I was nearing the end of my week off work.
The first walk I had done during my annual leave was lovely. Blue skies, sunshine and fantastic views. This walk however was a complete contrast.
I parked up for free at the Minera Mines car park, an interesting open access site containing an the remains of the old mine. Amazingly, despite being about 35 minutes drive from my house, I’ve never been here before and only discovered it by accident looking at an OS Map on my laptop.
It was very misty when I got out of the car and headed up towards the old mine which had stood on this site since 1845.
The remains looked imposing in the mist which suited the scene.
The first written record of lead mining at Minera dates back to 1296, however it wasn’t until 1845, when a steam engine was built, that the Minera Mining Company was created.
Sadly, by 1900, the price of lead had fallen while the costs of running the steam engine rose and by 1914 the mine had closed.
Another piece of history around here is the old disused railway line which now forms a pleasant footpath but was once part of the line between Wrexham and Brymbo.
Funnily enough, like my last walk, this path also took me past a disused quarry, once once the largest lime workings in the north of Wales.
The path skirted along the northern side of the quarry before I turned right to join the quiet, narrow road to Llandegla Forest.
Although primarily geared up for cyclists, a number of footpaths criss-cross the forest and it’s well worth downloading the walking map from their website.
I took the Reservoir trail initially, up to and around part of the Pendinas Reservoir. From there, I joined the Black Grouse trail. The end of this trail was easy to spot!
The paths through Llandegla are well marked and easy to follow, however, I was about to leave the dense woodland and onto the misty moor beyond.
All went well initially, two finger pointers marked where two routes split and I headed off to the right along a clearly defined (albeit narrow) path . Soon, however, this path disappeared. In front of me was water and boggy ground. I put my left foot down in to a stream nothing too deep….then my right leg plunged in to knee high icy water. It soaked through my boots, gaiters and trousers. As I backtracked, my left leg went in to deeper water.
I returned to dry land and checked my map, compass and GPS. Yes this was the route I wanted but I couldn’t see a way through that wouldn’t require a flotation device!
Consulting the map, this path followed parallel to the water course for some distance – that would not be pleasant on a cold, misty January day!
There was another possible route about 200 metres to the East.
I made my way over the boggy ground until I hit another obvious path going in the right direction. I followed before it too disappeared.
There is nowhere as lonely as a misty, featureless moor with no obvious path and little viability. I knew I wanted to head south towards the road. I was armed with map and compass but (sorry purists ) I was very grateful for my GPS as a picked my way through.
Eventually, I hit the road, it was nice to feel tarmac under my extremely wet feet.
I took a left, following the road until a crossroads of paths and roads. I had a route back whichever way I went but continued on the path straight on.
This also followed moorland but the path was slightly easier to follow. Again, there were a couple of routes further along; one down Minera Mountain or the one I took to Esclusham Mountain.
From the trig point, I descended Esclusham to the road, where I walked East along the back towards where I had parked the car.
The weather was still very misty and there was little in the way of views…apart from litter. Surprising considering it was a quiet, single track there was a lot of rubbish, even more surprising was the car radio I found left on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
Their field led to another far, far, far muddier field. I assumed that this field contained cows, however, I couldn’t see any.
I made extremely slow progress through this quagmire before discovering the cows.
They were standing in a group, in the corner, right opposite the stile…a sneaky climb over the fence was required!
From here, it was an easy walk back to the Country Park where I had left my car.
I trudged the final stretch. I was cold, wet and extremely muddy.
This walk came at the end of a week off walk and was in complete contrast to the first walk of the holiday. I really like the country park and will be returning and I’m sure this route would be nice in the summer but, I definitely don’t recommend it on a cold, wet, misty day!