AN area of land on the border of Wrexham and Flintshire has seen a reversal of fortunes with thousands of tonnes of soil being delivered to transform it into a unique heritage attraction.

Park in the Past in Hope was once a quarry - but now lorries are rolling in the opposite direction to deliver soil be used to landscape the ambitious project that will bring history - and prehistory - to life.

The truckloads of clean soil - thought to be in the region of 50,000 cubic metres - has come from the Smurfit Kappa site in Mold. The company has been a major supporter of the project.

Work to complete the amazing prehistoric realm has been challenged by the coronavirus pandemic and bad weather - but it is on track for a soft launch on June 1 when people will be able to enter the park's greenspaces again.

The attraction will feature a full-scale Roman fort and Celtic village, enabling visitors to explore and experience the heritage and landscape of their ancestors.

Park in the Past, Hope - how the attraction will look when the landscaping work is complete

Park in the Past, Hope - how the attraction will look when the landscaping work is complete

Work at the site does mean that the park will remain closed to visitors - at a time when people are allowed to visit other outdoor destinations in Wales - who are usually able to enjoy the 120 acres of outstanding natural beauty.

The park comprises woodlands and wetlands, a magnificent 35-acre lake and the River Alyn, as well as walking trails and spacious fields.

One of the directors Phil Hirst on the community interest company and project champion Paul Harston said bad weather earlier this year delayed the landscaping scheme and they have been playing catch up ever since.

At the moment, they say, things are slightly ahead of schedule but a spell of wet weather could slow things down again. However, they think it is achievable to complete the landscaping scheme and prepare the site for limited opening by June 1 - subject to covid regulations.

Park in the Past, Hope

Park in the Past, Hope

Phil said: "We are in week five of the 12 week project and it is progressing well.

"They are bringing soil every single day and are in the process of shaping or landforming the new experience, which I'm calling the reception realm. Essentially it is a prehistoric realm that the visitors will walk into when they arrive. They will be able to access information at the visitor centre, which hasn't been built yet. It's a piecemeal process.

"Smurfit Kappa are extending their factory and had to get rid of tonnes of clean soil, and coincidently we needed soil to landform the front part of the park. So we are working together in partnership now; we are moving the soil around according to the architect's drawings to create this interesting, post-glacial environment. Part of the scheme is to recreate what this part of the world would have looked like after the Ice Age, twelve to ten thousand years ago."

Phil added that the site had been used as a quarry for building materials, such as sand and gravel.

"We are using some of those very same building materials in the project and to create what we want to happen there," he added.

"The quarry removed the material and now we are putting some of it back. But that is the only way to recreate this environment."

The site was as the quarry company left it about 12 years ago, and the area being landscaped was essentially a "sandpit" with little vegetation. There will be a stone circle, an earth house, a burial mound, a Roman fort, and an Iron Age farmstead.

"So it's all happening!" added Phil.

"What we want to do is create this heritage experience where people can step back in time and experience what that part of the world was like just before the Romans arrived."