Today was officially my last day working with the Wardens of the Clwydian Range AONB.

I have got to say I have really enjoyed the things I have been doing (admittedly some more than others) but overall I think I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills of how the Wardens manage the AONB.

From Coppicing at Loggerheads, volunteering at Moel Findeg, helping with school groups and feeding Ponies… I can say wholeheartedly that I am definitely going to miss working with the wardens.

Today was going to be a litter picking day with some added dog poo surveying, with the graduate warden. I know it doesn’t sound very glamorous but while doing these jobs you get to see more of the countryside than you would normally and are vital for keeping the area beautiful.

We started at Moel Famau in the left hand car park (coming from Loggerheads), at the foot of Foel Fenilli, (somewhere I intend to walk again). After the rain we’d had recently had there was a nice pond with some ducks that were visiting the area which I found rather funny as they were seemingly asleep. After doing a good walk around the paths I think we’ve hopefully managed to pick up the last remnant of people’s sledges from the hill side and it was time to cross the road to the Blwch Penbarras car park.

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This being a more popular walk we encountered a lot more *ahem* “Litter” than we did over the road but with the sun sometimes ripping through the clouds it was nice quiet walk around the trails. I even took a picture of the lovely views we had that day. The wind didn’t even stop a huge group of Ramblers/Walkers who we saw walking as we returned to the car park. Who were interested in the Black grouse pictures on the side of the van we were using. They were unaware that black grouse could be found on Moel Famau so the graduate warden gave them a bit of information about a recent Black grouse survey they had done (think I mentioned that previously in another blog post).

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After a quick spot of lunch it was time to do the bottom (Forestry) car park. We had just enough time to grab 2 dog walkers to do our survey as well. The people we spoke to were very happy to give us some of their time to answer our questions and discuss how we could manage the dog poo situation in Moel Famau Country park. We also filled up the leaflet dispenser by the map.

Once we had finished our litter pick there was just enough time for the graduate warden to skilfully grab a picture of a green veined butterfly before the school group we had in the afternoon arrived. Obviously the butterflies prefer Moel Famau to Loggerheads… As I didn’t find one the other day!!

The school group was a large group than I’d helped with before but from the same school as usual Ysgol  Maes Hyfryd. Today the the students were going to be planting Scots Pine. The warden gave some information on how to try to plant the trees (doing them approximately 2m apart and what not) and then we handed out gloves, spades and trees. After that we set about helping any of the students where we could and talking to them and making sure they were enjoying themselves.

The students did really well and I think most of them enjoyed themselves which is always good and after packing up that concluded my last day.

I would like to thank everyone who I worked with and who helped me through my time working with the AONB wardens.

Rachel, Ruth, Sharon, Vicky, Glyn, John, Nick (If I have missed anyone I’m sorry there’s a lot of names).

It has been a pleasure to meet and work with you all; you may see me volunteering in the near future as I really genuinely enjoyed the work I have been doing.

Thank you again.

 

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Friday the 10th of May was my last day working in the Clwydian Range Centre and gift shop at Loggerheads.

I now only have one day left working with the Wardens on Wednesday.

Working here has given me a great knowledge of how a shop is run, how the countryside service mange all of their administration work and and much more.

If we had the Shepherds Hut up Moel Famau by this point, I would have been able to apply all of these skills to hopefully manage the hut successfully.

Today was another regular day putting the signs and dog bowl out, then relaxing into the day and awaiting orders and customers as well as a bit of flying permit creation. We had a fair amount of customers that day even though the weather was classic British summer time weather… rain basically…

We had some new stock in at point during the day as well so this all had to be priced and get put on the shelves… From the obligatory Loggerheads Classic bouncy eggs to the various pens, bubble blowers and what not.

The centre has recently had an array of very nice signs in a very distressed style that i expect will sell quite well so here is a picture of one of them.

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They may not be to all tastes although the smaller sign that reads something like: “Play like there are no winners, Give like you have a lot, Smile til your face hurts” maybe a little cheesy for some people but I like it. May even pop in and buy it when I next visit.

All in all it was a very nice day on which to round off my days here…

I will definitely be popping into visit the great people I have had the pleasure of working with, and who have helped me during my time here.

Sue, Jan, Ruth, and Anne (who was there when I first started)

Karen, Hannah, Helen, David, Howard (If I have missed anyone I am terribly sorry there’s a lot of names)

It has been a pleasure working with you all thank you very much for having me.

