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Valley Site, Rhydymwyn, Historic Environment Management Plan

The Valley Site, Rhydymwyn

Located in the village of Rhydymwyn in Flintshire between Mold and St. Asaph, the Valley Site, now managed as a nature reserve, was once known as MS (Ministry of Supply) Valley and produced and stored Mustard Gas and munitions during the Second World War. Research leading to the building of the first atomic bomb was also undertaken there. The long, narrow site sits in the bottom of a wooded valley, and has an area of approximately 35 hectares. North East Wales Wildlife and the owners, the Estates Division of DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are currently negotiating to sign a 10-year management agreement for the site.

Right: The Valley Site, Rhydymwyn. Copyright Birmingham Archaeology

The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust became involved when approached by a member of the public who was concerned about the preservation and conservation of the historic remains at this important site. CPAT was invited by DEFRA to send a representative to sit on the Rhydymwyn Joint Consultative Board. This body has the aims of encouraging dialogue, promoting ideas and arriving at practical solutions to management and access issues at the site. CPAT acts in an advisory capacity with regard to the archaeology and history.

In 2005 DEFRA agreed to fund an Historic Environment Management Plan to complement the Wildlife Management Plan produced by North East Wales Wildlife. CPAT worked with DEFRA to decide on the most suitable candidate, and following a tender exercise, a contract was awarded to Birmingham Archaeology. The management plan involved:

  • Assessment of the on-site documentary archive held at the Valley Site visitor centre
  • Collation of background historical information through desk top survey and map regression analysis
  • Assessment of the current survey record of the underground chambers, with proposals for further detailed archaeological survey/recording as appropriate
  • Archaeological recording of surviving buildings and structures, including condition survey
  • Making a digital video record of the site
  • Analysis and assessment of the historic significance of the site and its surviving buildings and ancillary historic features, including condition survey
  • Preparation of proposals for repair, conservation and ongoing management of buildings and historic features, with outline specifications and indicative costings as appropriate
  • Preparation of proposals for public interpretation/engagement.

    The finished project reports will soon be available for study at the Valley Site Interpretation Centre, and other archives at a later date. CPAT is looking forward to working with the other interested parties to further develop the archaeological and historical aspects of the Valley Site for research and education purposes; for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community and the wider public.

    For further information visit the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society website at

    Paint shop, 25lb shells

    Site of the 'Tube Alloys' project

    The paint shop for 25lb shells (left), and the building used for the 'Tube Alloys' project (right), where research leading to the building of the first atomic bomb was undertaken. Copyright Birmingham Archaeology

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