Wolf's Den II: expansion plans

A young boy crawling through a hollowed out tree in Wolf's Den natural play area

Our natural play area has been so popular since its launch in 2013, the estate team is looking to expand it, but only after carefully considering our wildlife habitats, consulting with the public and our partners. 

Climbing trees and getting muddy knees are memories from childhood we all treasure. But when we built our Wolf’s Den natural play area in 2013, it was fuelled by our Natural Childhood report that had highlighted children were losing their connection to nature. Time spent outdoors had halved in just one generation.

Since 2013, our natural play area complete with den building, rope swings, balancing beams and wooden carvings of wolves has seen thousands of families leaping and swinging into the woodland space next to our historic walled garden. 

Discover two wolves in Erddig's natural play area
One of Erddig's carved wolves with children playing in background
Discover two wolves in Erddig's natural play area

Winter conservation

The play area has been so popular, the ground around the beautiful trees has been compacted, restricting their ability to draw in the nutrients they need to thrive, in turn restricting our opening times. We’ve had to close Wolf’s Den for winter conservation, to allow the trees time and space to breathe; a big disappointment to visitors who like to visit us throughout the year.

Wolf’s Den II 

A solution to this problem would be to develop another natural play area in the woodland next to Wolf’s Den, so that we have two areas available to use and rotate. This would allow our visitors to play naturally throughout the year. We’ve identified the space in the original historic pleasure ground designed by William Emes that runs next to the historic remains of the Norman Motte and Bailey castle.

Head Ranger and National Trust Project Manager James Stein said:
“It’s very early days and there’s still a lot of work to be done to research and investigate the area and its rich variety of wildlife. We’ll be working with a range of partners over the coming months to see what’s feasible, but we’d like to start the ball rolling, or sow seeds, by sharing some initial ideas and asking our Easter visitors what they’d like to see.”

What would you like to see in a new play area?
A watercolour artist's impression of how Wolf's Den II could look
What would you like to see in a new play area?

Tell us what you think

During the Easter holidays we’re running an informal consultation from 15 to 29 April in Wolf’s Den to gather some initial thoughts and ideas from our visitors.

Take a look at the artist’s impression created for the space and the kind of things we’re exploring for the space, using natural materials from the estate and doing everything we can to ensure everyone who visits gets the most out of a special connection with nature. From smelling wild garlic and listening out for the woodpeckers in spring to identifying fallen leaves and seeds in autumn and winter.

You can feedback your comments by emailing the Project Manager on erddig@nationaltrust.org.uk , by finding us on social or by posting them to us at National Trust Erddig, Wrexham LL13 OYT marking them Wolf’s Den II informal consultation. We’ll also be on site in Wolf’s Den from 15 April to 29 April asking for feedback during the Easter holidays, so be sure to come and have a look at the plans and tell us what you think.