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Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival highlights
View from Penycloddiau, Clwydian Range
There's a 40 mile (64k) route from Pontcysyllte to Prestatyn via Moel Famau

This year's Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival takes on a medieval theme where people can take a stroll back in time.

Among organised events (14-16 May), historian Tristan Gray Hulse leads a walk which follows the final stage of an old pilgrim route which starts at Basingwerk Abbey and ends at the nearby St Winefride's Holy Well, Holywell.

"As late as 1911 there's a reference to stones which marked the traditional pilgrim route still standing," says Tristan.

Walk: Greenfield - Holywell
One of the mill ponds at Greenfield Valley, Holywell, by Sashyazz
The Greenfield woods are a particularly beautiful part of the valley so we're linking a good walk with a bit of history.
Tristan Gray Hulse

"Pilgrims would have 'made stations' at the stones, that is they would say a particular prayer at each stone.

"The walk I'm leading follows what may have been the route marked by the stones.

"We don't know for sure where the stones would have stood and, as industry took over, their location would have changed - they may have moved up the sides of the valley."

Holywell was a popular destination for pilgrims particularly from the north west of England.

"From the time of Elizabeth I until the end of the 18th Century Catholicism had to go underground but the one place it didn't go underground was at Holywell," said Tristan.

"For people who wanted to practise their faith, many would make a pilgrimage to Holywell so that they could practise it openly.

"Parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire had heavy concentrations of people who stayed Catholic and getting to Holywell wasn't too difficult for them. So a pilgrimage pattern had settled in since the end of the Middle Ages and they continued to follow it."

Other events in the festival include a circular walk visiting Mold's historic Bailey Hill, the site of a Norman mottee and bailey castle, and a walk to the little-known site of Dyserth Castle.

Walk: Moel Famau - Prestatyn
Clwydian Range

The walks are graded according to their difficulty and range from two to 20 miles.

Some of the walks feature the increasingly popular sport of Nordic walking and there are also treasure hunts involving geo-caching, using GPS and compass to locate hidden caches.

For the more adventurous, there's a two day 40 mile (64 kilometres) walk from Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to Moel Famau and which resumes the next day from Moel Famau to Prestatyn. A bus will ferry passengers to the start from Prestatyn.

A full programme can be found on the Prestatyn Walking Festival and Clwydian Range website.




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