Today, I got the wonderful opportunity to not only attend the open day of the fabulous emerging new heritage and natural conservation project near the Flintshire village of Hope: The Park in the Past. Moreover, I got a guided tour by one of the directors of the project: Phil Hirst.

Built over 120 acres of former sand and gravel quarries beside the River Alyn – the Fagl Lane Quarry – the site is surrounded by a rich archaeological landscape of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and early medieval monuments – including my favourite linear earthwork: Wat’s Dyke. Indeed, the site is positioned between Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke, in a strategic corridor of settlement and communications in the Alyn valley.

The park itself aims to have educational, leisure, conservation, community and heritage dimensions. The principal archaeological dimension is the aspiration to build a Roman fort through crowdfunding.

The Past in the Park incorporates a wide range of environments, including the river, lakes, woodland and fen.

Roman Tours re-enactors were there to greet visitors on the open day and I was astounded to see the scale of the works undertaken thus far: the construction of an auxiliary fort with the southern gateway and parts of the associated infrastructure established.

All in all, the work done so far is very exciting and the future is bright for this promising and ambitious multi-strand project. I wish them well.