Loggerheads Country Park


Loggerheads country park is one of our favourite local destinations for a mini adventure. Located only about 15 minutes away from our home, this Denbighshire beauty spot is accessible enough to spontaneously decide upon a quick walk, run or hike at the last moment. However, it also acts as a convenient gateway into the Clwydian range where the waymarked paths link with the Moel Famau Country Park and the Offa’s Dyke National Trail, meaning it’s also a perfect place to begin longer treks or to use as a planned stop off midway through a more arduous route.

I have used Loggerheads in numerous ways over the years. A gang of us still (fairly) regularly meet up in the car park early on a Sunday morning to do a great 10km trail run through the woodland and up the killer hill (it really is seriously steep) to Cilcain village, before returning along the same route to finish with a brew and optional piece of well-earned cake in the cafe. During temporary moments of increased fitness levels a few of us have also done the trail run that loops up and over Moel Famau, but at nearly 13 miles of off-road hill climbing, we save that one for special occasions. I have also led school groups on DofE expeditions over the Clwydian range and have used Loggerheads as both a convenient final destination and as a halfway muster point to check that the troops are all in good spirits and can be accounted for. It really is well-positioned for a number of outdoor pursuits in the north-east Wales area and has something for people of all ages.

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Since having children, however, we have used it as one of our top picks for a local family ramble. Although the country park connects itself to the openness (and with that often a magnified interaction with the elements) and greater undulations of the Clwydian range, the woodland pathways within the confines of the park are gentle and well maintained without losing their natural, slightly wild edge. A perfect combination for introducing little ones, particularly new walkers to the great outdoors. It is also a well-deserving accredited AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) so from an early age youngsters have the opportunity to interact with and enjoy their playful but beautiful surroundings. It has become more apparent in recent years through both the variety of organised activities that operate from the centre and the numerous  woodland creatures that have been carved in and around the forest, that they are doing everything they can to attract the next generation of outdoor lovers. This can only be a good thing for the area as a whole. For older visitors there is also the history and remnants of the old lead mine, including the stone water wheel near the bridge (which dates back to the 18th century) to see as well as the restored mill house that is adjacent to the main centre and cafe. Interestingly the whole country park got its name from the argument that developed between two families who both claimed rights to the ownership of the discovered mineral deposits on the land. Furthermore, more adventurous types can also take part in climbing and abseiling activities that are organised in and around Devil’s Gorge as well as taking part in the more obvious hiking and trail running pursuits that the this type of natural landscape rewards.

The onsite cafe itself is family friendly and even houses a gender neutral baby changing room meaning dads that take little ones out on their own are not disadvantaged. It also serves a really good quality range of food and drink, including some Welsh specialties (the black pudding and Welsh rarebit is particularly good) using as much local produce as they can.  The portions of food are generous and competitively priced while the meals themselves are always wholesome and delicious.   Highchairs are readily available and you can either sit inside or choose to pass the time of day outside where there are tables and chairs as well as picnic benches from which you can see and hear the river Alyn that meanders its way through the woodland paths and provides ample paddling and splashing opportunities to little and big kids alike.  They also provide a dog bowl outside to help rehydrate our furry friends too. The car park is also relatively cheap (£2 for 4 hours) and sized well enough to mean that we have never had trouble securing a space.

Apart from at very peak times such as bank holiday weekends the area is also remarkably quite meaning you can enjoy the sights and sounds of both the environment and the abundant wildlife that populates the country park.  Together with the variety of birds, fish and insects that can be spotted, otters also live in and around the river.  For short, circular  walks wellies and waterproofs for paddling and negotiating the gloop are fine, just make sure that if you plan on tackling one of the longer routes that you come prepared with a child carrier for younger children, trail shoes or boots and a pack full of outdoor essentials.

So, if like us, you want to get your little critters outside and into a beautiful natural environment consider Loggerheads Country Park. From glorious mud and puddle jumping, to river paddling and wandering through a steep limestone cliff valley, it really is a great location for all of the family.

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ethannevelyn

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