The Jubilee Tower at the summit of Moel Famau.
|Elevation||554 m (1,818 ft)|
|Prominence||c. 272 m|
|Parent peak||Moel y Gamelin|
|Listing||Marilyn, Council top|
|Translation||The bare hill of ?Mama (Welsh)|
|Pronunciation||Welsh: [ˈmɔɨl ˈvama]|
|Location||Clwydian Range, UK|
|Topo map||OS Landranger 116|
Moel Famau (or, more correctly, Moel Fama) is the highest hill within the Clwydian Range, formally Flintshire Range, on the border between Denbighshire and Flintshire in Wales. The hill, which also gives its name to the 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.
That the second element is 'Fama' rather than 'Famau' is shown by the earliest attested forms, which date back to the fourteenth century. The local pronunciation is also consistently [ˈvama]. If the second element were 'Famau', one would expect to find examples of the pronunciation [ˈvamɛ]. 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 re-interpreting the second element as the lenited form of the common noun mamau, meaning 'mothers'. As a result, 'Moel Famau' is sometimes said to mean 'Mothers' Hill'. 'Moel Famau' is found as early as the eighteenth century, and is still common today. Nevertheless, the standard reference work on Welsh place-names lists 'Moel Fama' as the correct form.
The park, which covers an area over 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 and Eurasian Curlew.
The Forestry Enterprise manage the neighbouring forest as a sustainable conifer plantation for timber production and tourism.
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 and Foel Fenlli about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the summit. The northern route begins from the Iron-Age hill fort at Moel Arthur. A footpath to the top of Moel Famau also begins from the village of Cilcain.
Much of Wales and the North West of 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 to the north, and to the East Liverpool, Chester, Winter Hill, and the 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.
- Moel Famau country park
- Moel Famau News
- Walk up Moel Famau
- Computer generated summit panoramas Moel Famau index
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Moel Famau and surrounding area
- Owen, Hywel Wyn; Morgan, Richard (2007). Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. Gomer. p. 324. ISBN 978-1843239017.
- Stephenson, Charles (2008). Moel Famau and the Jubilee Tower of King George III. Stephensons. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-9560590-0-0.
- Davies, Elwyn (1996). A Gazetteer of Welsh place-names = Rhestr o enwau lleoedd. University of Wales Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0708310380.