Welcome to the Holywell a Walking and Pilgrimage Centre in North Wales
Holywell is an ancient market town in Flintshire on the banks of the River Dee. It gets its name from the Holy Well of St Winefride. According to legend during the 7th Century Winefride refused the advances of Prince Caradoc who cut off her head in anger. Her head rolled down the hill to the bottom where a spring started. She was restored to life by her uncle St Beuno.
The Well is believed to have healing properties and has been a place of pilgrimage ever since. It is believed that Henry V made two pilgrimages to the well. The first before the Battle of Agincourt and the second afterwards. Magaret Beaumont, mother of Henry VII built St Winefirde' Chapel over the Well
The well feeds the stream which runs into the River Dee at Greenfield Dock. This stream, which was far more powerful before a tunnel collapse in 1917, was used as a source of power for a series of mills. This development started in the 18th Century and continued until the 20th. The Greenfield Valley
was a cradle of the Industrial Revolution The mills are now ruins and part of the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park. Also in the valley is Basingwerk Abbey. This is a 12th Century Cistercian Abbey. Entrance to the Abbey, which is owned and maintained by CADW, is free.
The town is centred around its “closed” High Street. This is now pedestrianised during the day. There are many interesting old buildings on this and the other streets off it. More information about the fascinating mix of religious, industrial and social history which is Holywell can be found via the new two-and-a-half mile Holywell Heritage Trail which starts and ends in the town centre
Close to and above is Halkyn Mountain. This Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) is Common Land owned by the Duke of Westminster. The Common has been mined and quarried since Roman Times. There are still three active quarries on the Common. The main activity though is sheep grazing. The limestone was converted into lime which was used for agricultural purposes and lime washing houses. This was carried out in lime kilns. There are also wonderful views from the walks that go on to the Common.
Basingwerk Abbey is also the start point for two newly created long distance footpaths. The first one is Wat’s Dyke Way which is based on the 7th Century Dyke which goes for 61 miles to Llanymynech in Powys. The newer route is a 134 mile North Wales Pilgrims Way to Ynys Enllis (Bardsey Island). This route takes the pilgrim through the North Wales Countryside visiting places associated with St Beuno and St Winefride.
The All Wales Coast Path, which was opened in 2012, goes alongside the River Dee at Greenfield.
A Guide Book of 10 walks published by the commmittee. Other publications featuring walks in the Holywell area are also availabe Walks in many books and leaflets. These can be obtained from Holywell Library and Greenfield Valley Information centre. Another source is Pennant Group
Holywell Walkers are Welcome Committee is supported by Holywell Town Council and Holywell Rambling Club