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History of Plas Power Woods

The woodland contains a number of features of archaeological and historical interest

Offa’s Dyke
A section of Offa’s Dyke runs across the Clywedog Valley through Plas Power Woods. This part of the Dyke is one of the most impressive and well preserved along the entire length of the structure and is designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It comprises a large bank (up to 2m/6 1/2ft high), with a wide ditch on its western side.

Tree carving of King Offa, by chainsaw artist Simon O'Rourke (Photo: WTML)

Built around 785AD by Offa, King of Mercia (now the Midlands) the Dyke follows the border between England and Wales and is the largest ancient monument in the UK. It is believed to be either a defensive structure or a boundary marker. A 2012 sculpture of King Offa by chainsaw artist Simon O’Rourke can be seen in the wood.

Plas Power Estate
Much of the woodland was once part of the Plas Power Park Estate, named after the Power family who owned it from 1620. The estate had a number of owners between 1690 and 1816, when it was taken over by the Fitzhugh family.

Big Wood Weir (Western Weir)
This is a high, vertical, stone-faced weir on a slight curve. It is a listed structure and was probably built in the mid-18th century by Wilkinson’s ironmasters of Bersham to divert water into a leat and to a coal mine.

Plas Power Park Wall
In 1858, work began to build a wall to keep the public off the Plas Power Estate. This angered the local miners and, each night, a party would dismantle the section built that day. Eventually, the estate owners called in the Wrexham militia to guard it. Nowadays, the sandstone wall is a Grade II listed structure.

(Photo: WTML)

Other features
These include the ruins of two crofts, a miller’s house, an 18th century tramway route, and Wilkinson’s waggonway, along which horses pulled wagons loaded with limestone for the blast furnaces of Bersham Ironworks, now a heritage centre adjacent to the site.

The Grade II Listed bridge next to Bersham Lodge was built during the 1860s and is a fine example of decorative cast-iron work. The railings running along the Trust’s boundary are also an important landscape feature.

The Woodland Trust acquired the woods in 1988. Part of this once light and airy ancient woodland had become known as the Black Wood as conifers, originally planted to provide timber for local industry, had blocked out the sunlight. We’re now gradually thinning these to allow more light to reach the woodland floor and help restore it to its former glory through natural regeneration.

Plas Power is named after the Power family who owned the estate between 1620 and 1690. ‘Plas’ means mansion or palace, and ‘nant’ means stream in the Welsh language.