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Holidays in Flintshire Wales, a guide to finding the best holiday in Flintshire

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Click to zoom into FlintshireFlintshire is a Welsh county on the border with England.  It is located in the north east of Wales between the counties of Denbighshire to the west and the English county of Cheshire to the east, the county borough of Wrexham to the south and the Irish Sea to the north.

The county of Flintshire is often described as the "Gateway to Wales", but unfortunately most travellers treat the county literally as a gateway and travel straight through without stopping. But Flintshire has much to offer: from the world renowned Holy Well of St Winifride at Holywell; the ancient monument of Offa's Dyke ; the Edwardian Castle at Flint; the historic villages of Llanasa and Caergwrle; traditional market towns such as Mold; not to mention the glorious welsh countryside and the magnificent views of the Dee estuary.

To describe Flintshire I will describe a road journey that circumvents the county. The tour starts from the town of Hawarden, and presumes you have entered Flintshire from the historic English City of Chester, and finishes in the heart of Flintshire in the county town of Mold.

Hawarden's main claim to fame are it's two castles and the fact that it was the home to William Gladstone the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The original and true castle dates from the 12th century and is now in ruins, but the present day Hawarden Castle is actually a Georgian and Victorian castellated mansion that was home to Gladstone and now to his descendants. Close by is the the celebrated library of St Deiniol, the nation's tribute to Gladstone which also houses an exhibition of his life and career.

We leave Hawarden via the A550 joining the B5129 near Queensferry. (A good road map is essential to traverse this Welsh version of spaghetti junction!). Head north west toward the town of Flint. On your right you will see the new "Flintshire Bridge" which has little architectural merit to speak of other than that it blends in magnificently with the matching electricity pylons that scar this area of the borderlands, and sits comfortably amidst this ugly industrialised landscape that is known as the Deeside Industrial Park.

Moving swiftly on to Connah's Quay and the 1000 year old woodland of Wepre Country Park which contains the ruins of another ancient caste, Ewloe Castle. Ewloe Castle was built in the13th century by Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Wales.

Continue on the B5129, (merging with the A548), to the ancient town of Flint. Flint's more recent architecture leaves a lot to be desired but the 13th century castle built by King Edward 1 on the banks of the River Dee is well worth a visit. It may not have the grandeur of some of Edward's other Welsh castles such as Conwy or Harlech, but it is renowned as the location ( described by William Shakespeare) where King Richard 11 surrendered to Henry Bolingbroke. This act could be said to have been a prime cause of the English Wars of the Roses and the Welsh rebellion of Owain Glyndwr.
There are walks along the shoreline close to the castle and bird enthusiasts, twitchers even, will appreciate the huge flocks of wading birds that migrate to the Dee mud flats during the winter months.

From Flint we head north west on the A548 alongside the Dee estuary to the town of Holywell.

Holywell, as it's name suggests is famous for the Holy Well of St Winifride. It has been an important place of pilgrimage since medieval times, indeed King Henry V walked here from Shrewsbury to give thanks for his victory at Agincourt and the church itself was rebuilt by Margaret Beaufort mother of Henry Tudor around 1500 AD. For history buffs the small town of Holywell has as many as 60 listed buildings, and for those who like a bargain there are open air markets on Saturdays and Thursdays.
Close by is the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park where you will find the industrial history of the area presented within the remains of 18th century buildings, a museum and visitor centre, combined with woodland walks and a number of lakes teeming with bird life.

Leaving Holywell on the B5121 we take the A548 for a short distance north west before turning inland and taking a detour down the winding country lanes to the villages of Whitford, Trelogan, and Glan yr Afon, passing on the way the early British stone crosses of Maes Achwyfan.

Returning to the A548 coast road at Ffynnongroyw it is just a short drive to Talacre beach, at the mouth of the Dee estuary, and the protected Special Site of Scientific Interest, home of rare natterjack toads and little terns.

Again we return to the A548 this time passing through the village of Gwespyr en-route to the historic village of Llanasa. The village of Llanasa, nestling in a fold in the hills 450 feet above the Dee estuary, is home to a Victorian school, some tithe barn cottages and a 17th century hall. The church in Llanasa is believed to have been founded in the 6th century with the present building dating from the late 15th century. There are magnificent examples of stained glass in the large east windows that were originally from the nearby Basingwerk Abbey.

