County Voice

County Voice: March 2023

Community collaboration sees biodiversity thrive at nature reserve

A community partnership has helped biodiversity flourish at a popular Rhuddlan venue.

The Council's Countryside staff have worked closely with the community group behind Rhuddlan Nature Reserve to grow a thriving environment for both biodiversity and visitors to embrace.

Countryside staff have carried out the management of the site since opening in 2011 on behalf of the Rhuddlan Reserve Management Advisory Group to breathe life into a number of initiatives for the community.

This work resulted in the nature reserve winning last year's Wales in Bloom award in the 'Overall It's Your Neighbourhood' category. The group members and Countryside staff were presented with the RHS National Certificate of Distinction. 

Wales in Bloom wrote in their report about the reserve that ‘In all areas of management, planning and volunteer organisation through to practical on-site endeavours the Rhuddlan Nature Reserve is a shining example of nurturing and creating habitat.’ 

Thanks to the green vision of the group and the skills of Countryside staff, the site over the years has grown with the introduction of initiatives including two wildflower meadows, three wildlife ponds, 300 metres of hedgerow, wildflower seeded verges, planting of 6,000 trees, a heritage species orchard, two picnic areas and a pond dipping platform.

A unique addition to the nature reserve is the Sensory Garden which has involved the local Dementia Group and the nature reserve group working with Countryside staff. A dementia friendly space with sensory, trees, wildflowers and historic landscape features such as dry-stone walls and laid hedges, as well as traditional Welsh oak timber seating has been created on the site.

Anita Fagan, Chair of the Rhuddlan Reserve Management Advisory Group, said: “The Committee has worked hard and is delighted to have been awarded the ‘National Certificate of Distinction’ in last years ‘Britain in Bloom’.

“As Chair, with the aim of enhancing and diversifying the reserves habitats for the education and enjoyment of our visitors, mostly local residents but increasingly holiday visitors, I draw on the committee’s many skills. These encompass wildlife expertise and local area knowledge, including town and county councillors and of course the biodiversity skills of Denbighshire County Council Countryside Services staff Garry Davies, Jim Kilpatrick and Brad Shackleton.

“Since its opening in 2011, Rhuddlan residents have enjoyed this safe open space. Families bring children to play and picnic, walk their dogs and take photos of bird life. In addition, we arrange bug hunts for local nursery and primary school children, support volunteers to learn hedge laying and lead guided walks for local adult groups.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “It was a privilege to visit the Rhuddlan Reserve recently to see how the group’s passion for enhancing the land has been brought to life by the management of our Countryside staff.

“This collaboration has produced such an amazing area in Denbighshire for the support and improvement of biodiversity. The wealth of knowledge driving the development of the site from the group, coupled with the skills of the Council’s Countryside staff has created an area Rhuddlan can be proud of when it comes to supporting our wildlife and nature.”


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