This walk starts and finishes at the car park for Dyserth Falls. This is a very popular tourist attraction as the cascade is so easy to reach from the car park and there are often lots of people there on sunny summer’s days – there is a small charge for visiting the falls. Dyserth Falls are well signposted and located on the aptly named Waterfalls Road in Dyserth (near Prestatyn) next to The Red Lion Inn. The Falls are very impressive and drop about 70 ft/21 metres in a rocky chasm. They are formed when the River Ffyddion (which rises 4.5 miles/7.24 Km to the east at Marian Mills) tumbles down a vertical drop in a noisy cascade.
From the waterfalls this delightful walk explores the area around the village of Dyserth in an energetic circuit that uses a pleasant section of the old Prestatyn to Dyserth railway line that was once used to serve the mines and quarries in the surrounding area. The trains and carriages transported lead, zinc and limestone and for a short period also carried passengers. Up to sixteen passenger trains a day ran at the railways peak but this service closed in 1930 because of increased competition from local bus services. After 104 years of usage the line finally shut in 1973. Today 2.5 miles of the original railway have been turned into a cycle and walking route known as ‘The Dyserth Way’.
You can’t spend long in this area without your eyes turning to the large lump of rocky hillside above Meliden. This little summit is Graig Fawr and rises to 502 ft/153 metres above sea level. It is owned and maintained by The National Trust and the view from its summit is superb. Today’s walk includes an ascent of this ‘mountain in miniature’ which is often referred to as ‘the guardian of Meliden’.
Although you could easily complete this route in a couple of hours its worth taking longer over it and choosing a day of settled clear weather when you can soak in the view as you eat your sandwiches on Graig Fawr’s rocky summit!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Distance: 3.65 miles/5.87 kilometres
Time: Allow 2.5 – 3 hours
Start: There is a free car park with toilets by Dyserth Waterfalls on Waterfalls Road facing the Red Lion Pub
Grid Ref: SJ 056793
Nearest postcode: LE18 6ET
Ordnance Survey Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 265 – Clwydian Range (Prestatyn, Mold and Ruthin)
What to expect: This is a fairly strenuous walk that has plenty of ups and downs on it. The paths and tracks are generally straightforward to follow and there is some quiet lane walking on the route where children should be carefully supervised. You should also take care with children on the summit of Graig Fawr as there are some steep unfenced drops not far from the top. Some of the going can be muddy if it has rained and the descent steps back to the start can be very slippery if they are wet (an alternative is given). You should wear boots and sensible walking clothing and choose a day of settled weather. Take a walking stick along in summer as some of the paths can get a bit overgrown.
Suitable for: Regular walkers who are used to uphill and down hill paths. The walk could be enjoyed by older children
Dogs: OK on a lead
Refreshments: The Red Lion Inn and The New Inn are at the start of the walk and there are plenty of facilities in Prestatyn, Rhuddlan and nearby Dyserth
Exit the car park to go right past The Red Lion Inn using the left side of the road. There is no sidewalk initially so take care. Pass a church right and once you have crossed the side road of Maes Esgob there is a sidewalk that can be used. Just before a bus stop is reached cross right over the road to take a lane uphill. Climb through houses and continue climbing beyond them. As the angle becomes leveller (just before another house) cut back half right to pass through a kissing gate into woods. Follow the path through the woods and just before you reach another kissing gate leave the path to go left taking a steep uphill path in trees. As you exit the trees the path ends. Continue ahead towards a marker post above. From here cross the field to descend slightly and cross a stile at a fence and wood corner left of a white house. Beyond the stile continue through woods on boardwalk and when this ends continue ahead on a woodland path to emerge onto a lane. Cross over this and climb up steps to pass through a kissing gate. Follow the grass path across the next field to pass through a kissing gate by a bench. Take a tarmac track to cross a bridge. When you reach the next kissing gate don’t go through it but cut sharp right instead to drop down steps to a track that was once the line of the old Prestatyn to Dyserth Railway Line.
