is it? Denbigh in the Vale of Clwyd, Denbighshire, North
How long will it take ? : 4.5 miles, 6 km. As much of the
walk is through the town and there is quite a bit of site-seeing involved
would allow 3-4 hours, we took even longer.
What's the attraction? : A medieval market town, a Castle, pastoral
views, an ancient Church
Essentials : Stout footwear. As always an OS map would be handy,
but your not going to get lost in the hills without one!
Rating : Easy
Car Parking : Car Park at the top of Vale Street close to High
Street. But we parked at the bottom of Vale Street on the A543 Rhyl
Road, both to save a few bob and also to save walking uphill at the
end of the walk..
Facilities : A wide selection of pubs, restaurants and cafes
in the town. Toilets behind High Street.
Lets Go !
We parked the car on the A543 Rhyl Road at the bottom of the hill that
leads to the town centre.
Leave the car and walk toward the crossroads at the bottom of Vale
Street where the A543 Rhyl Road meets the Ruthin Road.
The Railway Inn on the corner gives a clue to the origins of the redundant
bridge like structure
on the right hand side of the road. Yes, the railway once passed through
Denbigh and the Vale of Clwyd.
Continue up Vale Street (Stryd y Dyffryn) to the town centre. There
are a number of interesting houses along the road. Half way up the hill
are the Evan Pierce memorial gardens. Evan Pierce must have been a much
loved and respected member of the community as the unusually large memorial
(a smaller version of Nelson's Column) was payed for by public subscription.
Carrying on up the hill we pass an eclectic mix of shops and
a sandstone monument known as the Old High Cross before arriving at Hall
Next we come to Denbigh Library, once the Market Hall, where
the ground levels off at the entrance to High Street. Denbigh is a bustling
little town with a good mix of pubs, offices, cafes, and quality shops
and not a Mcdonalds in site! Alley ways and streets lead off in all
directions, all inviting further exploration. Take time to stroll along
the High Street, a proper old fashioned high street.
To continue the walk from High Street walk back to the
Library, (Market Hall), and take the right hand fork immediately bearing
right up Bull Lane. The lane bears right and then left, we then
turn right into Leicester Terrace. Continue along Leicester Terrace
to the Burgess Gate, or the
"townsman's gate" . This massive stone gateway marked the entrance
to the medieval walled town. It was one of the biggest walled gatehouses
in Britain and was designed to impress and intimidate the Welsh people
after King Edward I of England's army had occupied Wales in the 13th
From the gatehouse bear left up Castle Hill passing St Hilary's Tower,
the remains of the early 14th Century garrison chapel.
To your right stands the imposing Castle Gatehouse Towers with the headless
statue of King Edward still lording it over the town. It is possible
to enter the first sections of the Castle without charge as the ticket
booth is deeper within the walls. A small fee is charged to enter the
Castle keep but that might be for another day.
We bear to the left toward the trees at the edge of the green. Find
the path and take the steps down into the woodlands turning right along
the path. The verdant fields of the Vale of Clwyd are visible between
the trees before the path eventually reaches Love Lane. Turn left along
the road, B4501, until the fork in the road. Take the left hand fork,
sign might say Llanrhaeadr.
Continue along the road with open countryside on both sides. To the
right is the now redundant "Denbigh Loony Bin" (well
that's what we called it) or to give it it's correct name the Denbigh Psychiatric Hospital,
an impressive Victorian building soon to be "developed" into apartments
Follow the road as it starts to descend but you will come to a sharp
bend on the hill. Look for the stile on your left and follow the
waymarker through the trees. This is a narrow path and can be quite overgrown
but there are a number of mature trees along the way. Continue along
the path and it opens out into a field. Ignore the track to the left
and continue close to the edge of the woodland. Cross the field to Ffordd
Ystrad. We had our butties in the field across the road, by the bridge.
If you like the open countryside this is the best part of the walk.
The lush pastureland of the Vale of Clwyd is evidenced by the herds of
cattle and the ancient oak trees in abundance. To your left, high on
the hill, are the walls of Denbigh Castle while to your right are the
rolling hills of the Clwydian range.
To continue the walk bear left along Ffordd Ystrad until you see a
stile on the right. Cross the stile into the field and follow the track
across two fields heading toward the redundant railway bridge. The path
runs beneath the bridge and alongside the river through the trees before
reaching a road. Bear right along the road toward the Brooklands Pottery.
On your right is the Afon Ystrad with an interesting set of water falls,
fish ladders I think. Continuing down the lane we pass the Pottery on
your right. Bearing left round the bend we pass some cottages before
cutting through a tunnel below the A525 Ruthin Road.
The road bears right before passing by the Brooklands Restaurant. It
is a lovely spot for some refreshments. We carry on the walk by turning
left after the restaurant along the Hen Ffordd Rhuthun (Old Ruthin Road).
An unusually attractive Welsh Chapel comes into view on
the bend in the road, plain but perfectly formed with a rustic brick
facade. Cut through the chapel grounds, the path is to be found on the
left hand side of the building. Cross the field keeping close to the
hedge into the next field and continue on again staying close to the
hedge. At the end of the second field the path narrows before reaching
Ffordd Eglwyswen, (Church Road). Turn right and the entrance to the church
is on your left.
The Church of St Marcella's is a lovely church with it's white painted
tower highlighted against the green of the Vale of Clwyd for miles around.
The famous Welsh poet Twm o'Nant, the Welsh Shakespeare, lies buried
in the churchyard, or so I am told. We could not find his grave on the
day we visited.
Our walk continued past the Sewage Farm but all we were rewarded with
was a big pong and getting lost in fields full of nettles. So I will
describe the alternative route.
From the church head back up Ffordd Eglwys as far as the roundabout
on the A525. Go straight across the roundabout and follow the Ruthin
Road. There are some nice houses along the way and on your left is Denbigh
School. You will come out at the bottom of Vale Street close to the Railway
Inn from where we started.