The Western slopes of Moel Findeg were declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1999 following a successful campaign to acquire the site from a quarry company.
The Reserve is made up of 56 acres of heathland and birch woodland on the edge of the village. It has been a popular walking area for many years not only among local people but also with visitors to the area. It is characterised by its lowland heath and birch woodland but is also important for its industrial heritage as the site as a history of lead mining and quarrying.
Apart from being a Local Nature Reserve Moel Findeg has also been identified as a County Wildlife Site on account of the importance of its habitat and species interest in Denbighshire. Lowland heathlands typically occur below an altitude of 250 metres, and historically have been managed by grazing or burning. Although Moel Findeg reaches a height above this contour the heathland is regarded as being predominantly lowland in character. The heathland together with areas of wet mire which are also present on the site have been identified as key biodiversity habitat types in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan on account of their decline nationally and associated rare and threatened species.
Denbighshire Countryside Service manages the Reserve in partnership with the Friends of Moel Findeg and with a great deal of volunteer help. On the heathland work over the years has concentrated on controlling encroaching scrub which in the absence of any grazing animals basically means cutting back gorse, birch and willow scrub by hand ! The gorse and the heather is also cut with a tractor in order to encourage new grow. In 2003 a wild fire across the hillside and we lost much of the heather and bilberry which are important elements of the heath. Bracken, which thrives on burnt soils moved in quickly and took over much of the heath. It has been a slow job to reverse this process, rolling and crushing the bracken every year to slowly reduce its foothold. Heather and bilberry is gradually returning and persistence and hard work seem to be paying off.
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the management of Moel Findeg, whether it be though helping control scrub on the heathland, woodland work or drystone walling anyone is welcome to get involved.
You can download a copy of the Countryside Services Volunteer programme at www.clwydianrangeaonb.org.uk