The Covid lockdown has led to a successful Denbighshire business branching out to provide a unique visitor experience which can be enjoyed by all ages.
Having resided on the slope of Moel Famau for three generations, lockdown provided the Davies family with a chance to pause and reflect on the importance that the countryside plays in people’s lives, and as a result they have opened Moel Famau Donkeys (www.moelfamaudonkeys.co.uk).
Last week Clwyd West MS Darren Millar and North Wales MS Sam Rowlands paid the family a visit to find out more about the Donkey Trail, which visitors can enjoy, and also called at their Larch Cladding Company, a bespoke, high quality cutting service for larch cladding, fencing, roof shingles, sleepers or any bespoke cut wood.
“The donkey trails are set in the most spectacular location and provide people of all ages with the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area. Walking along these trails alone is quite an experience, but having been introduced to donkeys by family friends, the Davies’ decided to put the two together to create a unique experience.
"Spending time in the outdoors with the donkeys has proven mental health benefits. Donkeys have helped servicepeople and terrorist attack survivors to cope with PTSD, as well as proving to be great therapy animals for kids with autism and learning difficulties.
“The pandemic was a challenging time for businesses, so it is very pleasing that this family businesses was able to use the time in lockdown to consider the future of their business and as a result are now providing an experience that I am sure both locals and visitors to the area will very much enjoy.”
“I was very pleased to meet the Davies family and to hear how their business has developed since they first took over the site in 1977. They began as a Dairy Farm milking 100 cows and 200 sheep on their acres, and in 1991, they diversified into a Sawmill and Horse Bedding Production facility.
“Their location in the shadow of Moel Famau, part of the beautiful Clwydian Range (AONB), is spectacular and I am therefore pleased that they are now offering a trail over the paths and fields, with an accompanying miniature donkey if you so wish!”
The trail itself is roughly 1 mile long and reaches up to 1,000ft above sea level at its highest point. The first half of the walk involves a gradual climb, overlooking Llanferres village, Loggerheads and Colomendy. Higher up and further afield walkers can see towards The Wirral, Flint, Deeside and Liverpool. On the walk there are opportunities to take in the view from the family’s bespoke, handmade, benches and plenty of chances for photos with the donkeys.
A variety of trees will also be seen during the trail. Some huge and ancient Sycamore, Beech and Ash trees and others more recently donated by the Wildlife Trust, North Wales. A variety of Silver Birch, Oak, Rowan, Hornbeam, Hazel and Scots pine were donated to help reduce flooding further down the River Alyn catchment, along with making the trail as beautiful as possible. The family are actively trying to support the local habitat and have planted wildflowers along the trail to encourage birds and bees to visit too.
After visiting the family’s Larch Cladding Company, Darren said:
“This company supplies Larch, Douglas Fir and Cedar, which I was pleased to learn is all locally sourced from sustainable forests within 50 miles, which means a lower carbon footprint from importing and a much more reliable supply chain.
“We were given a tour of the site and shown some of the beautiful bespoke products they produce.
“I wish the family continued success with their cladding company and hope that their new venture with the donkeys flourishes in the same way.”
“The family are living proof that hard work results in great success. The challenges of the past two years have not prevented them from developing their business and I am confident that their latest venture will be hugely successful. I wish them the very best going forward.”
For further information or to book to visit Moel Famau Donkeys, visit: https;//www.moelfamaudonkeys.co.uk
For further information on The Larch Cladding Company, visit ; https://www.thelarchcladdingcompany.co.uk