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Llandegla Forest and the black grouse love dance

Black grouse love dance, otherwise known as lekking
Watch the black grouse love dance - lekking - at Llandegla during spring-time

Coed Llandegla Forest is a commercial forest which is also a busy mountain biking and walking centre and a haven for wildlife such as the rare black grouse

Details: The forest has been developed by owner UPM Tilhill, within a commercial forest, into a mountain biking and visitor centre run by Oneplanet Adventure.

mountain bikers at Llandegla Forest
Llandegla Forest also has a mountain bike centre

There are routes for bikers of all abilities and a number of route-marked walks, including one which explores the eastern end of the forest by Pendinas reservoir.

Elsewhere in the forest, there are bird hides with seasonal events organised by the RSPB to view rare species such as the black grouse as well as the hen harrier.

Wildlife: The most famous of the forest's residents is the rare black grouse, but you have to get up early to see them. Each spring you can see them perform their love dance - called lekking - in the hope of securing a mate for the breeding season.

The somewhat "comical sight" can be seen from a purpose-built hide in the forest as part of an organised visit - starting at 5.15am. Use the weblinks to find out more.

Dawn chorus: And if you're up early to spot the lekking, you will get the chance to hear the forest waking up, as described here by wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson.

"At 0530h it was still quite dark but the forest rang out with the songs of blackbirds, robins, wrens and several of the pine wood specialist birds.

"Tiny goldcrests, one of our smallest birds, rattled out a shimmering song of a very high frequency that sounded like an out of control sewing machine," says Chris.

"Underpinning this was the rapid, two note rhythm of coal tits, the quiet trilling of treecreepers and the 'chip chip' notes of a pine cone specialist, the crossbill zipping down the forest rides.

"The dawn chorus in Coed Llandegla forest that morning had all the wild tones of free form jazz and as a magical mix of mist and sunlight raced down the tracks a chaffinch, always late on the scene, chattered its descending notes whilst nearby a song thrush sang out unseen, its repeated phrases filtered through the dense forest acoustic.

"By 0630h many of the sounds had a softer edge and just a few soloists sang out. A buzzard soaring overhead mewed contact calls to its mate somewhere across the canopy and a blackbird rattled a piercing ring of alarm calls that rolled out across the carpet of pine needles covering the forest floor.

"By now birdsong was reduced and the rain resumed its splattering of water on my microphones to blur the balance between weather and wildlife, the music of dawn passing into the sounds of the day."

Location: Coed Llandegla Forest is located on the A525, seven miles west of Wrexham. From Chester take the A483 south from Chester towards Wrexham then take the A525 west, signed Ruthin. From the Ruthin area take the A525 east towards Wrexham. Coed Llandegla Forest is signed from the road.



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