Sir Ddinbych
County and Principal area

Coat of arms

Denbighshire shown within Wales
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Constituent country  Wales
Preserved county Clwyd
Established 1 April 1996
Administrative HQ Ruthin
  Type Principal council
  Body Denbighshire County Council
  Executive TBA (council NOC)
  Leader Hugh Evans (Independent)
  Chairman Gwyneth Kensler
  Chief Executive Mohammed Mehmet
  MPs Dr James Davies (C)
David Jones (C)
Susan Jones (L)
  Total 326 sq mi (844 km2)
Area rank 8th
Population (2011)
  Total 93,700
  Rank 16th
  Density 300/sq mi (115/km2)
  Ethnicity 99.3% white
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
GSS code W06000004
ISO 3166-2 GB-DEN
NUTS 3 code UKL13
ONS code 00NG

Denbighshire (Welsh: Sir Ddinbych) is a county in north-east Wales. It is named after the historic county of Denbighshire, but has substantially different borders. Denbighshire has the distinction of being the longest known inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd (Bontnewydd-Llanelwy) Palaeolithic site has Neanderthal remains from 225,000 years ago. There are several castles in the region: Denbigh Castle, Rhuddlan Castle, Ruthin Castle, Castell Dinas Bran and Bodelwyddan Castle. One of Britain's smallest cathedrals is at St Asaph, itself one of the smallest cities.

Denbighshire has a length of coast to the north and hill ranges on its eastern, southern and western borders. In the central part, the River Clwyd has created a broad fertile valley. It is primarily a rural county with little industry. Crops are grown in the Vale of Clwyd and cattle and sheep reared in the upland parts. The coast attracts tourists in the summer and hikers frequent the Clwydian Range, which with the upper Dee Valley, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Denbigh, Ruthin and Saint Asaph are historic towns. Llangollen hosts the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July each year.[1]


The present main area was formed on 1 April 1996 under the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, from various parts of the county of Clwyd. It includes the district of Rhuddlan (which was formed in 1974 entirely from Flintshire), the communities of Trefnant and Cefn Meiriadog from the district of Colwyn (which was entirely Denbighshire) and most of the Glyndŵr district. The part of the Glyndŵr district includes the entirety of the former Edeyrnion Rural District, which was part of the administrative county of Merionethshire before 1974, which covered the parishes of Betws Gwerfil Goch, Corwen, Gwyddelwern, Llangar, Llandrillo yn Edeirnion and Llansanffraid.[2]

Other principal areas including part of historic Denbighshire are Conwy, which picked up the remainder of 19741996 Colwyn, and the Denbighshire parts of 19741996 Aberconwy, and Wrexham, which corresponds to the pre-1974 borough of Wrexham along with most of the Wrexham Rural District and several parishes from Glyndŵr. Post-1996 Powys includes the historic Denbighshire parishes of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Llansilin and Llangedwyn, which formed part of Glyndŵr district.[2]

Early history

Researchers have found evidence that Denbighshire was inhabited at least 225,000 years ago. Bontnewydd Palaeolithic site is one of the most significant in Britain. Hominid remains of probable Neanderthals have been found along with stone tools from the later Middle Pleistocene.[3]


See List of places in Denbighshire for a list of towns and villages.

The eastern border of Denbighshire follows the ridge of the Clwydian Range, with a steep escarpment to the west, and a high point at Moel Famau (1,820 ft (555 m)).[4] The Clwydian Range is, with the upper Dee Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – one of just five in the whole of Wales.[5] The Denbigh Moors (Mynydd Hiraethog) are in the west of the county and the Berwyn Range adjacent to the southern boundary. The River Clwyd in its broad, fertile Vale runs from south to north in the centre of the county. There is a narrow coastal plain in the north where there is much residential and tourist development.[4]


