AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB


News and events

  • Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future


    This needs to copy the title of the publication.

    By preserving the past, we prepare for the future. One of the greater challenges faced here in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB is safeguarding the area's special qualities while simultaneously meeting the demands of the present age.

    Such is the challenge faced at Cyrn-y-Brain, a large area of upland heath to the north of Llangollen, where work had to be carried out to protect a Bronze Age burial mound by diverting part of the Offa's Dyke National Trail running through it.

    Now set a few meters around the Scheduled Ancient Monument, further work was recently undertaken to improve this section of the path, with more stone slabs replacing that of timber sleepers as a more durable and attractive solution to providing ease of access without causing further damage to this Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

    Compared to the picturesque sites of Velvet Hill or Castell Dinas Brân, Cyrn-y-Brain possesses a different kind of beauty, one that, while possibly not as easily photogenic, is bolder in aspect, its vast, exposed remoteness inspiring a sense of awe in those who traverse it along the National Trail.

    Up here, the landscape still bears a trace of that imposing immediacy faced by those who once lived and, as left in evidence, died upon it. These days, however, it is another inhabitant who faces a battle for survival, Cyrn-y-Brain being home to the endangered Black Grouse, this section of moorland now containing over 80% of the Welsh population.

    Thank you again to Richard, Jack and Colin of Countryside Skills for braving the winter weather in such exposed conditions, and also to the Telford and East Shropshire Ramblers who travelled down last November to help with access enhancements. Your work is much appreciated!

    For anyone interested in volunteering with the team here at Llangollen, don't hesitate to get in touch with us either by phone (01824 712791) or by email aron.roberts@denbighshire.gov.uk

    If you would like to find out more about the history of the landscape or about Cyrn-y-Brain, here's a link to the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust website.

    Aron Richard Roberts

    Trainee Countryside Warden

  • Roadside Nature Reserve


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    From unmanaged scrubland into flower rich limestone grassland, that's the vision near Rock Farm at one of our roadside nature reserves, opening up key views of the impressive limestone cliffs of Creigiau Eglwyseg, which tower over part of the Offa's Dyke Path running below.

    By the time the first purple orchids will have come into bloom, each scratch and splinter will have gone and the seemingly thankless task of wrestling Hawthorn and hauling Holly will give its just reward (a lifetime of bad luck notwithstanding).

    Big thank you to Richard, Colin and Jack from Countryside Skills (a local contractor) for all their hard work and for letting me tag along! Also to Gareth, one of our volunteers, for coming down to Llangollen to help out. Much appreciated.

    For those interested there will be a guided walk in May 2017, where we will be identifying all the different wildflower species onsite. More information will be available nearer the time.

    Aron Richard Roberts

    Trainee Countryside Warden

  • Adopting the Legacy


    This needs to copy the title of the publication.

    Day eleven as a Trainee Countryside Warden, and so far I've been involved with traditional skills such as coppicing areas of woodland in order to open up key views and improve its biodiversity, helping the Head Gardener at Plas Newydd, undertaking visitor surveys at Horseshoe Falls, improving a flower rich area of limestone grassland in Llangollen, just some of the small jobs that go into making sure the Dee Valley remains an area esteemed for its outstanding natural beauty.

    But as interesting as I'm sure you'll find me harping on about the joys of the leaf blower, or the occupational hazard of falling squirrels (both of which I was introduced to at Plas Newydd), I think the best way to begin this blog is to look at the bigger picture, 390 km₂ of it!

    Stretching from Prestatyn Hillside up north down south to the Berwyn Mountains, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is a designation that recognises the area's special qualities, its primary purpose being to conserve and enhance natural beauty (including flora, fauna and geological features).

    That's our "Mission Statement" in a nutshell, one of proactive preservation, because as picturesque as the Countryside may be, it isn't "just there", unchanging as if some pastoral painting, but rather the result of thousands of years of cultivation as a living and working landscape.

    This landscape, the face of the earth, relates its history as might the face of a person, each feature an expression of its character, each mark or scar a trace of a story, stories deeply rooted in our communities whether we recognise them or not.

    From hillforts to hedgerows, forests to fields, the landscape bears the legacy of the people who toiled and thrived upon it to form the communities at the heart of what we can appreciate as the Countryside today.

    It is a legacy to be adopted, not only remembered, ensuring that a practical relationship with our Countryside continues so that together we can take an active part in its story, whose legacy will run into the coming centuries as sure as does the Dee.

    What our legacy will be remains to be seen, but the more people involved with the conservation of the Countryside, the more we safeguard its future, because all the small jobs we do as Countryside Wardens couldn't compare to what we could achieve working with the communities, the people, at the heart of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB.

    And that's why I'm writing this blog, to get in touch with you, to give a small insight into the work we do as part of our service in promoting and conserving our Countryside. So if you want to have your say or to get involved, don't hesitate, our Volunteer Programme for the end of this year up to March 2017 having just come out.

    But above all else, wrap up, strap up, lace up and go out and enjoy the Countryside!


    Aron Richard Roberts

    Trainee Countryside Warden

  • Volunteer Programme October 2016 - March 2017


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    At Denbighshire County Council our
    various services all offer opportunities
    for volunteers and details of what is
    available and how to apply can be
    found on the Council Website by
    just logging on to Denbighshire
    County Council. 
    Our Countryside Service use
    volunteers in a variety of locations,
    such as in the Summer at the
    Gronant Dunes Little Tern Colony
    where volunteer efforts have gone a
    long way towards securing the future
    of this threatened species and all year
    round carrying out a variety of duties
    within Loggerheads Country Park and
    the Area of Outstanding Natural
    Beauty, which includes the Clwydian
    Range of hills, down to the Dee Valley
    and the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.
    There are so many ways in which you
    can contribute and it is worth
    remembering that for those such as
    Students in the long holiday period
    and hoping to start a career, a period
    of volunteering can look very
    impressive on your CV!
    download your copy - http://www.clwydianrangeanddeevalleyaonb.org.uk/volunteering/

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