We did this section out of sequence as a result of the guidebook suggesting accessing the start of the 870 mile WPC from Chester starting at the Cathedral. We subsequently switched back to South Wales. We started the walk around 1pm, having picked Lucy and Kim up from the train station, we deposited our luggage in a lovely AirBnb property and off we set.
The weather forecast was for a cloudy day with rain coming in around 5 pm.
There was a time when the Welsh were forbidden to enter Chester before sunrise or stay out after nightfall – but no such curfew applies today.
We made our way out of Chester via the Town Hall, said to have only three faces to the town clock, as the citizens of Chester didn’t feel the need to have one facing Wales, as they couldn’t be bothered to spare the Welsh the time of day. I am glad to say we found the people of Chester charming and very welcoming.
We carried on via Northgate, past Pemberton Tower and the Water Tower, it was easy to see that Chester is one of the best preserved Walled cities in Britain.
On reaching the Welcome to Wales sign – the walk is pretty straightforward onto a long straight stretch of a cycle path, beside the river Dee
An hour into the walk we were soaked to the skin – the rain came early. We gave up at the Jubilee Bridge or Blue bridge at Queensferry – called a taxi to get us back to our townhouse, looking more like the female cast of “Last of the Summer wine” than the cosmopolitan women we perceive ourselves to
The guide book had specified the four towers of the gas powered Connah’s Quay power station as a key landmark for the walk. Today was the first time we had been able to sight it through the gloom and rain.
So, back to the Jubilee Bridge, a bascule bridge, sparkling blue in the sunshine. This stretch of WCP is mainly dominated by industry, so from bridge to bridge we go Jubilee, then Hawarden railway Bridge, built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railways, originally as a swing bridge, but now welded solid!
The warmest temperature in Wales was recorded here 35.2 in August 1990. We could have done with a bit more warmth on a chilly February day!
The other bridge on the skyline is the Flintshire Bridge, the largest asymmetrical bridge in Britain, opened in 1998, and built at a cost of £55 million. A testament to the importance of the industrial Deeside and the impact on the Welsh economy.
The path continues past the Wepre riverside SSSI past the side of the Old Quay Pub. Much of the final leg of the walk is along the road, not very interesting, until we finally return to the marshes and come upon Fflint Castle, one of the first built by Edward 1 to control the Welsh. The design of this castle is very different from the rest of his domineering castle portfolio , in fact it is the only one of its kind in Britain.
The castle was burnt down by the custodian in 1294 to avoid it falling into the hands of Madog ap Llywelyn and his Welsh followers.
Lucy bursts into an extract from Henry IV as we approach the castle. Here Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt captured Richard 11 in 1399. “Fake news” is not a new phenomena – Richard’s reputation has been given a bad rap over time. If you were king from the age of ten years you would also make a few mistakes along the way. There is a legend associated with Richard’s dog – who apparently was loyal to Richard and never strayed from his side, but when Henry came to Flint the dog left Richard’s side and lay down at Henry’s feet – I think I might have taken a bit of liberty with the legend but you get the gist.