Denbighshire is a county, primarily rural, in north-east Wales, bordering the counties of Conwy, Flintshire, Wrexham, and Powys (Montgomeryshire). The largest towns on the coast are Rhyl and Prestatyn.
This is the longest known inhabited part of Wales. Pontnewydd (Bontnewydd-Llanelwy) Palaeolithic site has Neanderthal remains from 225,000 years ago.
Its several castles include Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Ruthin, Castell Dinas Bran and Bodelwyddan. St Asaph, one of the smallest cities in Britain, has one of the smallest Anglican cathedrals.
It has a length of coast to the north and hill ranges to the east, south and west. In the central part, the River Clwyd has created a broad fertile valley.
Crops are grown in the Vale of Clwyd and cattle and sheep reared in the uplands. The coast attracts summer tourists, and hikers frequent the Clwydian Range, which forms an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the upper Dee Valley.
Denbighshire’s total population was 93,734 at the 2011 census. Approximately a quarter of the population are able to speak Welsh.
Since the 20th-Century demise of the coal and steel industries in the Wrexham area, there are no heavy industrial sites in the county. Although most towns have small industrial parks or estates for light industry, the economy is based on agriculture and tourism.
Many towns have livestock markets and the farming supports farm machinery merchants, vets, feed merchants, contractors and other ancillary trades. With their incomes on the decline, farmers have found opportunities in tourism, rural crafts, specialist food shops, farmers’ markets and value-added food products.
Tourism is nowadays the main source of income. The upland areas with their sheep farms and small, stone-walled fields are attractive to visitors. Redundant farm buildings are often converted into self-catering accommodation, while many farmhouses supply bed and breakfast.
The travel trade began with the arrival of the railway on the coast in the mid-19th Century, opening up the area from Merseyside. This led to a boom in seaside guest houses. More recently, caravan sites and holiday villages have thrived and there has been an increase in ownership of holiday homes.
Llangollen, a town on the River Dee, hosts the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July each year.