The Info List - Moel Famau

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MOEL FAMAU (or Moel Fama) is the highest hill within the Clwydian Range , formerly Flintshire
Range, on the boundary between Denbighshire
and Flintshire
in Wales. The hill, which also gives its name to the Moel Famau
Moel Famau
country park , has been classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1985. It is also surrounded by several well-preserved Iron-Age hill forts .

A northern part of the Offa\'s Dyke footpath , one of the UK's most popular National Trails , crosses the summit of Moel Famau
Moel Famau
and the Jubilee Tower.


* 1 Name * 2 Country Park * 3 Walking * 4 Jubilee Tower * 5 External links * 6 References


Although historical sources attest to a variety of spellings (such as Moel Famma, Moel Vamma and Moel Fammau), the only two in common use today are Moel Famau
Moel Famau
and Moel Fama. The first word moel is a common Welsh place-name element meaning 'a bare hill'. The meaning and preferred spelling of the second element are less certain.

Attestations from as early as the fourteenth century consistently show that the second element ends in –a. This conforms to the local pronunciation (Welsh: ) and is 'the preferred spelling', according to the Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. The meaning of the 'Fama' is somewhat uncertain, but it is probably a lenited form of a personal name , 'Mama'.

The alternative form 'Moel Famau' is a result of an 'antiquarian perception' first attested in the eighteenth century that the second element was the lenited form of the common noun mamau ('mothers'). If that were the case, however, the early forms in –a would be very difficult to explain. Nevertheless, the form 'Moel Famau' is common today and it is still sometimes said to mean 'Mothers' Hill'.


The park, which covers an area over 3 square miles (8 km2), is managed by Denbighshire
Countryside Service which is responsible for the heather moorland , dry stone walls and access paths, and provides information and facilities for visitors. The area is home to wildlife such as red grouse , European stonechat
European stonechat
and Eurasian curlew
Eurasian curlew

The Forestry Enterprise manage the neighbouring forest as a sustainable conifer plantation for timber production and tourism.


Path from Bwlch Penbarras towards the summit of Moel Famau.

Numerous well-maintained trails of varying difficulty can be used to reach the summit. Two of the most popular, easiest paths start from the southern car parks within Bwlch Penbarras between Moel Famau
Moel Famau
and Foel Fenlli
Foel Fenlli
about 1.25 miles (2.01 km) from the summit. The northern route begins from the Iron-Age hill fort at Moel Arthur. A footpath to the top of Moel Famau
Moel Famau
also begins from the village of Cilcain .

Much of Wales and North West England
North West England
can be seen from the summit of Moel Famau. This includes parts of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Cheshire and Merseyside
. On clear days, Snowdonia
can be seen to the west, the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
to the north, and to the east Liverpool
, Chester
, Winter Hill , and the Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower


The tower, which was built to commemorate the golden jubilee of George III in 1810, was designed by Thomas Harrison of Chester. It was designed like an Egyptian obelisk with three tiers. Although the foundation stone was laid in 1810 by George Kenyon, 2nd Baron Kenyon , the tower was never completed due to a lack of funds. In 1862, a major storm brought down the incomplete tower. The remaining upper part of the structure was demolished for safety reasons leaving just the base. Most of the rubble was removed from the site; smaller stonework was reused by local farmers for dry stone walls.

In October 2010, a celebration was observed by local communities, in both Flintshire
and Denbighshire, to mark the 200th anniversary of the laying of the Jubilee Tower's foundation stone. An artistic light and laser installation by a local artist was commissioned by the local authorities to illuminate the tower.