunday was a perfect day to see Plas Power Woods in all its spring glory. Bluebells, wild garlic, yellow archangel and greater stitchwort just some of the ancient flora in full bloom. Exploring the trust woods and further afield on the Clywedog Trail we also enjoyed the shelter of the trees on a hot day. Volunteers including a tree health detector shared their knowledge as we travelled through the woodland. Some of the history of the valley was explored around Minera and we hope to return to the full Clywedog trail with shuttle bus in May 2023 so our local experts can tell us more!” Rebecca Good, Site Manager.
History hot spot
- King Offa – The notorious King Offa, who was one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxons, ruled as the King of Mercia (East Midlands) from AD 757 until his death in July 796. Plas Power Woods has a strong connection with King Offa. A dyke was built there in his name in 785AD, and roughly follows the border of England and Wales. Within Plas Power Woods you can see an impressive section of this 1,200-year-old dyke, along with a sculpture of King Offa created by chainsaw artist Simon O’Rourke in 2012.
- Plas Power Park Wall – In 1858, work began to build a wall that would keep the public off the estate. This caused outcry from the local miners, who had enjoyed walking their dogs through the woods. Each night after the stone masons had gone home, local people would dismantle the section that had been built that day. Eventually, the estate owners used the Wrexham Militia to keep guard on the wall until it was finished. Nowadays, the sandstone wall is a Grade II-listed structure.
- Archaeology – The woods contain many interesting archaeological features, including a weir, the ruins of two crofts, a miller’s house, an 18th-century tramway route, and Wilkinson’s waggonway, along which horses pulled wagons loaded with limestone for the blast furnaces of Bersham Ironworks.
Our Volunteer Guided Walk Leaders
We have about half a dozen trained guided walk leader volunteers in North Wales who work as a team with their volunteer managers, Kylie and Becky, to host a number of walks each year.
‘It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with our volunteers, they bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to our team and help us engage more members of the public tan we could on our own.’ Kylie Jones Mattock,. Estate Manager.
These walks may take inspiration from the seasonal variations at our woods, Woodland Trust projects e.g. Ancient Tree Inventory or the unique history of certain areas. This well oiled team support each other, as well as leading walks they are in charge of hosting, by providing extra support on the day and promoting one another walks.
Our team of staff and volunteers have plans to make this annual event an even bigger affair by working with local partners to add extra insight and activities along the route. They are also hatching plans to have the option of a self guided walk for those more independent explorers among you.
Text: Martha Boalch, Wales VDO; Rebecca Good, Site Manager; Kylie Jones Mattock, Estate Manager.