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Flintshire Historical Society publications

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Vol. 25 1971-72

Archaeological notes : An ancient track along the Clwydian hills.

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL NOTES
AN ANCIENT TRACK ALONG THE CLWYDIAN HILLS
There seems to have been a prehistoric track along the Clwydian hills from the
Bronze Age settlement in North Flintshire to join the known track from the Conway
axe-factory and another from the coast at Mochdre harbour near Harlech. This was
used afterwards to connect the iron age forts on these hills. It can be traced in a
southerly direction from Moel-y-parc near Afon Wen, where on the summit is a round
barrow, up the slope of Penycloddiau and along its western ditch and down the
other side to "Bwlch-y-Francs"l on the Nannerch-Llangwyfan road, and from the next
pass where it is called locally "the Roman Road" the track is clear on the ground as a
closely grazed strip about 4 ft. 6 ins. wide to Bwlch-Pen-Barras. It is not marked on the
modem O.S. maps but on the old 6" it is shown as a footway. It coincides for nearly
the whole way from Moel-y-parc to Moel Famau with the county boundary. It
appears not to be of modern origin, as where wheeled vehicles have used it they diverge
in steep places, but has probably been kept is use as a sheep drove road.
Bronze Age finds at Maesmynan and Coed Cefn Golau on Moel Famau (the latter by
Mr. Bevan-Evans) and numerous tumuli support the ancient origin of the track.
There were three on Moel-y-parc and two on Moel Famau near Moel-y-gaer (of which
no remains I think are visible) and a group of cairns together with Stone and Bronze
Age implements between Moel Acre at the south end of the range and the river Dee
at Rhewl. Along the track are four or more standing stones. These are
(1) near Moel Arthur, a little to the east of the summit, which is marked on the
1* O.S. in archaic type as "standing stone". It is 5 ft. high and 36 ft. round at the
base. It is not on the ridge-which at this point is too steep for foot passengers,
except for the definite purpose of ascending the Moel-but is visible both from the
slope of Penycloddiau on the North and from the shoulder of Moel Arthur, and gives
an easy line of approach with a wide area of observation.
(2) On a clearly defined track near the summit of Moel Llys-y-ooed.1
(3) Garreg Lwyd (grey stone) is marked on the 21" map between Moel Gyw and
Moel Llanfair just on the existing track, but I have not found it.
(4) Upright stone on clearly defined track on the ridge near Moel Llanfair close to
the Llanarmon-Ruthin road at 1138 ft. It is 3 ft. 6" high and 30 ft. round at the base.
(4) Upright stone on clearly defined track on the ridge near Moel Llanfair close to
the Llanarmon-Ruthin road at 1138 ft. It is 3 ft 6 in. high and 30 ft. round at the
base.
(5) Flat stone close to the saddle of Moel-yr-Acre 2 ft. 6" high and 24 ft. round.
I do not know any other such stones in this area except the flat stone near the
circle in Penbedw Park and another smaller flat stone in the fields at Gelligynan
which seems to suggest that those on the track were found near by and set up as
markers.
From Bwlch Pen Barras in a southerly direction Moel Fenlli is too steep to have
formed a regular track until the fort was built. I suggest the original route was along
the eastern shoulder where is a line of old hedge and bank continuing along the
eastern slope of Moel Eithinin to Bwlch-y-pare near Clwyd Gate. From here a grass
track shows in the heather up the slope of Moel Gyw and then as a well defined track
HTPot Bwlch y ffrainc,' see supra, p. 45 Ed.)
31 have not been able to visit this site to take measurements owing to foot-and-mouth restric-
tions.
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