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The Northern Clwydians / 1 day / 16 miles (26km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 03 Jan 2005
Start / Finish: Cilcain. Good roadside parking near the Post Office.
Maps: Pathfinder 772: Denbigh. (Memory Map Navigator - 1:25000 Offas Dyke path).

Day 1The Northern Clwydians16 miles / 3600 feet (26km / 1097m)

A favourite day walk for winter, this route traverses the northern part of the Clwydian ridge from Moel Famau to Penycloddiau. The views from this popular ridge are very extensive.

Day 1 - The Northern Clwydians

From the church a narrow lane descends SW to cross the Nant Gain. Through the farm gate signed Tyddyn-y-Foel, a few yards along the track is a signed stile on the R, where the footpath follows the field edge to a track junction. Going straight across in the same direction, the way is now clear and climbs to the forest corner and along the edge to the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau, the highest point of the Clwydians at 554m. There are extensive views in all directions, to the Snowdonia peaks across the Vale of Clwyd, the Llangollen hills, the Peckforton hills and over the Cheshire plain. The central platform in the tower, which was built in 1810 to commemorate 50 years of reign of King George III but collapsed in 1862, has viewfinder plates on the walls. As is always the case on our visits, we were well blasted by a cold wind and quickly changed into our shell jackets.

View north from Moel Famau
View north from Moel Famau (03 Jan 2005__08:52:25)
Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau
Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau (03 Jan 2005__08:56:58)
Jubilee Tower and dawn sky
Jubilee Tower and dawn sky (03 Jan 2005__08:59:29)

The well-used Offas Dyke (OD) path undulates northwards along the ridge and the steep cone of Moel Arthur comes into view, topped by earthworks of a celtic Iron Age hill fort. Descending to the pass road and the Moel Arthur car park, the path climbs to the R and part way up we took a thin side path L that climbs steeply to the rampart and the summit just beyond. A thin path leads through the heather to rejoin the OD route and descend to the second pass road and a small car park.

Two forest roads leave westwards, but the OD route is signed on the R of these and ascends on a thin path on the edge of the trees. Leaving the forest at a stile, a gentle climb on cropped grass gains the summit of Penycloddiau ("Hill of the trenches"), the largest Iron Age hill fort of the range with three levels of earthworks. The OD continues to the bwlch before Moel y Parc (121689), where we turned L on a track that contours the hills well above the valley and maintains the good views westwards. Arriving at the pass road (131664), around the bend a bridleway continues the line and curves around to the next road, where a short walk L is the Moel Arthur car park. Retracing the route back to the Cilcain sign, we took the track NE above the reservoirs that becomes a narrow lane. At the crossroads at 166653, we turned R on the lane down to Cilcain.

View west from the ridge
View west from the ridge (03 Jan 2005__09:22:24)
Moel Arthur with Penycloddiau beyond
Moel Arthur with Penycloddiau beyond (03 Jan 2005__14:10:49)
Moel Famau from the Cilcain track
Moel Famau from the Cilcain track (03 Jan 2005__14:42:00)