The waterfall at Dyserth is astonishing. Fed by the waters of the River Ffyddion and the huge flow of Ffynnon Asa, the waterfall falls some 70 feet to a plunge pool, before flowing onwards past two giant walls of rock towards Rhuddlan, joining the River Clwyd west of the town. Those two huge walls beside the waterfall serve to remind us to the industrial use with which the falls were applied. It is likely that these parallel walls, a few feet apart supported an enormous water wheel, powered by the diverted flow from above. Now they form the start of a path way leading to a river walk above the falls, the flight of steps giving you a real sense of their imposing size.
During Dr Johnson’s visit in 1774, the waterfall was dry. Such was Dr Johnson’s reputation, however, it seems the flow was temporarily reinstated, and he witnessed the waterfall reborn, describing it as, ‘a very striking cataract.’ Thomas Pennant visited a little later, but was less successful in seeing the falls themselves, describing a, ‘water-fall in the deep and rounded hollow of a rock, finely darkened with ivy, once gave additional beauty to this spot; but of late the diverting of waters to a mill, has robbed the place of this elegant variation’, which suggests he saw little but a memory of the once magnificent flow.
Once supporting an enormous water wheel, these two stone walls now lead the way towards a beautiful river walk.
With the demise of lead mines at the end of the 19th century, it seems the waters returned to the Dyserth falls, and the tourists began to arrive. Certainly, the number of postcards from the area suggest that a considerable industry was created around the falls. Still, the tourists came for a reason, and there is no doubting the wonder of the falls, a fascinating example of how the beauty and power of nature was at times a resource to be exploited by our ancestors.