A 300-MILLION-year-old fossil forest in Wrexham has potential to become a world-class tourist attraction.
The incredible ancient find would be the main atraction of a new visitor centre.
Consultants Ian Parkin and Lorna Jenner said there were probably less than 10 fossil forests in the world.
Local historian Brian Stapley, who is a member of Brymbo Heritage Group, is excited at the prospect.
He said: “There are so many historic aspects on the same area.
“It’s amazing that experts who have visited Brymbo have also been very impressed particularly by the fossil forest which they described as unique.
”Listed builings at the former Brymbo Steelworks also have scope to draw scores of tourists, according to a report commissioned by Brymbo Heritage Group.
But the project would need huge funding, the restoration of former works buildings and acquisition of land, consultants have warned.
A key attraction of a new-and-improved heritage site could be the restored agent’s house, which could host concerts, exhibitions, conferences and training, consultants told Brymbo Community Council.
It could also include the restored number one furnace, foundry areas and blast colliery buildings, plus reconstructed original winding headgear.
Brymbo councillor Paul Rogers said: “The potential is there to have a mixed use site, but what is clear is that going forward interested parties need to work together to protect the site and restore these historic structures.”
Cllr Mike Shone added the centre would have to be attractive if it was to be a success.
Pioneering industrialist John Wilkinson bought the Brymbo Hall site in 1792 as coal, ironstone, clay and limestone were all present on or close to the site.
The foundry closed in 1985 leaving a vast area of land for development, along with listed and other historic buildings.
Today the site is regularly visited by schoolchildren and historians, but Brymbo Heritage Group has ambitious plans to develop it further by building a vistor centre, among other projects.
Mr Parkin said further consultation was needed, but he was in no doubt that the proposed centre would be a major attraction in North East Wales.
Landowners Brymbo Development Ltd have submitted a bid to build homes on a 2.3-hectare section of land at the steelworks. Homes would be built near the former lagoon area to the north east of College Road, opposite Bryn Gwenfro in Tanyfron, if given the go-ahead.
The company also has plans for an 18,000 sq ft supermarket and says cash generated from the scheme would go to building a new road.