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Good lord, it was an effort. I thought I'd never find it, but it was there, of course. It made one wonder as to the devotion and effort of those that had visited it in ages past. After an hour of wading through woodland and scrub bush, a cacophony of bird song and not a person to be seen, it was there - within the valley, at the base of limestone outcropping. And it was wonderful. It was beautiful. Utterly serene.




Essentially, a collection of springs emerging from the limestone outcroppings to form the rather wonderful Afon Mihangel, the setting could not feel more holy - and more so for the effort to scramble down to it. By far, the most rewarding holy well I have visited thus far, if only for the fact that without pomp, it was utterly moving.




And, of course, on the journey back, I found that had I taken a right at the old golf club, instead of a left, it wouldn't have been half as hard an effort to find. Still, I have no regrets - always take a left if you have a choice...

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Updated: Apr 29

I love hillforts, me. I used to live close to Cadbury Castle in South Somerset and I was taken absolutely with the mystery of them. See, nobody really knew what they were for, and to be honest, they're still trying to figure them out. It's great...these big old hills, with their ramparts of varrying size, number and depth and with nothing but shadows of a presence within them. Great stuff. I went to university to study them, making the mistake of thinking that what I really wanted was to understand them. But, who doesn't like a mystery? Historians and archaeologists try to puzzle them out, I tried to puzzle them out, as if you're going to thank us for it.





See, hillforts, all along the border between England and Wales, the West Country and yes, yes, elsewhere, are like empty vessels within which are poured the waters of myth and legend. Of course, Cadbury Castle not far from Yeovil in Somerset is Camelot. Yes it is, and you won't convince me otherwise, because I don't want to hear it. It's Camelot and Arthur rode down from its ramparts to victory at Mount Badon, and rests still beneath its fallen walls. And when I climbed that hill, I was climbing into the past, I was climbing into Camelot. I went full John Boorman (and yes, Excalibur is by far the best Arthurian film adaption ever made, and Nicol Williamson is Merlin, I don't care what his psychiatrist says).





But what's this? Moel Arthur. A hillfort in the Clywdians which bears his name? Well, that's just super. Now, I have to do some thinking, right? What's this you say? Excalibur lies somewhere beneath the heather? No, you don't say. Treasure buried, it's position betrayed only by moonbeams? A Grey Lady haunting the ramparts?






Moel Arthur, Ladies and Gentlemen. A miracle of heather and mystery.

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As the Lockdown starts to ease, I made my way to Halkyn in the company of Red Dragon Ventures, better known as Dave to me. Halkyn is his turf, and so I placed myself in his capable hands as we wandered around a windswept Halkyn Mountain, amongst the pock marked turf and curious cairn caps of the long abandoned lead mining shafts.




And no visit would have been complete without a wander through the Old Churchyard, which I must admit I was rather pleased was done in full daylight - quite the most evocative of places, and I imagine a place of childhood dares.




And, of course, I couldn't help myself. I had to have a look at the remains of the churchyard cross, embedded into a butress of the new church, built as a replacement for the one knocked down in order to improve the view from nearby Halkyn Castle.




Still, don't tell anyone I said this, but none of this was as impressive as the Bacon Cheese Burger I had from Billy Jean's Cafe just down the road. Dave knows where the best caff's are...

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