Short walk along the Wales coast path

Distance: 6 miles/ 9 kilometres

Start: Flint Castle SJ247733

Finish: Greenfield Dock SJ200780

Maps: OS Landranger 117 Chester & Wrexham; OS Explorer 265 Clwydian Range

A refreshing fairly easy walk from the evocative ruins of Flint Castle round Flint Point then alongside the widening Dee Estuary, to Greenfield Dock. You can either retrace your steps back to Flint Castle, enjoying quite different views or there is a good bus service

along the A548 back to Flint.

The walk

From Castle Dyke Street in front of Flint Castle, walk up the clear path towards the castle and turn left just before the entrance. Descend the grass bank to a small car park beside woodland then take the path on the right between trees, walking past the castle on the right.

Bear right where the path forks (or detour left uphill to the viewpoint) walking alongside the coast, enjoying the wide views across the river and upstream, with the power station chimneys and Flintshire Bridge on the skyline. Continue on this natural path meandering through scrub woodland.

Continue straight across an access drive, onto a higher path along the woodland edge, soon walking with the estuary on the right again. Follow this path round the small headland and alongside a creek to the former Flint Dock.

In the early 19th century this peaceful inlet was a busy dock exporting lead, coal and chemicals and importing timber, slates and other products. In one year over 300 ships, including six from America, docked at the port. In 1840, it is recorded that there were 20 boats waiting to be offloaded at Flint Dock at any one time.

Follow path to the road then turn right onto a wide access road, signed Flint Point. Where the access road bears left to offices, continue

ahead on the path, now walking with the creek on your right.

At path fork, bear right out to Flint Point to enjoy the wide views, then follow the white path meandering through scrub, with the estuary to the right. Continue on this path as it bears left, slightly inland, and passing green huts on the right. Ignore a path joining from the left, continuing on main path bearing right and walking back towards the coast.

Just after the main path swings inland, turn right onto a narrower path and right again at a T-junction. You are now on Panton Cop. Turn left and follow the narrow raised path along the top of the sea wall for 1.5km, enjoying the wide views across the estuary to the Wirral

and Hilbre Island.

'Cop' is a local word meaning the top of a sea bank. The sea wall was originally built in the1800s, enclosing the marsh to create grazing

land and providing land on which the railway was built in 1848.

Follow the path as it bends inland then bears right, running alongside the railway. Continue as it meanders across open ground. At the end of this path, go through a gate and walk across a parking area to Station Gutter, where a river outlet joins the estuary. A panel explains that this was once an important wharf. Cross the bridge over the gutter, signed to Bettisfield, and follow the pale surfaced path ahead, which

runs along a small embankment.

Continue along the clear path, walking towards the grassy hill ahead. At a footpath junction at the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the path round the edge of the saltmarsh (not signed with the official Coast Path waymarkers at time of writing). Ignore the first kissing gate on the left, then follow the path through a second kissing gate. At a path fork beside a bench, take the left-hand fork and continue on path, gently climbing up the hill. Where the surface path ends turn left and walk across the grass to Bettisfield viewpoint heading for the impressive metal dragon, which is one of a series of beacons along the coast.

Detour: to The Holy or to avoid the climb to the viewpoint. From the path junction by the bench, continue on the lower path above the

estuary and follow it round to the little fishing harbour, known as 'The Holy'. To rejoin the official route, either retrace your steps to the summit or follow the access road from the harbour back inland.

From Bettisfield viewpoint pass the beacon on your left and follow the wide grassy path down the hillside, towards an old brick building, which was the colliery engine house. At the bottom of the hill, go through a gate and take right-hand path fork, signed Milwr Tunnel. Continue ahead where the path joins a road by big boulders, ignoring the access. Go through a gap by a metal barrier along a surfaced road. Follow the road through wasteland, crossing a bridge over a gushing stream of clear water.

Follow the concrete path that bears right, then turn left through another kissing gate, signed Coast Path, and continue along the surfaced path. Eventually go through a small metal gate and, with saltmarsh on your right, follow the clear path ahead for about a kilometre. Take the first turning right onto a wide tarmac track which hugs the coast. Follow as it bends round to the left along the coast until it reaches

the car park at Greenfield Dock. The dock is still used by fishing boats and by cocklers but was once a busy port, serving the copper mills of Greenfield Valley, and also bringing passengers from the Wirral and Liverpool to St Winefride's Well in nearby Holywell.

After exploring Greenfield Dock, you can either retrace your steps along the coast to Flint Castle or, to return to Flint by bus, turn left away from the coast and walk along the pavement beside a minor road to the junction with A548. Regular buses run along this road.

Extract taken from Official Guide Wales Coast Path: North Wales Coast by Lorna Jenner, published by Alyn Books