Bonc yr Hafod Country Park covers nearly 90 acres of woodland and grassland. The park lies on the site of Hafod Colliery and has a large hill, known locally as ‘picnic mountain’.
Along with Stryt Las Park, the park forms part of the Johnstown Special Area of Conservation. This strong protective status is due to the population of Great Crested Newts that live in and around the park. Great Crested Newts are rare across their home of Northern Europe, but the low lying areas around Wrexham are a stronghold for these amphibians.
Hafod is a park rich in other types of wildlife too, including: dragonflies, grass snakes and birds such as buzzards, kestrels and skylarks. In the summer the park is full of wildflowers, including the common spotted orchid and birds foot trefoil, while in the autumn the woodland is full of fungi.
There is a car parking area off Hafod Road, on the eastern edge of the park, which links to the network of surfaced footpaths within the park.
Dogs are welcome at Bonc yr Hafod but must be kept under control at all times. Please remember that failure to pick up dog waste is a serious offence with fines in operation.
Hafod low level circular walk
Apart from a small hill at the beginning of the route this is a level walk around the base of the hill. The walk takes you past the Great Crested Newt breeding ponds, wildflower meadows and through woodland. The directions below assume that you are starting from the car park. If you wish to do the trail from the Gwalia Road entrance, start reading at point 4 and then continue the instructions from point 1.
1. Leave the far end of the car park and follow the path up the hill, before taking the first turning on the right.
2. The path goes through oak woodland before dropping down and eventually emerging onto a stone surfaced track. Follow the track alongside ponds and ditch which are breeding sites for the Great Crested Newt. The railway line to the right carries the Shrewsbury to Chester line.
3. Veer left before the large gate and follow the path past the pond on your right, and straight across the main path.
4. On reaching the concrete road turn left. Look out for the railway tracks in the road, which use to carry coal from the mine. The concrete road soon turns into a path, follow the path back to the car park.
The heritage and nature trail
The route includes a series interpretation panels and carved oak posts, themed on the parks mining heritage and natural history. Following surfaced footpaths the trail leads you to the summit, with a large stone sun dial sculpture of a miner, and wonderful countryside views.
The directions start from the car park. If you wish to do the trail from the Gwalia Road entrance walk past the pond and up the wide track to the second turning on your left. Follow the directions below from point 3 onwards.
1. Leave the far end of the car park and follow the path up the hill, taking the second turning on the left.
2. Follow this wide flat track past the first path which goes up the hill on the right, until you reach the second path on the right.
3. Turn off the wide track onto this path and go up the hill and take the second turning on the right.
4. This path will take you up the hill until you reach the summit of Bonc yr Hafod.
5. Once you have seen the views and the sculpture, continue past the summit and take the path straight ahead which zig –zags down a steep bank turning right onto the path at the bottom of the bank.
6. If you wish to return to the Gwalia entrance of the park follow this path down the hill and take the second turning on the right. Follow this wide track until you reach the entrance, otherwise just follow the path down to the car park.
Horse riding and cycling
Responsible horse riders and cyclists are welcome at any place on the 5 miles of paths in this country park, but horse-riders will need to collect keys at Tŷ Mawr Country Park for access (contact information). You will need to also leave a £5 deposit (refundable) and complete / sign a simple form.
The hill is made from mining waste dug up from the coal shafts and tunnels deep underground. The mine once employed over 1,900 local people, mainly from the villages of Rhos, Ponciau and Johnstown. The pit was closed in 1968.
In the mid-1990’s the spoil heap from the mine was landscaped and the soil improved to allow trees to be planted and grassland to grow. The success of the reclamation of the spoil heap is reflected in the diverse and beautiful habitats present at Hafod.
Bonc yr Hafod Country Park
Wrexham LL14 6HF
Take the Plassey turning off the A483 and heading towards Johnstown. Take the first turning right for 'Denis of Ruabon'. The Hafod car park is a little further along on the left.