WORK has started on the development of a new community nature space at Henllan.

The project is one of four new community nature spaces – alongside similar areas at Rhyl, St Asaph and Clocaenog – that Denbighshire County Council’s countryside service and climate change teams are creating in the county this year to boost benefits for both local wildlife and residents’ wellbeing. 

The Henllan Community Nature Space is taking shape on land behind Meifod Road on the northern edge of the village.

The Community Nature Spaces Project has received funding from an £800,000 grant from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Early site preparation works are currently underway in advance of planting 1,710 trees before Easter, then constructing footpaths, creating a pond, wildflower meadows, a recreation space and picnic area, an insect hibernaculum (aka a “bee bank”) and an outdoor classroom before the end of 2024.

On Monday, 11 March, tree surgery work will take place to remove two ash trees on the B5428 roadside edge of the site that have been infected by ash dieback. 

This road out of the village towards Trefnant will be closed for the day while the tree removal work is carried out and the Council would like to apologise for any inconvenience that the temporary closure may cause. 

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The ash dieback disease has spread across north Wales with the native ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) particularly common in Denbighshire. 

As the mortality of ash trees following infection can be extremely high and with no known cure, the council is carrying this work for public safety reasons before continuing with the main site development.

Henllan’s new site will ultimately provide stronger species-rich habitat for nature to benefit from as well as a community space for local residents young and old to enjoy and learn from wildlife on the land.

Developing this site will provide local residents with other benefits such as improved air quality, urban heat cooling and opportunities to support their physical and mental wellbeing by visiting the area created. 

The new space will also support the council’s drive to reduce the county’s carbon footprint by contributing to the amount of carbon sequestered (or absorbed) in vegetation and soils.

Cllr Barry Mellor, lead member for environment and transport, said: “We are pleased to be able to start work on the site at Henllan and are grateful for the support of the public while we carry out the removal of the trees impacted by ash dieback.

“This important new asset to Henllan will not just help bring habitats back for local nature but it will also to support the surrounding community by giving residents something to be proud of and to visit for their own physical and mental wellbeing.

“We are very keen to hear if residents would like to get involved with tree planting on 21 or 22 March to help develop the area for their community and also experience nature firsthand for their own wellbeing."