“Why have you come to Mold?” asked a local “there’s not much to attract people….”
Ignoring the largest street market in North wales, and impressive church, Theatr Clwyd and the replica of the largest piece of prehistoric goldwaork ever to be found in Britain (the original is in the British Museum), there is always Bailey Hill.
Covered with trees, the mound at the far end of High Street, is easily missed but is the site of one of the earliest Norman castles in Wales.
Dating from around 1100, it was one of the largest castles built in the Alyn valley by the Normans to consolidate their hold on Wales. The motte was constructed on a glacial mound and the flatter areas below it became baileys, or fortified yards. Buildings are thought to have been wood as there is no evidence of stone buildings.
The site changed hands many times as power fluctuated between the Welsh and Norman-English. The castle was no longer needed in the C14th and by the time of the Civil War in the mid C17th , only the abandoned earthworks were left.
The site was purchased by Mold Council in 1870 and turned into a public park, with tennis courts and a bowling green. The area had been getting run down and a Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been used to regenerate Bailey Hill by promoting its historical importance and also as a green space that can be enjoyed by all the community.
Entry is through a splendid double gateway by the war memorial and there are information boards here. The white cottage had been the custodian’s cottage. The outer Bailey which had been used as tennis courts is now a small green area surrounded by mature trees with glimpses of the Clwydian Hills.
A steep curving path leads up to the middle bailey. This had been levelled and turned into a bowling green, with a pavilion on a raised terrace at the end. Now it is another green area with a few seats on the terrace.
Stone steps give access to the top of the motte, a rough area surrounded by mature trees.
Don’t miss the Gorsedd Stone Circle the the north of the mound which was built for the 1923 National Eisteddford. (It could have been the inspiration the Stone Table in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe….)
Bailey Hill is popular with locals as a free space to walk and enjoy. It is open all hours and worth searching out by the visitor too.