Looking back on the first year
Our Picturesque Landscape Project is a 5-year National Lottery Heritage funded partnership project which centres on the landscape of the Dee Valley and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site.
It takes the theme of inspirational journeys that have been, and continue to be, a feature of the area which is cut by the canal, Telford's A5 and the River Dee. Visitors have drawn inspiration from this beautiful valley in art and poetry since the 18th century and it continues to draw tourists in search of the sublime. This landscape is under growing pressure with high numbers of visitors drawn to what are often our most fragile sites.
Projects have been developed under 3 themes -Conserving the Picturesque Landscape, Accessing the Picturesque Landscape and People and the Picturesque.
Some highlights of the first year have been the creation of the Clinker Path, in Trevor. The community of Trevor had identified the desire to create a new path through Rhos y Coed to create a link from the Community Centre to the Canal tow path. The project has provided a direct link for the community to the World Heritage site though a former industrial area that is now woodland. It features a large clinker boulder which stands in the wood as a dramatic reminder of this industrial past. The project will provide some interpretation on the industrial heritage as well as a bench in the spring. The path has been nominated for a Wrexham Area Civic Society Award 2019 in the category of 'Landscape or environmental improvement' by Llangollen Rural Community Council. The project has allowed for community engagement with local people including Cubs and Beavers helping to plant trees and a community litter pick.
Restoring the Dell in Plas Newydd is a project designed to bring back the picturesque ‘feel’ of the valley of the Cyflymen, which was made famous by the Ladies of Llangollen. The project has replaced the entranceways into the Dell to make easier to access and easier to explore and 24 birch trees have been planted to recreate the ladies birch avenue under planted with thousands of native spring bulbs.
A programme of restoration of the stone walling in the Dell with volunteers using traditional rural skills training has created 36 metres of walling to do with more planned during the winter. There are also plans for revetment walling, creation of a viewing platform, terracing, pitch paving and drainage works.
‘Go Wild in the Dell’ free monthly children and family after school events in The Dell at Plas Newydd offering fun outdoor nature based activities.
Lots of arts projects have taken place this year to support the celebration of 10 years since the World Heritage Site inscription. The project has been working with a number of groups across the Project Area providing opportunities for all ages and all communities to become involved in art celebrating the picturesque landscape, to learn different techniques and then to exhibit work. This work was exhibited at the World Heritage Site conference in Llangollen and International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and is currently on display until January 2020 in Ty Pawb.
The project is funding a series of bronze roundels to be laid into the tow path to lead visitors from the new car park in Trevor Basin to the aqueduct reinforcing the WHS logo have been produced.
Look out for the roundel which has been installed at Gledrid bridge marking the start of the World Heritage Site on the Shropshire side.
The project is working with partners to tackle the spread of non-native invasive species in the Dee Valley. A survey has been conducted and has helped to map the Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed spread providing useful data in informing us of the best methods and locations for its control.
The first Picturesque Inspired Circular Trail has been developed, and follows a route around the Pengwern Vale, beautifully located in the heart of the picturesque landscape, that the Ladies of Llangollen walked. Improved drainage and kissing gates instead of stiles have ensured that it is accessible for bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs.
The Ten Things in the Dee Valley summer challenge to encourage visitors to visit different parts of the WHS and engage in new activities has been very successful allowing children to get activity stamps at each location.
An interactive performance about Thomas Telford and his role in creating the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and canal was provided for local schools in September as part of a day of activities at Trevor Basin.
The project has started monthly outreach sessions at Ty Mawr Country Park in Cefn Mawr called “Landscapes for Living”. Landscapes for Living sessions aim to remove the barriers that currently prevent some people from accessing the stunning landscapes on their doorstep. We want to support people who for health or other reasons may find it difficult or daunting to spend time in the countryside.
Keep an eye out for the newly revamped AONB website due to launch in February 2020.
If you would like to learn more about the Our Picturesque Landscape Project or get involved by volunteering, please get in touch with the team on 01824 706163 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org