2) Go right under the bridge following a sign for ‘Prestatyn’ and follow the track under another bridge. Follow the track past six benches to pass through the remains of an old bridge. Continue past two more benches to cross a bridge over a road. Continue on the track past a further three benches and a footpath left signposted for ‘village of Meliden’. As you reach buildings at a sign for ‘Prestatyn’ and ‘the Dyserth Way’ (near a footpath left for ‘Meliden’) watch for a fork in the track right.
Points of interest on this section:
- The Prestatyn to Dyserth railway line was once used to serve the mines and quarries in the surrounding area. The trains and carriages transported lead, zinc and limestone and for a short period also carried passengers. Up to sixteen passenger trains a day ran at the railways peak but this service closed in 1930. Today a 2.5 mile section of the old railway is a cycle path and footpath known as ‘The Dyserth Way’
3) At the track fork go right leaving the main track. Go right through a kissing gate in a few paces taking a footpath past the ‘Graig Fawr’ National Trust sign. Rise steadily to go right at a path junction following the sign for ‘Graig Fawr’. Climb steadily through woods using steps in places. Stay ahead at a ‘Dyserth Circular Walk’ sign left and pass under overhead cables. Shortly stay ahead at the next junction left to climb up the upper reaches of Graig Fawr passing through fern and brambles. Keep ahead on the main path ignoring any paths going off. As the trig point on the summit of Graig Fawr comes into view, stay ahead to climb to it.
Points of interest on this section:
- Graig Fawr rises to 502 ft/153 metres above sea level. It is owned and maintained by The National Trust and the view from its summit is superb. This ‘mountain in miniature’ is often referred to as ‘the guardian of Meliden’.
4) With your back to the sea and view (and the drop) drop off the summit to take a path going right towards the quarry on the hill of Moel Hiraddug. Shortly curve left to continue downhill. Descend over a dip and continue towards houses and a road beyond a wall. Continue ahead as the angle levels and, as you reach a telegraph post and a marker post left (just before a gate near a road ahead), go right down a descending grass path to drop to another gate. Pass through a kissing gate to the right of this gate to pass through a car park to a lane. Go half left to take the right lane at a junction and very shortly go right down a minor lane with a weight limit on it. Descend this lane and just before a bridge go left through a metal barrier to descend a path to reach the old Prestatyn to Dyserth railway line again. Go left on your outbound route to pass under a bridge and when your outbound route goes left after it, stay ahead on the track. Follow the track to pass left of a gate to a car park.
5) Exit the car park to a road and go right uphill. Use the sidewalk to continue through the village of Dyserth. Continue to just before traffic lights and a road junction signposted for ‘Prestatyn’ and take a marked footpath on the right which is surfaced. Rise to shortly descend and when the fences for the houses end start to descend more steeply through woods. Continue to go left down steps at a junction and follow the descending path to cut left just before a bench descending more steps behind a house. Join an access drive and cut left to reach Waterfalls Road. Go right to walk past Dyserth Falls and go right back into the car park.
NOTE – The steps descended to the road are very slippery if wet. In these conditions it is best to stay ahead at the junction for them to cut back left at the next steps and drop down to the house and access drive this way.
Points of interest on this section:
- Dyserth. The village has a population of about 2,500. Its main features are the extensive quarrying remains, the waterfalls, the former Dyserth to Prestatyn railway line and Moel Hiraddug.
- Dyserth Falls are very impressive and drop about 70 ft/21 metres in a rocky chasm. They are formed when the River Ffyddion (which rises 4.5 miles/7.24 Km to the east at Marian Mills) tumbles down a vertical drop in a noisy cascade.
A WORD OF CAUTION
Walking in the outdoors can be a strenuous activity and it is up to you to ensure that you are fit and healthy enough to undertake the route described and to approach the venture with caution and care. You should wear appropriate footwear and suitable clothing, take along food and drink plus carry the relevant map and a compass and be able to use it. The details given here are believed to be correct at the time of going to press. However, neither North Wales Magazine nor the author can accept responsibility for inaccuracies encountered.