Nercwys Forest, or Coed Nercwys in Welsh, is a large conifer woodland in the hills above Mold, with historical remains, a dried lake and tons of wildlife throughout X miles of footpaths – including some fantastic circular trails.
Historically a heather moorland, a conifer forest was planted at Nercwys in 1965 as part of the post-war effort to become self-sufficient in timber as a nation. Since then, much work has gone into improving the forest for wildlife by creating more varied habitats within the plantation.
Patches of woodland have been cleared and thinned to create more grassy areas, attracting ground-nesting birds, flowers and butterflies.
The forest also features the remains of a Bronze Age Cairn along with remnants of Victorian industrial lead mining.
The main circular walk takes around an hour uninterrupted, though you can make this slightly shorter by using the main track through the middle of the forest for half of your journey.
The main track, shown above, runs from the north to south gates in a relatively straight line and is maintained to a standard such that logging vehicles can use it.
The circular trail is often using for mountain biking or horse riding, though is mostly used by walkers. There’s usually some muddy bits, but it’s generally a pretty good standard throughout and you can usually get away without wearing boots (although you should if you’ve got them!).
Other rights of way and unofficial paths exist through the forest, though take care, as they often become overgrown and impassable in places, and it’s easy to become lost or disorientated.
Nercwys Forest offers multiple mountain biking routes, though all are shared spaces with walkers and animals, so be vigilant.
The main circular trail has been rated ‘green’ or easy, so should be suitable for beginner cyclists and most people in good health, without any particularly steep climbs or challenging terrain.
Llyn Ochin was once a small lake and is now a small upland blanket bog, with an occasional little pool of open water in the middle.
This marshy area is home to newts, dragonflies and cotton grass. It’s found just off the main circular path, near the south-west corner. A signed detour runs parallel to the path for a short distance, along the shores of the old lake, before rejoining the main path.
Bryn Alyn Link
One popular walk begins in the north car park and runs through Nercwys Forest before crossing open farmland to the west to reach the limestone pavement at Bryn Alyn.
Getting to Nercwys Forest
Can you get there on public transport?
The number 2 bus from Mold to Ruthin stop at Pant Du Quarry is the closest you’ll get to Nercwys Forest on public transport, which still leaves you just over a mile from the forest, around a twenty-minute walk.
Nestled in the Clwydian Range hills, the forest is surrounded by serene countryside, with great potential for planning a walking route that begins on public transport in the morning then works back towards Mold through the day. But for shorter walks around the forest, you’ll probably want to access the place by car.
Nercwys has a free car park at the main north gate, plus a smaller area with room for a couple of cars off the lane at the south gate. There’s usually loads of room, except for the sunniest of weekends in the summer, but even then you’ll find room to squeeze in along the lanes nearby.
Nercwys has a couple of benches dotted around along with a bin and some maps and signage by the main north entrance.
There are no toilets and no lighting.