AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB

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The local economy

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley has always been a working landscape.  So much of what we find appealing today – the great tracts of heather moorland, the rolling fields, the dry stone walls, the sheer limestone cliffs, the canals and aqueducts – did not happen naturally. They were created by people trying to earn a living.

In the past the dominant industries were agriculture, mining and quarrying. Today virtually all the coal and lead mines, the slate quarries and lime kilns lie idle – although big quarries in the Alyn Valley still supply crushed limestone for road building.

SheepAgriculture, however, remains crucial to the AONB. And in this time of rising global food price, its influence could increase still further.

It employs far fewer people than even 50 years ago but in some areas up to 13% of the population still work on the land, in farming or forestry. These people are trying to conserve this beautiful landscape and make it productive at the same time. A payment system linked to environmental as well as production objectives will help them square the circle.

But nowadays the local economy is largely built on tourism. Stunning places such as Moel Famau and its Jubilee Tower have attracted visitors since the 19th century.  Today Moel Famau Country Park brings in 200,000 visitors every year and the tourism industry has grown until it’s worth two-and-a-half times as much as agriculture.

The designation in 2009 of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and 11 miles of Llangollen Canal as a World Heritage Site has put the Dee Valley on the world tourist map.

Tourism - CyclingOf course uncontrolled tourism can bring its own pressure in the form of traffic, noise and damage to vulnerable habitats. But the AONB is working hard to ensure visitors can enjoy our wide open spaces, heritage and culture without compromising the very special character that attracted them in the first place.

In many ways, the popularity of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley with visitors has made it a more rewarding place in which to live and work.

Tourism supports a whole range of thriving businesses from attractions to accommodation providers, cafés, restaurants and pubs, shops, sports and outdoor activity organisers, food producers and microbreweries.

All of which means local people are rarely short of entertainment, places to eat or something to do at the weekend. Not only that but they live in towns and villages that are thriving.

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