This short walk is 2.5 miles or 4km and is located in the Greenfield Valley, Holywell, North Wales.
Park the car in the Basingwerk Abbey Car Park close to the junction of the A548 and B5121.
Facing south take the path on the east corner of the car park leading to the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey. Follow the path skirting the site of the Abbey.
The ruins of Basingwerk Abbey are the remains of a Cistercian abbey originally founded as a house of the order of Savigny in 1131, and remodelled in the thirteenth century. Although the abbey church does not survive to any great height, it is possible to make out the cruciform plan on the ground with the remains of small chapels in the North and South transepts and the cloister on the southern side of the Nave. The most notable features remaining today are the two fine arches of the extended Chapter House, and their central supporting column.
At the foot-path junction close to the Farm Museum turn left passing the old school. Bear left uphill along lane. On the right is the pit for the waterwheel that powered
the machinery for Abbey Mill that once produced copper and brass wire for making nails and pins.
The Museum and Farm in Greenfield Valley Heritage Park have an attractive collection of original and reconstructed local buildings which provide a fascinating insight into times past. For children there are farm animals, Toddler Tractor Heaven, Tower Maze and new for 2011, Adventure TreeHouse.
Follow the lane then take next right down the steps and cross the bridge to the Lower Cotton Mill site.
The large rectangular ruin is all that remains of the six storey cotton mill built here in just 10 weeks in 1785. The Cotton Twist Company employed up to 300 apprentices, many of them under 10 years old.
Continue around the right hand side of the warehouse and the old mill remains, then turn left before the iron gates to continue around the back of the mill. Cross the mill stream and take the steps to rejoin the lane.
Where lane bears left by the Flour Mill Pool reservoir, branch right keeping alongside
The Flower Mill Pool is a popular spot with anglers who like to while a way an hour or six!
Continue as far as the sculpted metal gates and bear right to more ruins. Near the reservoir overflow above Meadow Mill ruins, bear left up the steps. Partway up turn right onto a metal walkway across the reservoir, and then turn left up the steps to the car park.
Meadow Mill was built in 1787 to manufacture copper rollers for printing patterns onto cloth. Three enormous waterwheels, 20 feet in diameter, provided the power for the copper rolling machinery. The few buildings you see today date from the 1800s when there was a rubber grinding works and tin plate works on site.
Cross car park heading towards entrance, but turn L through metal kissing gate before the road. Pass the remains of the clock tower on the right then, after 10m,
bear right at the path fork, past remains of the Battery works. Continue around the right hand side of the Battery Pool, and where the path forks again go left across the top of the pool to come out in the Royal Oak car park.
The Greenfield Mills and the Battery Works have a poignant history. Established in 1776, they employed local people to ‘batter’ pots and pans into shape with large hammers. The goods were exported from Liverpool to Africa and used to buy slaves who were then taken to America to work in the cotton fields. The cotton was then brought back for processing, ensuring that the ships always had a full cargo.
From the car park turn left up the steps, then turn right on the lower path, and then turn right on lower path passing the chimney. Go through the kissing gate and
bear right towards the road, passing a warehouse.
Turn left along the road to visit St Winefride's Well, the Well Chapel and the church of St James the Apostle. Much of the buildings are of late 15th Century construction, built under the patronage of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, Henry Tudor, King of England.
According to legend, St Winefride's Well first erupted at the spot where Winefride’s (Welsh: Gwenffrewi; in modern English Winifred and numerous variations) would-be rapist Caradog cut off her head with his sword. Restored to life at the prayers of her uncle St Beuno, Winefride lived as a nun until her second death some 22 years later. Whatever the exact truth of her legend, Winefride herself was real rather than legendary, and the extraordinary and enduring personality of this 7th-century Welsh woman has meant that she has been venerated as a saint ever since the moment of her death. Since that time, too, her Well at Holywell has been a place of pilgrimage and healing - the only such place in Britain with a continuous history of public pilgrimage for over thirteen centuries.
Retrace your steps back through the kissing gate, and then take the right hand path to join a disused railway track.
Built in 1869, the railway was originally used to transport minerals from local quarries to Greenfield Wharf. In 1913 it changed to passenger use and carried many thousands of pilgrims to St Winefride's Well.
Stay on this track, ignoring turnings on the left and keeping straight ahead at two major path crossings. Eventually cross the bridge and then descend steps and return to the car park with the Abbey remains on your left hand side.
Review Greenfield Valley Walk.