Denbighshire's total population at the United Kingdom Census 2001 was 93,065, which increased to 93,734 at the 2011 census,[6] with the largest towns on the coast at Rhyl (2001 population c. 25,000) and Prestatyn (2001 population c. 18,000). According to the 2011 Census returns, 24.6 per cent of the population stated they are able to speak Welsh.[7]


Since the 20th-century demise of the coal and steel industries in the Wrexham area, there are no heavy industrial sites in the county. Although most towns have small industrial parks or estates for light industry, the economy is based on agriculture and tourism. A high proportion of the working population is employed in the service sector. The uplands support sheep and beef cattle rearing, while in the Vale of Clwyd dairy farming and wheat and barley crops predominate.[8] Many towns have livestock markets and the farming supports farm machinery merchants, vets, feed merchants, contractors and other ancillary trades.[9] With their incomes on the decline, farmers have found opportunities in tourism, rural crafts, specialist food shops, farmers' markets and value-added food products.[10]

Tourism is nowadays the main source of income. The upland areas with their sheep farms and small, stone-walled fields are attractive to visitors. Redundant farm buildings are often converted to self-catering accommodation, while many farmhouses supply bed and breakfast. The travel trade began with the arrival of the railway on the coast in the mid-19th century opening up the area from Merseyside. This led to a boom seaside guest houses. More recently, caravan sites and holiday villages have thrived and there has been an increase in ownership of holiday homes.[11] Various initiatives to boost the economy of North Wales are in progress in 2016, including a redevelopment project for the former Rhyl seafront and funfair.[12]


The North Wales Coast Line runs from Crewe to Holyhead and is operated by Virgin Trains. Trains leaving Crewe pass through Chester, cross the River Dee into Wales, and continue through Flint, Shotton, Holywell junction, Prestatyn, Rhyl, and stations to Bangor and Holyhead, from where there is a ferry service to Ireland.[13]

There are no motorways in Denbighshire. The A55 dual carriageway road passes from Chester through St Asaph to the North Wales coast at Abergele, after which it runs parallel to the railway through Conway and Bangor to Holyhead. The A548 passes from Chester to Abergele through Deeside and along the coast, before leaving the coast and terminating at Llanrwst. The main road from London is the A5 which passes north-westwards through Llangollen, Corwen and Betws-y-Coed to join the A55 and terminate at Bangor. The A543 crosses the Denbigh Moors from south-east to north-west, and the A525 links Ruthin with St Asaph.[14] There are local bus services between the main towns. Several services by Arriva Wales run along the main coast road between Chester and Holyhead, linking the coastal resorts. Another route links Rhyl to Denbigh.[15]

See also


  1. "Attractions in Clwyd". Britain Express. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Local Government (Wales) Act 1994". The National Archives. legislation, Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  3. "Pontnewydd Cave". University of Central Lancashire. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  4. 1 2 Philip's (1994). Modern School Atlas. George Philip & Son. p. 26. ISBN 0-540-05278-7.
  5. "Clwydian Range". North East Wales. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  6. "Local Authority population 2011". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  7. Stat Wales Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  8. "Clwyd". NFU Cymru. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  9. Morris, Jan (2014). Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country. Penguin Books Limited. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-241-97024-9.
  10. Nienaber, Birte (2016). Globalization and Europe's Rural Regions. Routledge. pp. 76–83. ISBN 978-1-317-12709-3.
  11. Boniface, Brian G.; Cooper, Chris; Cooper, Robyn (2012). Worldwide Destinations: The Geography of Travel and Tourism. Routledge. pp. 129, 152–153. ISBN 978-0-08-097040-0.
  12. "Six projects to kick-start the North Wales economy in 2016". Daily Post. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  13. "Crewe to Holyhead". North Wales Coast Railway. 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  14. Concise Road Atlas: Britain. AA Publishing. 2015. pp. 47–55. ISBN 978-0-7495-7743-8.
  15. "Discover the towns of Wales". Arriva Wales. Arriva Buses Wales. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
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Coordinates: 53°05′12″N 3°21′16″W / 53.08667°N 3.35444°W / 53.08667; -3.35444

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