AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB


News and events

  • A unique Training Opportunity for those looking to improve their employment prospects in the Outdoor Sector Based in the Dee Valley Llangollen


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    A unique Training Opportunity for those looking to improve their employment prospects in the Outdoor Sector – Based in the Dee Valley Llangollen

    Becoming an outdoor instructor is one of the most fulfilling and exciting jobs in the area. Being an instructor enables you to introduce people to challenging, exciting new activities in incredible landscapes. Working with Snowdonia Active the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AON have put together a unique training programme that will provides an exciting opportunity for those looking to begin a career in the outdoor sector or enhance their skills.

    The course content will provide you with sufficient qualifications to deliver basic water based activities such as canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. In addition, the course will enable you to gain first hand knowledge from local experts on the environments you will be instructing in.

    Subsidised by the supporting organisation this course is available at 75% cost price - an incredible £280!

    Paddlesports Leader - 17th and 18th May 2017 - 10 spaces

    The Paddlesport Leader is aimed at paddlers taking on formal leadership responsibilities in benign, sheltered water environments. It will qualify you to lead all lower ability paddlers in any form of paddlesports craft including canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards (SUPs), crew boats and straight running boats.

    REC First Aid - 22nd and 23rd May 2017 - 10 spaces

    The essential first aid course to authenticate your paddlesport leader qualification. A practical two day first aid course designed for people who work in the outdoors or who use the outdoors for pleasure. No previous first aid experience necessary. This course will take place in an outdoor environmental with scenarios designed to simulate those you could be faced with whilst guiding groups in the outdoors.

    Whitewater Rescue Technician PRO - 26th, 27th and 28th May 2017 - 10 spaces

    The Whitewater Rescue Technician - Professional (WRT-PRO) is based over 3 days and designed for students who work on the river in a professional capacity e.g Raft Guides, Safety Kayakers, Kayak / Canoe Instructors etc.

    The course is recognised by many outdoor operators as a pre -requisite for Gorge Walking, Canyoning and Sea level Traversing.

    Enhancing Environmental Learning - 19th May 2017 - 20 spaces

    This workshop will introduce you to Environmental Learning Cards which have been created to help engage people in environmental learning anywhere outdoors.

    This workshop is fully interactive and hands on. Through it we will be discovering four themes – Awareness & Experience, Explore & Understand, Create & Share and Sustain & Conserve. The four themes cover a total of 26 activities including plant discovery, literature in the environment, making a solar kettle, minibeast models and fire making.

    'Pulling the Plug' on the Llangollen Canal - 5th June 2017 - 20 spaces

    A bespoke session specifically pulling together experts on the Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site to share information you can then use when delivering paddling sessions. This activity will take place paddling in an open canoe on the canal to enable trainees and established activity providers to learn more about the history of the canal, flora, fauna, environmental best practice, wildlife and geological highlights which can be seen from the canal. This session will complement a waterproof field guide being created for canals. This session is for trainees and established activity providers.

    Dee Valley on Water - 13th June 2017 – 18 spaces

    The best way to learn about the river is on the water! This unique session has been designed specifically for this course. Trainees and established activity providers will be lead down the river whitewater rafting alongside environmental experts. You will learn about the ecology of the river and river banks, learn about the geological highlights which can be seen from the river and the history of the stone bridges which cross the river Dee which also gaining insight to the unique qualities of the AONB.

    To secure a places please contact Ceri Lloyd on ceri.lloyd@denbighshire.gov.uk

    Places are limited so please book early

  • Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future


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    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


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    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

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