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Walks to focus on ‘parrot schools’ in Bagillt and Gronant, Flintshire

ORGANISERS of popular walking festival were in a bit of a flutter when they found out about a 19th century school for parrots in rural Flintshire.

But research has shown the special school in Gronant to teach parrots how to talk is no flight of fancy.

And Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival bosses are so taken with the colourful tale it’s become the focal point for one of the 26 walks on offer from May 18-20.

The festival is run by a voluntary committee of keen walkers and is supported by Visit Wales and Tourism Partnership North Wales (TPNW).

Carole Startin, TPNW’s marketing and events executive, is on the festival committee and will be one of the guides.

She said: “In the early 1800s, there were ships bringing in exotica to the UK and into the ports at Mostyn and Liverpool from places like the Carribean and South America.

“It became the fashionable thing for people to have things like parrots or monkeys as pets.

“It is believed these schools were set up to teach the parrots to talk and sing and therefore make them more entertaining, and we believe there was one in Gronant.”

Carole first heard about the story from local historian Paul Parry, who has lived in Gronant for more than 30 years.

Another amateur historian, 90-year-old Fred Hobbs, said there was also was also a ‘parrot school’ in Bagillt in about 1900.

Paul said: “I suppose there was no television in those times – and talking parrots could be a very good form of entertainment!”