Sports lovers can’t go wrong in Denbighshire and Flintshire, extensive indoor and outdoor arenas offer activities for all ages. It’s not an area where premiership big names dominate, but football here still provokes strong passions.
Back of the net
You get a true sense of this at the recently-opened Rhyl FC Museum, the idea of lifelong supporter Graham Cartlidge. He spearheaded a project to convert a room underneath the old kop into a glorious exhibition of the club’s history. Flintshire’s main team is Connah’s Quay Nomads who for the last three years competed in UEFA Europa League championships after finishing in the top three of the Welsh Premier League.
Flintshire has a record of producing A-grade players. One school, Hawarden High, has turned out four international caps: former England striker Michael Owen; Wales international Andy Dorman; former Everton and Wales professional player and manager, the late Gary Speed; and Leicester City and Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward. Liverpool’s one time hero Ian Rush went to school in Flint.
Being Wales, rugby is a force to be reckoned with. Rhyl plays in the Welsh Rugby Union National League division two and most towns have their own clubs.
Hole in one
If golf is your bag, we have challenges aplenty, including courses at Llangollen, Denbigh, Ruthin, Rhuddlan, Mold, Buckley, Northop, Holywell, and Caerwys. All boast stunning countryside views and ‘19th hole’ refreshments. Prestatyn Golf Club is home to the 2019 Welsh Open Amateur/Play Championship.
Taking life up a gear Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry has a 1,452 square metre indoor wooden ramp area for skateboarders, BMX riders, scooters and in-line skaters. It’s the national home for ice sports in Wales, boasting an Olympic-sized ice pad for skate sessions, ice hockey and curling.
The 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning taekwondo champion, Jade Jones, honed her skills at Flint Leisure Centre, now named Jade Jones Pavilion. The pavilion is also a regional indoor bowling centre with a four lane flat green and eight-lane ten pin bowling alley. It has a gym, fitness suite, air hockey, 25-metre swimming pool and learner pool, plus a children’s soft play area.
Water sports enthusiasts ride the River Dee rapids in rafts, kayaks or tubes at Llangollen. Bala-based Get Wet offers High Ropes in the highest continuous course in the UK, along with paintballing and white water rafting.
Right on target with its training excellence is North Wales Shooting School, Sealand, which has hosted top shots, including Commonwealth Games competitor for Wales, Cheryl Gizzi. A clay pigeon shooting centre for 50 years, it has an olympic trap, down the line, skeets, high and low towers among its facilities.
Aiming for a bull’s eye of a different kind, Gronant Bowmen Archery Club offers target days and beginners courses.
On two wheels, Llandega Forest is adored by mountain bikers. Horse riders can saddle up at numerous riding centres across the region. If spectating is preferable, it’s a short drive to Chester or Bangor-on-Dee Races, both of which can have hearts aflutter!
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