I have written before about the regeneration of former industrial landscapes as places of recreation, education and heritage. Here I present another example. Set around the early 19th-century corn mill – Nant Mill (built 1832) – Plas Power Woods has a visitor centre, picnic area, small playground, wildlife centre and walks along the steep, wooded Clywedog valley. The landscape is managed by the Woodland Trust.

I recently visited for the first time and explored the upper end of Plas Power woods. In future posts I hope to explore further south to Bersham, including Offa’s Dyke.

The Mill and its industrial landscape

The river was the power of this area’s industrial revolution from Minera down to and including Bersham ironworks. The valley was ridden with industry and innumerable mills. On my first visit, I observed outside and within Nant Mill and the surviving mill leat running into it.

Nant Mill
The mill leat for Nant Mill (left) and the Clywedog (right), looking downstream
A turn in the mill leat – orange with pollution

 Sculptures for Landscape and Story

Around Nant Mill the picnic area, pigsties and a wildlife garden together provide a panoply of sculptures, providing a rich sensorial environment for children and adults alike. I was a great fan of the sculpted pigs in their sties especially, as well as the butterflies and dragonfly in the wildlife garden. There is also a set of seats for storytelling with vivid avian sculptures. Most of this is crafted from wood, but there was also a giant’s footprint to intrigue the kids.

Giant footprint
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Poetic chair
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Avian chair
Storytelling seats: sadly not enough for my sprog tribe

Dragonfly in the wildlife garden


Finally, the archaeodeath bit. I noticed potentially four modern memorials. The two butterfly chairs in the wildlife gardens had children’s names inscribed on them, a girl’s name on one, a boy’s name on another. Is this a subtle commemorative monument to the dead?

Third, there was also a rather standard. memorial plaque on a bench.

Fourth and finally, upon the woodland walk upstream from Nant Mill, there was a memorial linked to the Woodlands Trust: charity spaces and memorials to those that served those charities are seemingly widespread and, to my knowledge, underresearched.

A memorial bench?
A memorial bench
A memorial plaque on the woodland walk: a rare case not situated upon a bench.