- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Assembly Member Joyce Watson has visited RSPB Ynys-hir to see how new investment has funded major development at the Powys nature reserve.
Last week (11 September), the Mid and West AM was given a guided tour of the 700-hectare reserve by RSPB Cymru staff Dave Anning and Annie Smith.
Mrs Watson, who is a member of the Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability committee, said:
“I am very grateful to RSPB Cymru for inviting me to see first-hand the latest improvements. The reserve’s diverse mix of habitats – oak woodland, wet grassland and salt marshes – support a tremendous amount of biodiversity. This latest round of investment will help both conserve this unique environment and enhance visitors’ experience.”
Ynys-hir, which has hosted the BBC nature programme “Springwatch” for the past three years, has recently undergone major development funded by the Rural Development Plan and the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of this funding the reserve has installed a new boardwalk trail, a viewing screen, a new hide and added interpretation inspired by local poet R. S. Thomas.
Ynys-hir site manager, Dave Anning commented:
“Parts of the reserve have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Through felling an old larch plantation and ongoing careful management of birch and rhododendron we have restored a raised peat mire, providing important habitat for species such as the grasshopper warbler, bog rosemary and small red damselfly. Peat mires also deliver an important ecosystem service, they sequester carbon therefore reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We’re also delighted that our habitat management elsewhere on the reserve is currently giving a home to a spotted crake – a scarce migrant visitor to Wales.”
Annie Smith, sustainable development manager for RSPB Cymru, added:
“The reserve is managed to provide habitat for priority species – areas of wet grassland provide a home for Wales’ largest breeding population of lapwings and the Atlantic Oak woodlands are home to summer migrants like pied fly catchers. These habitats also provide essential ecosystem services and economic benefits through visits to the area and contract work on the reserve. We believe this is a great example of sustainable land management in practice”.