A Strange Golf Course
Llanymynech Rocks can be found between Oswestry and Welshpool and actually straddles the border between England and Wales. On top of these rocks can be found a green and fertile plateau which boasts an 18 hole golf course and 400 members including Ian Woosnam.
A view from the top of Llanymynech Rock
The course was originally a nine hole golf course and was built in 1933 and apart from spectacular views other unusual features can be found here. The word Llanymynech is thought to mean “Church of Monks” in Welsh, and it is thought that a church once stood on this site back in the sixth century. The course stands on the battleground where Caractacus fought the Romans in A.D 50 in an attempt to force them out of the country. Evidence of Roman ruins can still be found on parts of the course along with what has been identified as a burial mound.
The unique fact with this golf course is that as the course straddles the border between England and Wales it means that 15 holes are in England and three are in Wales, this in turn means on holes one to four a golfer tee’s off in Wales, they then reach England on the fourth green, they remain in England until returning to Wales for the seventh tee!
Another interesting feature of Llanymynech Rocks is that during the nineteenth century limestone quarrying took place here, and over the ensuing years the quarry floor has attracted many limestone loving plants and grasses, this includes the rare Bumble Beed Orchid
Bumble Bee Orchid
As well as the bumble Bee Orchid other plants of interest that can be found here are Autumn Ladies Tresses, Fairy Flax, Yellow Wort, Wild Thyme and Rock Rose, these unusual plants attract many butterflies including the Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly. It is probably due to the unique flora and fauna that can be found here that the area has been designated as a site of scientific interest (S.S.I).
The 18 hole course on Llanymynech Rocks
On the southern slopes of Llanymynech Rocks there is said to be the burial site of a giants wife, it is said that he buried her wearing a solid gold necklace and her grave was said to have been marked by a monument of stones. The story goes that three sons of a local farmer attempted tp recover the necklace in the nineteenth century, they removed the capstone from the monument but were unable to find the necklace, all three died shortly afterwards. Another legend that can be found here concerns a cave which can be found by following the public footpath which crosses the golf course, this is known as the Ogof Cave and is said by locals to be the entrance to the Underworld (Fairyland). The cave system was explored in the nineteenth century by a man called Dovaston, he went on to say that this labyrinth was connected by numerous paths leading to Carreghove Castle, he also said that some people claim to have heard the rivers Vyrnwy and Tanat flowing above their heads and that the cave system leads to Fairyland.
Another story linked to this cave was that it was the abode of a fairy who became the wife of King Alaric whose palace is said to lie at the bottom of Llynclys lake, which is found only two miles away from here. A journal published in 1896 states that the Roman cavern in Llanymynech hill called Ogo has long been noted as the residence of a class of fairy tribe, of which the villagers relate many suprising and mischievous tricks.
They have listened at the mouth of the cave, and have even heard them in conversation, but always in such low whispers that their conversation was always indistinguishable. The stream that now runs through it is celebrated as the place where they washed their clothes and did other sorts of work.
Another legend that surfaced in 1896 was that of Ned Pugh, a local resident and harp player, he claimed that he could walk from the Ogof cave underground to the Lion Inn in Llanymynech. A bet was placed that the choir singing in the church would be able to hear Ned playing his harp from beneath the ground.
The following Sunday everyone heard Ned playing his harp from deep underground, but unfortunately Ned never made it out of the cave system and the tune that people heard playing that day was named, “Farewell to Ned Pugh” in rememberance of him. A variation on this story was that Ned was taken into the cave system by the fairy folk so that Ned could play for them, this it is said he did but unfortunately he ate and drank the food and wine that he was offered, once he had done this he was unable to return to his surface life. But as you never age in fairyland perhaps he is still playing somewhere in the depths of the earth to this day.