Leaving Llanasa we take the turning east at the junction with the A5151 at Gop Hill to the B5122 to Caerwys. But pause a while at Gop Hill, close to Trelawnyd, to view what is the biggest prehistoric monument in Wales and the second largest artificial mound in Britain. Gop Hill a prehistoric Cairn mound stands 46 feet tall and some 820 feet above sea level, affording fantastic views in all directions.
The Hill can be reached by a footpath from Trelawnyd. Legend says that it is the burial site of Boadicea (Boudicca) which it may be, or may be it is a monument to the dead, or indeed a massive prehistoric burial ground.

Leaving Trelawnyd we take the A5151 to Lloc where a right turn takes us to the B5122 and the small town of Caerwys. Indeed it is said to be the smallest town in Britain having been granted a charter in the 13th century by King Edward 1.
Caerwys was once a Roman outpost, but it is most famous for the eisteddfodau or poetry festivals which have been held there. According to tradition, the first was summoned in about 1100 by Gruffydd ap Cynan, the liberator of Gwynedd from the rule of the Norman overlord Hugh Lupus. Another was held in 1523, and in 1567 Queen Elizabeth I gave permission for a competitive bardic assembly there.
The Roman connection continues with the ancient Church of St Michael's in the town. Although this can not be proved it is said that (on the basis of the early fabric at the base) the Church Tower was built on the site of a Roman observation tower. Whether true or not the Church can be traced back many hundreds of years. It has a late 13thC tower and nave to which a chancel and a north aisle were later added. The building contains a 13thC effigy, broken sepulchral slabs of 14thC date, and a range of wooden furnishings of 17thC date. The church has two lychgates, one originally dating to 15thC. The earliest reference to the church is in 1244 when it was nominated as a meeting place between Prince David and King Henry III and was referred to again in 1284, More Caerwys information >

From Caerwys we take the A541 south east toward Nannerch. The peaceful village of Nannerch, close to the River Wheeler, sits against a backdrop of the Clwydian Hills with the iron age hill forts of Penycloddiau and Moel Arthur near by.

On leaving Nannerch keep your eyes open for the Penbedw Stone Circle. It can be found in a field close by the turning to Cilcain off the A541. It is believed to date from as far back as the Bronze Age (2000 - 1250 BC). There were originally eleven standing stones, but only four or five remain. Trees have been planted in positions where other stones once stood.

Continue south on this lane to the ancient village of Cilcain. The village is of such an age that it was entered in the doomsday Book and several of the cottages date back to the 16th and 17th century. There is an interesting church, St Mary's, which has a fine carved oak hammer beam roof dating from the 16th century. Cilcain itself sits in the foothills of the Clwydian Range and is a popular starting point for walkers and hikers. Moel Famau, the highest peak in the Clwyd Hills, is visible from the centre of the village. It's a proper village community with the church, a bowling green, community centre and a pub, the White Horse, indeed the White Horse Inn is a pub and not a restaurant like most public houses these days.

Leaving Cilcain we take the scenic route on the narrow country lanes through the wooded valley to Pantymwyn and on to Gwernaffield and the hamlet of Cadole.

At Cadole it is well worth sneaking into the county of Denbighshire to visit Loggerheads Country Park with its woodland and riverside walks.

Returning to Flintshire we travel west along the A494 from Cadole as far as the right turn to Maeshafn. Be prepared for splendid views of Flintshire including Moel Findig, a local nature reserve and one of the lesser known Clwydian Hills.

From Maeshafn it is but a couple of miles to the ancient village of Nercwys, be prepared for more fine views   with the county town of Mold in the distance.
Nercwys itself has an old church with an interesting looking tower, St Mary's, that dates back to Norman times. It houses an interesting carved, coloured and gilded chair known as "Cader Fair" or St Mary's Seat. The earliest reference to a church at Nercwys dates from 1291. The church was extensively restored and enlarged in 1847, and again in 1882/1883.

Leaving Nercwys we continue to Treuddyn an old mining village where as many as 450 men were once employed in the collieries.

From Treuddyn we take the A5104 for a short distance until we meet the B5101  to Llanfynydd where we find more evidence of early man's labour. The massive Offa's Dyke that stretches from the north of Wales to the Severn Estuary in the south of Wales. The Dyke consists of an earthen bank which can be up to 26 feet high and is Britain's most impressive earthwork monument.

