Dusting off the cobwebs with a Winter family walk to Alyn Waters, Wrexham
After MANY days of overindulgence it was time for our family to get out of the house. After the excess of Christmas, we decided to opt for a low budget day out with a Winter walk at Alyn Waters, Wrexham.
Alyn Waters is Wrexham’s largest country park, split in two areas located either side of the River Alyn. The Llay side of the park was not visited by Clued in today but we did visit in 2018 and so have outlined the facilities later in this review. Today, we opted to fully explore the Gwersyllt side. There are car parking facilities (pay and display), a Visitor Centre with café open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, walks alongside the River Alyn, a range of other walks through wooded or grassland areas, and a number of natural wood play areas for the children to burn off energy.
After studying the map which highlighted a number of colour coded short and long circular walks, we opted for the walk alongside the River Alyn. There are 6 coloured signposted walk options between the two sides of the park, some are unsurfaced so are great for ‘treasure hunts’ and older children, and there are surfaced walks available too making a walk in Alyn Waters a pleasant option with young children or if taking a pram or a wheelchair. The routes have been professionally surveyed to measure how many calories are burnt, and the routes can be downloaded if required.
Fancy a family bike ride to put those Christmas presents to the test? No problem as bike routes are also highlighted. Starting at the visitor centre there is a 2 mile cycleway and sculpture trail which offers safe off road cycling for families. There is also a Pedal Power Project based in the park, aiming to make cycling more accessible for children and adults who require additional support or have additional needs. The park is also a specially designed orienteering course and such packs area available in the Visitors Centre. Maps for walks and cycling routes are written in both English and Welsh. Therefore, there are plenty of options available for families who want to get fit together in a fun way.
In the Summer, the parkland is a great place to explore the wildlife including rare plants, kestrals, foxes, newts, bats, and kingfishers. However, we visited in Winter so all we pretty much saw was mud, mud and more mud which our two year old absolutely loved! Even in the Winter, the parkland offers a great space to let little legs run around and explore and of course the kids will squeal with excitement when told they can get their wellies out and go squelching in the mud. There are also a range of sculptures along the woodland walk to spark some discussions and help give the kids something to look out for.
There are a number of picturesque spots along the river walk, and there are a number of places where you can climb down and either let the pooch go for a swim, or let the kids go splishing and a splashing in their wellies. The currents were a little fast for us to let our girl do this today but when we have visited in the past, the kids have had a fabulous time wading through the water, standing on the pebbles and playing with their canine friends.
We finished off our family day out at the natural style play areas. Although many of the facilities are aimed at older children, there is something for everyone and our pre-schooler gave the older children’s facilities a good go to be fair with additional support of course from ourselves. Facilities included a number of wooden and chain obstacles making up a fantastic obstacle course on one side of the kids area. She had a great time walking up the steep planks, having a go at the monkey bars, and practicing her balance on the balance beams. In the other area, there was a little sand/gravel digger, toddler swings, large wooden climbing frame for the older children, fallen tree to climb and more. Our toddlers favourite activities were the musical facilities, bashing the large Xylophone whilst singing Old McDonald had a farm, and using her body on the ‘squeaky boards’ which made a noise each time she walked to either end of each plank. The other kids had a fabulous time hunting for twigs to defend their ‘castle’ which is a large wooden playframe designed like a little house with ropes, ladders, slide and a chain pulley system to collect and dispense sand.
We didn’t use the equipment today but on the Gwersyllt side of the Park, families can choose to opt for the Trim Trail whereby they can use a range of fun exercise equipment aimed at improving strength, balance and co-ordination.
The Llay side of the park gives families the opportunity to explore the large nature reserve and offers a fabulous large and open space for kids (and the pooch) to run around. The terrain is largely flat and paved, making it a fantastic choice when considering little legs and pushchair or wheelchairs. Just like on the Gwersyllt side, various coloured routes are signposted depending on time and fitness level. There is also a childrens park which, when we visited a few years ago, consisted of slide, see saw and round a bout.
You can leave the Gwersyllt side and take a walk to the Llay side. The walk isn’t too far but there is quite a steep hill to navigate so families with little legs may decide to opt to return to the car park and drive. However, please see note regarding car park near the end of this review. We didn’t explore the Llay side today but when we walked from the Llay side to the Gwersyllt side in the past, it wasn’t brilliantly signposted so its best to download the map from the Alyn Waters page on Wrexham councils website first. We were a little confused at first until we realised that yes you are right to leave the park and go on the country roads before re-entering near the River Alyn.
Both sides of the park offer a pay and display car park/parking areas and at the time of our visit, it only cost £1 to park. We don’t mind paying such a small fee since this grants you all day access but if parking on the Gwersyllt side with young children in tow, we would recommend to pay via the JustPark app as due to the car park area being small, you often park a few minutes away from the pay station which to be honest was inconvenient with a toddler walking several minutes to the pay station, several minutes back to the car, then the same distance back to the park entrance. We are also a little disappointed that if you decide not to walk to the other side and drive instead, you have to pay and display again (confirmed by staff in the visitor centre) as despite being the same country park, just a different side, apparently the tickets aren’t transferrable which is a shame.
We really enjoyed our day out here today and can’t wait to really explore all the park has to offer in the Summer when we can take advantage of the cool water and go on the hunt for some mini beasts. However, in the meantime, we enjoyed a pleasant and relaxed walk and a good play session on the play facilities. If looking for things to do with kids in Wrexham, North Wales on a budget, you cant go far wrong with a visit to Alyn Waters.
*Free family day out in Wrexham, North wales but car parking charges apply.
*From 2nd Jan 2020 the boardwalk for the River Alyn circular walk is closed for maintenance. The path is still open up to this point.
*Dogs are permitted in all areas with the exception of the Visitors Centre.
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Dont forget that Pips Pops Tots is back at Ginger Monkey Play this Thursday.
This is a great class for preschoolers to get stuck in and make some incredibly tasty treats.
Please click on image link to purchase tickets.
Alyn Waters address:
Mold Rd, Gwersyllt, Wrexham LL11 4AG