The Dee Estuary has been the commercial focus of Flintshire for centuries. The easy transport afforded by the river facilitated the establishment of industries along the water’s edge and numerous small ports developed, bringing employment and prosperity.
The opening of the railway along the North Wales coast, the demise of many of the traditional industries, and the improved roads, coupled with the continuing battle with the silting of the estuary, took their toll and the maritime activity on the estuary has steadily declined.
Airbus still transports the wings of its aircraft by boat to Mostyn docks but fishing boats are the most frequently seen and the estuary has reverted back to a peaceful place for wildlife and quiet enjoyment.
The wide expanse of mudflats and saltmarsh might look like a barren wilderness, the no man’s land between land and sea, but the oozing mud of the estuary is fertile and full of life, second only to rainforest in terms of productivity.
The thick invertebrate soup provides a bountiful larder for thousands of birds, making it one of the most important sites in Europe for wildfowl and waders. Since the earliest times, man too has harvested this rich larder, and commercial fishing continues today.