Staying on the B5101 we arrive at the village of Frith where archaeological finds reveal that the area was inhabited during the Roman occupation of Britain. A Roman hypocaust or vapour bath was uncovered in the 16th century and since then many treasures have been found including gold rings, ivory pins, and gold coins. It is presumed the Romans were attracted by the availability of lead reserves in the nearby Nant-y-Frith valley.

From Frith we take the B5102 and A541 to Cefn-y-Bedd and Caergwrle.
Caergwrle is dominated by it's 13th century castle, or rather the ruins of the castle. Sometimes called " the very last Welsh built castle" (and other times called "a pile of old stones" ... joke) Caergwrle was begun in 1277 by Dafydd ap Gruffydd, younger brother of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, or Llywelyn the last, Prince of Wales. It was from Caergwrle that Dafydd undertook his victorious attack on the English at Hawarden in 1282.
But victory was short lived and the English King Edward 1 captured Caergwrle castle soon after and reduced it to ruins. Never to be rebuilt.
The town of Caergwrle however had a more promising future and in it's heyday thousands of visitors would arrive by train to take the waters at "Caergwrle and Wells Railway Station"

From Caergwrle we take a short detour on the A550 to the village of Hope. The church of St Cynfarch and Cyngar in Hope was probably founded in the early medieval period and there is evidence that a wooden church stood on the site during the 12th century. This was replaced by a stone building in the late 13th century. The north nave was built circa 1500, with the tower being added some years later. Extensive "restoration" took place in 1859, and again in 1885.
The presence of the church in Hope comes as somewhat of a surprise to me as "when I were a lad" I remember the phrase "Live in Hope and get buried in Caergwrle", which I took to mean there was no graveyard and thus no church in Hope.

By now we are close to the English Border and not wishing to stray into "foreign territory" we return to Caergwrle and the A541.

From Caergwrle we take the A541 north to the county town of Mold and the last point on our trip around the county of Flintshire.
Mold is a friendly market town and there are bustling street markets every Wednesday and Saturday, the street trading being a tradition in Mold since the 17th Century. Mold's greatest claim to fame however is the Bronze Age Gold Cape, a unique and fantastic piece of prehistoric metalwork, estimated around 2000 BC, found on a skeleton in fields nearby and proudly exhibited centre stage in the British Museum in London. Mold Library / Museum displays a copy of the Gold Cape and many other Bronze Age treasures.
I may be on my own with this but I believe that the Gold Cape is such an important artifact that it rewrites the history of the British Isles and indeed Western Europe. Should you view the Cape and marvel at its fantastic workmanship remember that it is .... 4000 years old!
The ancient church of St Mary's overlooking the High Street was financed by Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry Tudor, to mark his victory over Richard 111 at the Battle of Bosworth and his enthronement as King of England in the 15th Century. More information about Mold >

Holiday map of Flintshire.
This map shows:
Main Roads
Resorts / towns with accommodation
Ancient Monuments, Neolithic Burial Chambers, Standing Stones
Nature Reserves
RSPB Sanctuaries
Golf Courses
National Trust Properties
Sandy Beaches
Lakes and Mountains
Holiday Map of Flintshire. Move the cursor over the attractions Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Denbighshire Click for Holidays in DenbighshireJump to map of MerseysideJump to map of Cheshire Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Flintshire Click for Golf Holidays in Denbighshire Click for Golf Holidays in Denbighshire Click for Golf Holidays in Denbighshire Click for Ruthin town and Castle Where to stay in Holywell Where to stay in Denbigh Where to stay in Ruthin Where to stay in Mold Where to stay in Maeshafen Where to stay in Flint Flint Castle Basingwork Abbey St Winifrides Well, has been an important place for pilgrims to visit since the Middle Ages, and is known as the  Lourdes of Wales Maen Achwyfaen Where to stay in Chester Where to stay in Llanrwst Jump to Map of  Denbighshire Where to stay in Buckley Where to stay in Northop Hall Village Where to stay in Northop Where to stay in Bylchau Jump to Map of  County of Wrexham Jump to Map of  Powys Jump to Map of  Denbighshire Click for Holidays in Denbighshire Click for Holidays in Denbighshire Nature Reserve Nature Reserve Nature Reserve

For a holiday in north wales I can recommend the delightful market town of Ruthin. Find accommodation in Ruthin here >

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