County Voice

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Ranger Team During Lockdown

While lockdown has meant difficult and unusual times for many people work has continued at the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable place for the public and wildlife alike.

The reduced footfall within the parks has afforded the ranger team the opportunity to carry out some much needed improvement works to the Leete path at Loggerheads Country Park. These works have now provided a smooth and accessible surface all the way down to the road, which now gives much better access to Devils gorge. There has also been plenty of work carried out resurfacing and expanding the car parks at Moel Famau, as well as introducing new parking ticket machines which accept card payments. Hopefully these improvements will make the publics return to the park an even smoother and more enjoyable experience. Fencing works have been undertaken around the country park to protect the fragile path from erosion due to heavy footfall. Along with this, boundary fence improvements have been carried out to help prevent dogs entering neighbouring farmland and disturbing livestock. But please remember that dogs must be kept under control at all times.

The ranger team have put a lot of energy into improving the AONB for the benefit of wildlife. We set about doing this clearing overgrown sites and using conservation grazing to manage these locations, our plan is for these to return to productive wildflower meadows with a much greater species richness and as such are really looking forward to beginning our species monitoring to watch the progress over the coming years. At Loggerheads Country Park work has been carried out to open up sections of the limestone pavement to allow more light in and create suitable habitat to benefit a huge variety of species of plants, reptiles, and mammals. There has also been a program of bird nest box improvements and replacements across the country park, this included a survey of the species which had been using them and an evaluation of possible improvements. Finally, the ranger team have been working with local communities and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) to regenerate existing ponds and create new ponds for the benefit of many species but with a focus on the Great Crested Newt.

New Llangollen nature reserve opens to visitors

A former landfill site on the outskirts of Llangollen has taken on a new lease of life.

The Council and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team have worked together with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and European Rural Development Fund, to create a new nature reserve on the former landfill site at Wenffrwd – just outside Llangollen.

Visitors are now able to use a small car park at the nature reserve and explore the new site by following the 0.5 miles of new surfaced path which winds through a variety of habitats and offers views of the River Dee and across the valley.

Huw Rees, Countryside and Heritage Services Manager said: “It’s hard to imagine now that this whole mound of land is the result of several decades of tipping household from the Llangollen area. Up to 75,000 tonnes were dumped each year until it stopped receiving rubbish in the 1980s, although the transfer station was available for the local population until 2008.

“Nature has done an excellent job at reclaiming the site. The wildflower meadows provide food for pollinators and yellow meadow ants which make the anthills that you will see. The thick bramble offers safe areas for birds and mammals.

“This is still a work in progress and in the coming year we will continue to work on creating links from this site to Canal and back to the Health Centre in Llangollen along the old railway line. We will also be adding diversity to the site through tree planting and the creation of new wildflower areas.”

Winner of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Landscape Award Announced

The AONB Partnership agreed to award this year’s AONB Landscape Award to Ysgol y Foel, Cilcain, in recognition of the huge achievement of the School’s Decarbonisation Project. The school has been entirely remodelled and was now housed in a building that was totally carbon neutral.

84 solar panels had been installed, these solar panels would take in U-V light and convert it to usable electricity via a big inverter. The school now make their own electricity to power their lights, charge computers, and run an air source heating system. A new battery system stores energy produced over the holidays and when the school is closed and stores it for term times.   The school now produce more energy than they need – exporting the surplus to the National Grid.


The pupils at the school have been involved every step of the way learning about climate change and the importance of moving towards a more sustainable way of living and working. The school were able to meet most of the refit costs from a grant from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) which comes from Welsh Government. Flintshire County Council also provided support for the project by providing a loan, which was being paid back from the savings made on energy bills.

In addition to the decarbonisation project, the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB Sustainable Development Fund also contributed to an outdoor classroom. This would be used for other local schools to come and visit and learn about the decarbonisation path to net zero and to study the wide variety of flora and fauna the school has (when restrictions allow) across the school grounds and demonstrating how like Ysgol Y Foel they too could achieve net zero and become a sustainable school for future generations.

The AONB make the award every year to a community, individual or business that has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB and the AONB were are delighted that this year the award was is recognising the work at Ysgol y Foel, a school that was within the AONB that is and leading the way in this vital matter.

Many congratulations to Ysgol y Foel and all those involved.

More information about the Sustainable Development Fund can be found here:

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