Gwernaffield & Pantymwyn
These pretty little villages, barely a mile north west of Mold, are so close to one another that it is barely discernable as to where one ends and the other begins. Much of the history of the two revolves around the lead that lies beneath them and the limestone in the hills. Today, a tremendous network of water worn caves twists through the earth beneath, excavated into by generations of lead mining, including the Ogof Hesp at over a mile in length, the Hen Ffynhonau and the wonderfully named, Ogof Nadolig (Christmas Cave).
The Romans were quick to exploit the lead in North East Wales, and did so at Gwernaffield and Pantymwyn. However, it was not until the 17th century that the local landowners renewed their interest in the white spar, and not until the industrial innovations of the late 18th century that large scale mining took place, enhanced by the development of efficient steam pumping equipment in the early 19th century. Limestone has been quarried here since the early 19th century and gravel from nearby Rhual was largely used in the construction of the Mersey Road Tunnels.
This connection with Merseyside goes further. The opening of the Mold-Denbigh railway in 1869 brought tourism to the area. Holidaymakers from the Wirral, Liverpool and Cheshire availed themselves of the tranquillity of the area, especially that of nearby Loggerheads. The Crosvile bus service from Birkenhead in the 1920s further increased the number of tourists. Even today, caravan owners from Birkenhead and Liverpool still visit the area, with generations of the same families returning year after year. The area saw an influx of evacuees from Merseyside during the Second World War, saw of whom were so taken with the area that they never returned, marrying locals and settling down.
Today, while the giant quarry at Cefn Mawr continues to provide limestone for the cement works at Padeswood, the area continues to be an oasis of tranquillity.