Soon after St. Beuno’s Well, it is possible to turn right off the B4529 onto a minor road signposted to Denbigh and Trefnant: park about a mile further on, by the bridge over the river Clwyd. The house can be seen across the fields to the left, or reached by a marked track.
Bach-y-Graig (originally ‘Bachegraig’) is the earliest brick-built house in Wales. It was erected in 1567 by Sir Richard Clough, a Denbigh man who grew rich as a merchant in Antwerp Flanders), helped to found the London Royal Exchange, and was the second of the four husbands of Katharine of Berain, ‘the Mother of Wales’. Built by Flemish craftsmen in Flemish bricks, this Antwerp-style ‘prodigy house’ had a towering pyramid roof with tiered windows and soaring chimneys. So alien did the house look that locals attributed it to the Devil himself.
The main house, sadly, was demolished in 1817, but its gatehouse-cum-warehouse and other buildings still survive as a farm. Visitors can walk a nature trail through forty acres of ancient remanent woodland, part of a medieval royal forest hunted by Edward the Black Prince. The forest retains its original earthwork boundary banks and hosts several rare native plant species.
Apply at the farmhouse (Private). Entrance charge for trail.
Portrait of Sir Richard Clough: By permission of the centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies