Welsh beauty site called ‘rat central’ as rodents flock to trees and caravans terrorize vacationers in the park

Wildlife-lovers have called for action at an insect-infested nature reserve called “Rat Central” by frightened visitors. Rodents regularly roam the paths and are blamed for reducing bird life.

Walkers say that the number of rats is so high that they form swarms on trees in search of eggs in bird’s nests. Holidaymakers surprised at a nearby caravan site are also reluctant to make the trip to Brickfield Pond in Rhyl.

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The finger of blame is pointed at two women who daily distribute fodder at the beauty site. Denbyshire Council’s efforts to tackle the problem met with initial success, but residents complain that rat numbers are on the rise again. It is said that strange rodents often hang out on paths and around picnic tables, waiting for their daily feed.

Some people are happy to see rats as they help clean up food and litter dropped by human visitors. Others complain that dog poo and vandalism are a major issue in the nine-acre old mud pit.

Last week Sue Nelson counted 22 rats walking around the 1km perimeter path of the reserve with her two dogs. The last count was 19, then 20. “The rats have now almost defied the place,” said the retired college lecturer, 74. “Which is a shame, because it’s such a beautiful place.”

Rat complaints in Brickfields date back at least a decade. In 2014 it was dubbed “rat central” in a TripAdvisor review by a mother who grabbed her two babies and “run away”. Until the first lockdown in 2020, rat numbers were reported to be out of control, with one woman describing her visit as “terrible”.

She wrote, “I’ve never been so disappointed.” “My granddaughter was absolutely scared. We ended up screaming and making noises, hoping to scare her, to no avail.”

Visitors complain that Brickfields Pond Nature Reserve is overrun by rats
(Image credit: Susan Nelson)
Rats Are Said To Roam Here And There For The Daily Distribution Of Bird Seed And Bread
Rats are said to roam here and there for the daily distribution of bird seed and bread
(Image credit: Susan Nelson)

Some confrontations could be heated, Sue said. “Last week one of the ladies called me ak***head because she walked past,” she said. “Many things have been told to me but never like that!”

One mother complained that females yelled at their young, aged five and six, when they used to scare pigeons away with seeds kept for them and rats. “He called them terrible kids,” she said.

According to Brickfield’s regulars, the rats have become “shameless” as people roam the paths, only to run away at the last minute. Sue believes he has developed some kind of Pavlovian reaction to his daily food routine.

“You can set your clocks when the lady comes to eat,” she said. “They come every day at 5 pm. A woman puts bird feed for pigeons in a car park, then runs and pierces bread by a mouse.

“The other woman brings in finely cut cubes of brown bread which she puts in the rat hole. On the day they don’t come, you can see the rats waiting for them. ,

Campaigners for vermin control claim that rats are a threat to human and dog health. Sue has her dogs vaccinated against leptospirosis and says that rat infection poses a particular danger to children, the risk of transmission of whale disease.

Others say the problem is exaggerated and that rats are “misunderstood”. One woman wrote on Facebook, ‘We are more scared of them. I pick up the trash every day and the dropped cans, bottles and wrappers are a disgrace. At least the rats don’t leave such a mess.

Denbighshire Council said it was aware of the problems and had taken steps to deal with them. A spokesman said: “We would ask people not to leave feed on the streets and paths around Brickfield Pond.

“Our countryside service has built wooden signage on site to discourage site visitors from feeding rats directly. To help reduce the number of rats on the site, we also have our own bird feeders off site. Remove it.

“Bird feeding tables have been installed in the area to allow visitors to drop off any feed in a more responsible manner.” RSPB Simru was also contacted for a comment.

A severed cat’s head was found under mysterious circumstances at the site last summer.

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