As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of places to find local food and drink in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north Wales.
Who'd have thought the heather-clad hills of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley could inspire so much wonderful local produce: from frangrant honey and ice cream to rich, tangy ales, the humble heather flower has influenced food and drink producers across the region.
We've picked out some of our favourite spots for you to enjoy the local bounty: there's the custom-made shepherd's hut selling tea and tasty cakes and farm shops where you can get your hands on all sorts of fabuolus Welsh produce, like creamy cheeses and delicious laverbread. Don't forget to check out the Clwydian Range Food Trail – a fantastic foodie route which passes some of the region's top producers.
The Shepherd's Hut, Ruthin, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
A very cute pop-up cafe in a custom-made Shepherd's Hut that the owners say is "a homage to the part-time homes of 19th and 20th century shepherds". You can find it in the foothills of Moel Famau, near Loggerheads Country Park HQ - head to the top car park of Moel Famau, in between the two trails that lead up to the Jubilee Tower. It sells excellent coffee, cakes, chocolates and local artisan products, including rugs, cushions and ice-cream. shepherds-hut.com
The Druid Inn, Mold, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
In the pretty Welsh town of Pontblyddyn the old stone-built Druid Inn is popular for its good quality pub grub, friendly service and welcoming atmosphere. The beamy bar is warm and inviting and there’s a large terrace outside. Tuck into juicy burgers, homemade pies, steaks and sandwiches; the daily lunchtime Special menu is great value at £7. Their generous Sunday roasts are deservedly popular – make sure you book. Little diners get their own menu, too. Try to coincide your visit with one of their weekly music nights – see their website for more details. druidinn.co.uk
The Cherry Pie Inn, Mold, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
On the banks of the Wheeler river in the tiny hamlet of Melin-y-Wern you’ll find the Cherry Pie Inn, a welcoming pub and firm favourite with locals thanks to its great selection of ales and no-nonsense food. The menu features plenty of pub classics such as roast Welsh lamb, steaks and deep-fried scampi; round it all off with a slice of cherry pie – definitely worth leaving room for. The snug wood-clad bar with crackling log fire is perfect for colder days, and there’s a large restaurant for groups – they cater for weddings and parties too. If the sun’s out, grab a table in the riverside garden and watch the world wander by. thecherrypieinn.co.uk
The Raven Inn, Ruthin, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
The community-run Raven Inn is a welcoming pub serving great local produce and run by a cheerful bunch of local volunteers. Their guiding principle is to support local microbreweries and they have a range of local guest beers on tap throughout the year. The food is local, simple and delicious – try slow-braised beef stew or fillet of Fleetwood haddock; Friday is the popular fish and chips night. There are three newly refurbished bedrooms upstairs, all with spectacular views over the village's medieval church. All of the profits go to fund village community projects. raveninn.co.uk
For information on characterful places to stay, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our