One of my last days working in the loggerheads countryside centre and gift shop as I will be leaving soon to pursue other things, (Hopefully my replacement will be to supply the wit charisma I usually write to you in these blogs 😛 )

Nevertheless today started like every other day putting the dog bowl and signs out, then we had a delivery that was unexpectedly larger than we thought…

You never can tell what you’re ordering on the internet, especially when a roll of bubble wrap is about 4 times longer and wider than it looks in a picture. This meant a bit of moving things about much like we usually do when there is a big delivery. However we also had to split the rolls into 2 smaller rolls…

This was a huge test of self control to roll up bubble wrap without popping it… but don’t worry I fought the urge… For the most part…

Unexpectedly as we were working a group of gents passed through on their way to the cafe as we directed them to it we mentioned it would be nice to have bacon butties in here… Much to our surprise one of the very kind men sent through a bacon butty for us !!

Some people in this world are soo nice for no particular reason and I don’t know whether it was the refreshingly sunny day at loggerheads country  park that made him so generous but would urge anyone to wander around and see if you feel the same!!

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Today I arrived at Loggerheads Country park as always ready to start work, the wardens had been doing the Black Grouse survey in the early hours of the morning and most of them had gone home to get some well deserved kip.

IF you would like to know more about the Black grouse please follow this link

Denbighshire countryside Service Black Grouse

So today was just a small day of work for me as the wardens (owing to them being up early) hadn’t arranged any volunteer days or any large activities. To be honest I don’t blame them I’m definitely not a morning person and if I was up at 3 in the morning to creeping around the heathers of Moel Famau I wouldn’t want to much else that day!!

Nevertheless my first job of the day was quite mundane but the very necessary job of litter picking around the park.

To be honest this was actually rather nice… I know what you’re thinking picking up rubbish can’t be exciting but I don’t actually get to walk the actual trails of Loggerheads often and so with the sun shining and gentle breeze it was a lovely day for a walk. (As you can see from my pictures)

Picking up rubbish as well isn’t the gross activity some people may perceive… You have a bag, and a litter picker, and gloves just in case… You don’t get dirty and generally in loggerheads people are very good at taking their litter away.

After enjoying this nice walk and stop and some places for a cheeky pictures I was to do a survey in another part of the park. I was to see how many different species of butterfly were in the park, I was told the area where they are more commonly seen and after stopping at the top of the limestone cliff to write myself a tally chart I went to start surveying.

The area of the park I went to was very sunny and you could see Cholomendy and Moel Famau from a nicely positioned bench. However, these were the only things to be seen… unfortunately I didn’t see one pesky butterfly… whether they were scared of me or the conditions weren’t quite right I don’t know but I didn’t record anything and after a good amount of time I called it a day with the butterfly survey.

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Today was spent in the Loggerheads country park Clwydian Range Centre and Gift shop.

As always the day started with the putting out of the Signs and dog bowl, as well as powering up the Clwydian Range fly over experience computer.

Today the shop had a big order of books that needed pricing and putting on the shelves as well as later in the day a new order of OS maps that needed the same thing doing to them.

The books are really rather nice there was one about Clwydian range and its great places to walk and there was also the same type of book about Conwy. Also some more stock of the Liverpool to Loggerheads books which have a lot of the history between these two places.

The OS maps that came later in the day were a very large order, so large in fact that we believe they threw in a complementary box of LED torches worth £5 each!!

These all needed pricing and the OS maps couldn’t even fit on the shelves so had to go in the draw beneath the stand.

As the day progressed we were greeted by even more boxes!! This time the new 2013 edition of “Capturing the Clwydian Range” brochure. This led to the troublesome task of reorganising the store room we had 9 boxes to find space for on shelves that are pretty much bulging with other boxes of leaflets…

After much shuffling, and then re-shuffling and then putting everything back slightly different to how it originally was… ish we managed to fit all the new stock in J

Here are some pictures of the new books and of the OS maps stand bulging with maps.

