Afonwen, which translates literally as ‘White River’, is a tiny village south of Caerwys, situated on the old 17th century Chester to Holyhead Road, and close to the River Wheeler. Much of its history and myth is muddled up with that of Caerwys, and much of its industry was worked by Caerwys folk.
Yet, there remains an identity to this little village, even if it is inextricably linked to larger near neighbour. The earliest paper mill was situated on the river, opening at the end of the 18th century, and can be clearly seen on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1871. Those buildings have now been incorporated into the popular Afonwen Craft and Antique Centre. A second opened in 1822, again visible on the map below, which in later versions is shown to be a cement works. The remains of Caerwys Station, closed in 1962, was actually built in Afonwen on the Mold-Denbigh Railway, which opened in 1869.
It is known that Afonwen was the home of a white witch until fairly recently, and indeed the area has been known for its supernatural, witchly activity since antiquity. Possibly best avoided by trick-or-treaters…