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Pennant Walk 4 - Distance 3 (or 4)m, allow 2 hours
Boot End - Garreg Lydan Old Bagillt Road - Gadlys Bagillt
[Start Point OS Ref: 188758]
The route described is linear. This leaves the walker with the option of catching a bus from one end of the village to the other, or to complete the walk on foot.
The start of the walk is at the Boot End (1), opposite the Boot and Ship Hotel. Turn up New Brighton Road and almost immediately fork right up Glan yr Afon to the cemetery (2), where it is possible to park.
Go through the kissing gate on the right and up towards the children's play area. Walk through the play-area, then through the metal gate on to the road. Turn left. Walk ahead up the lane.
When you reach the top (3), it is worth pausing and looking around. Behind is the Dee Estuary with views towards the Wirral and beyond; on your left, the River Dee and Cheshire; to the right is Holywell. The large house with many farm buildings on your right across the valley is Bagillt Hall.
Pennant, in 'The History of the Parishes of Whiteford and Holywell,' page 268, describes Bagillt Hall and its odd situation as follows:
'... the house of Bagillt Hall is erroneously so named, it not being possessed of any manerial rights, nor does it stand even in the township of Bagillt; the whole road from the town of Holywell being in the township of that name, divided from the former by the bottom of the dingle...'
Continue along the track towards Garreg Lyden Farm (4). When this was the main route from Holywell to Bagillt, this was a farm and inn. It is now a private residence. When you reach the large house with iron gates (Garreg Lydan), look for a narrow path on your left, through the trees. Follow this to a stile leading to a field. Follow the hedge on your right, then cross a stile and keep left. The path becomes a track, passing a farm shed on your right, and you soon reach the Old Bagillt Road.
In this next field there was a famous Standing Stone (5). The stone gave the farm its name. The stone was removed some 40 years ago and its whereabouts are at the present time unknown. Follow the path alongside the hedge, towards the barn in the distance. The path now becomes a track which takes you to the Old Bagillt Road (6).
Turn left and continue past Panton Hall and Ffordd-y-dre. This too is an ancient thoroughfare. Before the turnpikes and the development of the road alongside the river, this was the main route from Holywell to Flint and beyond.
Turn right at the T-junction (7) and past Tyn-y-Pistyll Farm, turning right at the next T-junction (8). After about 100 metres, Turn left along the farm lane leading to Gadlys (9), the site of an old army barracks. Between 1700 and 1786 lead was smelted here and then transported by ship from the quayside in Bagillt.
Pennant describes the conditions of the lease for smelting lead (page 260):
"The ancient smelting-house of Gadlys stood... about a mile distant from the shore, and on the land of Robert Hughes, esquire, of Halkyn. The lease expired in 1786, and the whole works were entirely pulled down, after standing the term of the agreement, which was forty-four years."
There is an interesting collection of buildings in this area; many still have their outside toilets. The cottage on the right was a smithy.
Continue along the track, bearing to the left through the gate. The large red brick building on the right, an old coaching inn shows very clearly at least three separate stages of construction: the first part is stone, the second old brick, and the last stage new brick.
Continue along the lane and just after the wood take the footpath on the left (10). Before you take the path, ponder a while... This area may have been the battleground in 1157, where Henry II was forced to retreat from the Welsh army. Follow the path across the field and over the stile. Still keeping the wood on your left, continue to the corner of the field and over the stile, alongside the garages.
Turn right into the housing estate. Walk along the estate road towards the open space. Turn left (11) and pass in front of the Wern Stores. Ignore the lane to the right and follow the lane back to the centre of the village.
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- Original Walk by Ron Williams
- Last updated by Goronwy Wynne, October, 2010
- Photos: Norman Closs-Parry