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Today was another day working with the countryside wardens as usual starting in the familiar surroundings of Loggerheads Country Park…

As I arrived the wildlife garden next to the wardens’ office was already a flurry of activity. The warden was with the volunteers and they had started already putting a path in to the seat we had weaved around a few weeks ago. We put in some guiding branches and some stakes to hold them in place which required some bill hooking which I’m still not 100% proficient in but gave it a good attempt…

We had neatly marked out the path to the seat as the branch we had found nicely curved into the contours of the ground, as we were putting in its’ final position we found a toad ‘couple’.   As we made this discovery a school group just so happened to be passing by and so all of the children were able to see the toads, which was nice as the wild life in Loggerheads is usually hidden under rocks and hiding in grassy patches. Once all the children had seen the toad one of the volunteers very gently picked up the toad and placed it into the pond as we believe that was the direction they was heading.   It was a gloriously sunny day if not a bit windy so the toad may have wanted to re-hydrate.

After a quick coffee break we finished off the path by spreading some bark and we changed over the signage on the board so that it showed what creatures maybe are lurking in the wild life garden between the spring and summer months. After a quick trip to the compost heaps with some of the weeds pulled out that was this activity done.

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I hope that with the new path people will sit on the seat and see some of the parks wildlife.

In the afternoon I was taken up to Moel Findeg by one of the wardens to meet another two. They had spent the morning clearing paths and repairing fence line.   From here it was up to Coed Nercwys with another graduate warden to help with a school group.

This was the same school group we had taken to Coed Nercwys on a different occasion, from Ysgol Maes Hyfyrd in Flint.   After a little mix up about what car park we were to meet them at, we eventually took the students down to the walled off paddock where we used to keep the sheep.  This used to be the location of a Shepherds Cottage but now all that remains are the stone walls that have been rebuilt by volunteers.

The wardens plan on having a wild flower meadow in this area and so we tasked the kids with raking the dry dead grass off and then planting seeds.   Some of the kids enjoyed the activities more than the others who were happy just to be out of the classroom.   A different group had been taken on a short walk by one of the teachers and taught about the types of trees etc.  I think all the kids enjoyed the bit of fresh air before they went back to school and hopefully next time they come there will be some wild flowers starting to sprout.

As I ended last time I think it is really good for these kids to get outside the classroom and learn in the great outdoors it gives them a really nice experience and hopefully if their seeds have sprouted give them a good sense of accomplishment.

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We already have 9 Backers and are at 12% of our goal, we are really excited for some of you to back and become founder members we still have a way to go and any of support you can offer would be brilliant!!

Stay tuned to Kickstarter for more rewards…

Kickstarter

Today started out by heading up to Moel Famau as there was meant to be a volunteer event going on up there so myself and the wardens headed up to see how many would turn up…

Unfortunately all of one volunteer turned up which meant a slight change of plans was in order.

We decided that due to our number we would be more useful continuing work at a local primary school.

The wardens often do work like this to teach children about the nature of their work and such like. The wildlife garden we were creating would contain a bog garden, a wild flower meadow, a seating area and ‘miniature Moel Famau’. The garden would also have lots of animal habitats such as bird/bat boxes and bug hotels and such like. The miniature Moel Famau was an idea to have a small mound of earth and plant heather on it. Personally I would love to also see a miniature version of jubilee tower on top of it as well!!

The work we did was more preparation work than anything else as we want the kids to get involved as much as possible in the gardens creation. We were doing the most tiresome and back wrenching jobs J fun fun… fun…  But will all be worth it if the kids of the school learn a little bit more about the local environment where they live.

The work went quite fast and we made a big impact with more than half of the digging work done by the end of the day. We also worked around a row of daffodils that seem to have sprouted even though no one is completely sure who planted them…

Here are a few pictures of the garden; these were taken while on a lunch break on what was a gloriously sunny if not a bit blustery day.

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Part of the work i have been doing this week and last was to help set up the new visitor centre in Ruthin.

We have been putting out leaflets and getting local business to provide us with their leaflets and posters so that we may advertise for them.

Here are some photographs of visitor centre took on a very bright sunny day.

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Today was a very quiet day in the Loggerheads Country Park Clwydian Range Centre…

So I thought I would talk about one of the relatively new pieces of equipment the centre has got.

It has to be actually used to be fully appreciated in its full 3D glory but basically it is virtual tour of the Clwydian Range’s Hill forts…

The software uses satellite images of the Clwydian Range and a little bit of 3D know how to make up what the hill forts might have looked like.

You control the camera and you can fly across the Clwydian Range and go to the sites of it’s’ hill forts. If you land on certain hill forts the camera lowers down so you can see the 3D representations of what the palisades and yurts might look like.

I would urge anyone passing by to pop in for a quick go.

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