June 2015 They came, they saw and they conquered Fagl Lane Quarry
There was a tremendous sense of both relief and achievement on the face of Cellan Harston as he arrived at the site of Fagl Lane Quarry with 20 other Roman re-enactors who had undergone the sponsored 10-mile march from Chester to raise funds for The Parc in the Past Project. Roman re-enactors had travelled from London, Devon, Hadrian’s Wall and the Midlands to take part in the tremendous feat. The Parc in the Past Project is expected to include a re-constructed Roman fort and Iron Age village. As a glimmer of light appears at the end of what has been a long and challenging tunnel, this month’s article celebrates a fantastic achievement: the Romans came, saw and conquered what, at times, seemed to be an unobtainable objective.
Thanks should also go to those who walked with the soldiers, keeping them safe from the traffic and collecting donations along the way. Phil and Jan Bradshaw of the White Lion were good enough to host an exhibition on the Parc in the Past Project at very short notice. Members of the public were briefed on what the project hopes to achieve by directors Amanda Brewer and Robin Brown.
The actual fort building, which will draw on the lessons of the previous season, is scheduled to take place in 2016. It is hoped that a Celtic Iron Age village will also be constructed so that the contrast between the two forms of settlement can be seen.(Photograph by Keith Bell)
This, of course, is only one aspect of the Parc in the Past Project which also aims to make an innovative contribution to biodiversity by seeking to enhance the site in ways which will see the return of species which the site has lost. The quarry used to be the best site in Clwyd for nesting sand martins. It used to be a breeding ground for little ringed plover. It was pleasing to see these two species receive specific mention as target species in the exhibition which was on display in the White Lion Pub. More ambitious plans include the planting of black poplar trees. Where these exist elsewhere in parts of England they have sometimes been associated with the extremely rare and exotic golden oriole. As the list of what may be achieved goes on we see that we are really planning for the future and talking about developments that will really be of benefit to our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Meanwhile it is understood that Flintshire Countryside Services are working on a plan to link the Offa’s Dyke National Trail to the start of the Wales Coastal Path and to have a link which goes through Caergwrle, where separate developments are likely to give rise to a raising of the heritage profile of the village. Friends of Hope Church have their own plans for a new trail of the Church and the National Trust is believed to be interested in the future of Plas Teg. In time it is possible that the Hope, Caergwrle and Abermorddu area will see and benefit in part of the renaissance of interest in tourism in Wales, which currently brings in £1.7 billion as a result of receiving 10 million visitors from other parts of Britain.The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the policy of Flintshire County Council. Readers are welcome to contact the author with any news or views on the local heritage at DHealey204@aol.com or by telephoning 01978 761 523.