Ffynnon Sara (Ffynnon Sarah on OS maps) gains its modern name from the woman who used to tend the well, living in a nearby cottage. The well itself was known for its powerful curing powers, notably that of cancer and rheumatism. After bathing in the waters of the well, those cured would often leave their crutches and walking sticks at the cottage as a sort of thanksgiving. Unfortunately, there is now no trace of the cottage, and it is reputed to have burnt down in the 1860’s. It was also said to have healed skin conditions, specifically eczema since there is a story told of a young bride to be with the condition, fearful that she would not be able to wear her wedding dress. Having bathed in the waters, she was quite healed. As was common, pins, sometimes bent, and other items such as pebbles were often dropped into its waters as a kind of votive offering.
Up until the 17th century the well was called, ‘Ffynnon Pyllau Perl’ (‘The Pearl Pool Well’). However, the well is traditionally associated with St Saeran, who founded a monastery at Llanynys in the 6th century. Ffynnon Sara is certainly on the pilgrim track between St Winifred’s Well in Holywell and St David’s tomb at his Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, and the relationship is of course not a coincidence.
The site fell into serious neglect until being rescued in the 1970s by Reverend JP Cooke. The well itself is a stone lined basin of some size, roughly 10 ft. by 6 ft. with steps leading down into the water. Water from the well can flow into the stream which runs behind it, but on viewing the water was quite shallow.
Today, as you might expect, it is a serene and secluded spot, perhaps more so than it would have been at the height of its popularity. A sign makes clear that the water is no longer to be trusted, which does rather spoil the ambiance, but the setting is delightful. Just off the Pilgrim Track, you are surrounded by the glories of the Clwyd Valley.
Situated on a back road between Clawdd newydd and Melin y Wig, the well is freely accessible but take care in parking since the road remains narrow.