Visiting the countryside has so many benefits for our health and wellbeing
Denbighshire’s countryside service has for many years strategically taken on sites in urban fringe settings, the constant work to bring conservation to people’s doorstep has resulted in a mosaic of sites located around the towns in the North of the county that offer opportunities for everyone to engage with Nature.
When the first lockdown was announced due to covid it soon became apparent the need to exercise locally, by closing the car parks but keeping the Countryside Service managed sites open it meant local residents could still connect with the outdoors and wildlife whilst traveling by foot in a green and responsible way. Throughout the lockdown many social media groups that focus on wildlife were reporting sightings from these urban fringe sites that well established nature reserves would have been proud of.
From the flourishing wildflower meadows feeding the butterfly’s and bees at Brickfields Pond to the Broad Bodied Chaser Dragon Fly’s at Rhuddlan Local Nature reserve battling it out for the best spot on the water nature has the ability to capture interest from all age ranges.
The accessibility of these sites is a real asset but due to sustained management for wildlife local enthusiasts are able to seek out real rarities, local birders have a list of over 60 species at Brickfields pond alone, grasshopper warblers can be heard at Coed Y Morfa Prestatyn and Gronant Dunes is home to some of the rarest amphibians, reptiles and sea birds found in the UK.
It is hoped that one of the few positives to take from this whole experience of dealing with the pandemic is that people continue to visit there local nature reserves taking interest in the wildlife on their doorstep and use the ever increasing green corridors to appreciate the different habitats and species that are thriving from local urban conservation efforts.
Jim Kilpatrick - Senior Countryside Ranger, North Denbighshire