History of Hiraethog – 20th Century to Today
The 20th century saw the biggest changes taking place in Hiraethog, shaping much of the landscape as we see it today. At the beginning of the 20th century, the moors were managed for grouse shooting, and today you can still make out the shooting butts, stone walls, and remains of the lonely shooting lodge as you walk on Mynydd Hiraethog.
The planting of a huge coniferous forest across 100km2 of moor and deserted hill farms began, linking them with existing woodlands. Today, Clocaenog Forest is home to numerous species of wildlife including the rare black grouse, and has become the last stronghold for the largest population of red squirrels in Wales, as well as central point for enjoying walking, mountain biking and horse riding, and generally experiencing all that the great outdoors has to offer.
Work also started in the early 1900s on the dam for the Alwen Reservoir. This was such a significant project that a temporary village had to be established for the labour force of 100, and a school was opened for the 60 or so children. Work on the larger lake, Llyn Brenig, started much later in 1973 and lasted for three years.
Both reservoirs now provide water to homes across North Wales as well as regulating the flow of the River Dee. The Alwen and the Brenig reservoirs are great places for fishing, walking, mountain biking and picnicking and also for spotting wildlife including moorland birds and butterflies.
The most recent development to the area has been the introduction of wind turbines across Mynydd Hiraethog – a contemporary addition, and the latest chapter in this changing landscape.
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