“The Lourdes of Wales”
Overview of Holywell
Holywell is an old market town turned industrial capital, with an enchanting history nestled away in the Welsh county of Flintshire, overlooking the bewitching Dee Estuary. This scenic town is one of great significance with a former history like no other, with remnants and historic builds peppered throughout the district, serving as a constant memento to the town’s pivotal past.
Holywell’s enriching history encompasses narratives of a revengeful young prince, a beautiful maiden, monks and healing springs. With such a prominent former history and an eventful past, Holywell’s intrigue still attracts many visitors annually.
This unique parish is home to many admirable establishments, the most notable being the ethereal pilgrimage site, St. Winefride’s Well Shrine and Chapel, which has attracted many pilgrims from far and wide for over 1300 years to experience first hand the unparalleled atmosphere and healing properties of well and it’s otherworldly holy water it is said to possess.
Six facts about Holywell
- In 1980, Holywell and its many residents were visited by the respected heir to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales.
- St. Winefride’s Well and Chapel is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales and is classed as a grade 1 listed building.
- Holywell is the fifth largest town in Flintshire behind Connah's Quay, Flint, Buckley and Mold.
- Holywell's name is taken from the town's leading trademark, St. Winefride's Well.
- Holywell Junction Railway Station ran from the 1848 to the 1970. Although the railway station was initially closed to members of the public in 1966, continuing to transport goods only, the railroad closed entirely due to the effects of the Breeching Axe (Breeching Cuts).
- Holywell is one of Flintshire's "ancient parishes"
Find out more about Holywell
Unlike Mold, Flint or Hawarden, Holywell possesses no castle but instead, you will find the ruins of a once great convent known to be Basignwerk Abbey. Like St. Winefride’s Well, Basignwerk Abbey is a frequently visited site of pilgrimage and an important monument of historic value, adding further depth and mystic to Holywell’s extensive past.
Although in ruin, Basignwerk Abbey is still open to the public and can be explored any day of the week for free with no prior booking or arrangements required.
Alongside Basignwerk Abbey, within the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, are several other fantastic Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM) accompanied by peaceful woodlands, calming reservoirs, secluded waterways and mills overflowing with beauty, anecdotes and a foregoing history just waiting to be uncovered. This 70 acre stretch of luscious green grass, rolling hills and fascinating finds follows the course of the Holywell Stream, providing visitors with a beautiful naturistic walk that can be completed by a spot of fishing at the Flour Mill Pool.
Furthermore, Greenfield Valley Heritage and Country Park also houses various cafes, gift shops and visitor centres with an ample museum full of surprises. Here, you and your loved ones can spend the day away exploring, learning and making memories with the help of copious farm animals, historic constructions, machinery and a reconstructed Victorian school, moved to its current location stone by stone.
Why not venture out into the wild by undergoing the North Wales Pilgrims Way. This inspiring 130 mile walk from Holywell to Bardsey Island will take over a 1-2 week to explore and complete, and will afford you the opportunity to discover ancient churches and constructions paired hand in hand with views and panoramas of unforgettable sights and scenery. Journey through enchanting forests, winding paths over rushing rivers, through new, intriguing villages and towns and meander along beautiful mountain ranges, sandy shores and placid coastal paths to rejuvenate the soul by taking in the fresh Welsh air and the stunning beauty of the outdoor scenery.
To find out more about this once in a lifetime opportunity, visit the official North Wales Pilgrims Way website.
Visitors can also tour and traverse the many amenities present within the town itself. From a wide range of shops, taverns, hotels, leisure centres, restaurants and cafes, for example, the ever-popular Tea Rooms at the Pet Cemetery and The Fox Inn, there is something for everyone.
Caerwys is a rural Town situated on a wide plateau overlooking the Clwydian Range in the beautiful open countryside. With local quirky, useful and attractive businesses on every corner accompanied by beautiful areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), Caeryws is a hearty, welcoming town awaiting your visit.
Bailey Hill, now known as Mold Castle, is a monumental site located in the town of Mold, Flintshire. With an interesting history, this Park is under reconstruction to embrace its past and make it more accessible to visitors. With stunning views, nature and winding paths, it’s a great distraction after a shopping trip.
More Places of Interest
You will find Buckley situated in the east of Flintshire only 6 miles from the English border. With the towns location resting on a high point of hills which extends between the valley of the River Alyn and the narrow plain beside the Dee Estuary, the spectacular Clwydian Range can be seen to the West too.
Mold is the fascinating county town of Flintshire located along the River Alyn. The town is known for it’s backdrop of scenic beauty that includes, the awe inspiring Clwydian Range. Historic elements include; Mold Castle, St. Mary’s Church and Bailey Hill.
Buckley Heritage Trail
The Buckley Heritage Trail is an easy walk around the fascinating hamlet of Buckley. This charming trail starts at Etna Park on Globe Way and guides you along winding roads past open water, conservation areas and vast forestry until you reach your final destination. Partnered with scenic views of the towering Welsh mountains and the glistening valley below, this stunning trail is one for the to-do list!