Nant Mill is one of those places I’m tempted not to tell anybody about because it’s just so perfect! How I’ve spent over 25 years in Cheshire and only learnt about its existence till now I’ve no idea, but my parents were none the wiser when I took them with me on a recent trip, so perhaps it’s just a well kept secret! If you like walking along the river at Loggerheads then you’ll love this place, maybe even more….
Nestled in the Clywedog Valley, this walk is a small section of the longer Clywedog Valley Trail and is set in the ancient woods of Plas Power alongside the beautiful River Clywedog. You wouldn’t know it today, but in the time of the industrial revolution the Clywedog valley which stretches from Minera to Wrexham was full of mills and ironworks and Nant Mill itself still has its nineteenth century corn mill, but happily nature has now reclaimed it for us to enjoy.
First things first, whatever you do, bring wellies and waterproof trousers, the main perk of this walk is playing in the River Clywedog. Personally (as with most walks I go on nowadays) I looked like I was about to hit the slopes of Courchevel, think salopettes, wellies and a hefty ski jacket, because a) I hate the cold, b) I need to be prepared to save children when they inevitably fall over in the river and c) I absolutely love wading in rivers myself!
There is a small car park and a £1 fee (all day) is payable. There is a pay and display machine or you can pay via the JustPark app but with limited phone signal that’s not always easy.
The car park is situated right next to the river, but don’t do what we did on our first visit here, when upon arrival we let them get over excited playing in the ford with no waterproofs, resulting in soaking wet unhappy children! Get some walking in first before releasing them to the river!!
On the right hand side of the car park (facing the river) there is a small playground in which you could happily pass 10 mins so it makes a nice add on to the walk. As well as play equipment there is the original pigsty built by the family who ran Nant Mill toward the end of the nineteenth century complete with large pig sculptures and a small wildlife garden.
Right in front of the car park there are also several picnic benches and some hand carved wooden bird thrones for children to play on.
There is a visitor centre housed in the old corn mill, however I’ve never seen it open on any of my visits, I’m not sure whether this is permanently closed or just opens in the summer school holidays.
Facing this building, with the river behind you, turn right and walk up the road, again turn right, then a bit further on you’ll see the entrance to the woods (do not follow the road over the bridge). Essentially you then just follow the wooded path through the forest with the river at varying heights below you.
On the way, there are some wooden stag beetle and millipede sculptures they can sit and play on and also a little log maze, which we find break up the moaning on the walk/route march!
Eventually you’ll arrive at Big Wood Weir and a lovely set of stepping stones. We all spent a looooong time playing in the river here. The area below the weir is very slippery, so do take care here, although my children, as usual, ignored all my calls of ‘slow down you’re going to hurt yourself’…
The river at the top the weir is the most accessible and fun. Here you’ll find the stepping stones over which you’d be surprised just how many times your children will go back and to!
From here you can either cross at the stepping stones and walk back along the other side of the river through fields and woodland or for the more push chair friendly option we always just retrace our steps back to the car park.
Hope you love this little gem as much as we do. Take a picnic and enjoy. It’s simple fun and what a childhood should all be about.