• Three places to find a peaceful moment at Lake Vyrnwy

    It’s mental health awareness week, and the theme is nature. The past year has really highlighted the importance of nature for our wellbeing, and how vital it is that everyone has access to wild spaces. Below are three easy to find, peaceful places around the reserve at Lake Vyrnwy, where you can get a good dose of nature any time of year- have you experienced them all?

    • The giants of Vyrnwy:
      Follow the road alongside…
    • 10 May 2021
  • Nature's welcome party

    An insight into our new warden Grove's first few months working at Lake Vyrnwy.

    On a cold and overcast day back in January, I arrived at Lake Vyrnwy for my first day as a Warden. This is a dream job for me, and it felt great pulling that blue polo shirt over my head that morning. It is a strange time to start a new role, a lockdown in full swing resulting in an eerie yet peaceful feel to the Lake. Virtual meet and…

    • 25 Mar 2021
  • They're still coming!

    As a reminder, following the latest clear instructions from the Government for us all to remain at home apart from a limited number of allowed activities, all of our reserves, including Lake Vyrnwy are closed to visitors until further notice. Our efforts will now move to helping the millions of people spending time at home. We are determined to do our bit to try and help connect people with the amazing wildlife to be…

    • 24 Mar 2020
  • Landscapes

    Photo by Gethin Elias

    The more you get to know Lake Vyrnwy, the more you realise it’s a place of magical landscapes.

    Photo by Gethin Elias

    Whether it be a golden dawn with whisps of lavender coloured mist or deep valley’s carpeted in a sea of fog.

    Photo by Gethin Elias

    As the mornings slowly lighten, we start to feel that maybe spring is around the corner. The birds have started singing both mistle and…

    • 8 Feb 2020
  • Winter Wanders

    Things have quietened down on the reserve since the busy days of summer. It can seem like there isn’t much wildlife about here at this time of year but goshawks, peregrines, finch flocks (brambling, crossbill, etc.) can still be seen. On Tuesday there was a rarer visitor to the lake in the form of a great northern diver, the first recorded in Montgomeryshire since 2005. These beautiful (especially in summer) birds…

    • 12 Dec 2019
  • Festive Colours

    At this time of year, we have started to lose the kaleidoscope of Autumn colours and there is now a general lack of colour which has its own beauty. A hard frost or sprinkling of snow soon gives the landscape a dramatic, atmospheric feel, especially with some lingering mist or fog and early morning rays of sunshine pushing through.

    Though landscapes appear colourless, taking a closer look at smaller elements of the natural…

    • 6 Dec 2019
  • Season of all Seasons

    Autumn is seen as a season of change, and therefore you can often experience all four seasons within a short period of time. This has been quite true in the last few weeks which has led to spectacular scenery, subtle colours and wild weather.

    The usual autumnal feel has been dominant with; deciduous leaves creating a kaleidoscope of reds, ambers and yellows; temperatures averaging in single figures; and nuts and berries…

    • 1 Nov 2019
  • Gone Batty!

    It won’t have slipped your attention that signs of autumn are upon us, and with this changing of the season comes the change in wildlife. Most of our summer visitors have headed south, with pied flycatcher and cuckoo likely to be in southern Europe or even Africa by now, and trees are bearing fruit in time for the arrival of winter thrushes and supporting species looking to stock up for the winter, such as squirrels,…

    • 6 Sep 2019
  • Flash from the Past

    You will no doubt have noticed that this year appears to have been an exceptionally good for butterflies for many species. The mass invasion of painted ladies has been reported widely and though we don't have anything like the numbers being recorded on the coast there has certainly be an increase. But, it's species like the peacock butterfly that have perhaps given the best spectacle here at Lake Vyrnwy with 16+ individuals…

    • 16 Aug 2019
  • A Clear Success

    It's been great to have some warm sunny weather after what has been quite a wet late spring, early summer. This has been perfect for the emergence of thousands of insects from the fluttering butterflies to the humming hoverflies and not forgetting the pestering midgies! Some species, such as meadow brown and ringlet butterflies can be abundant and seen very easily as you walk along grassy paths but others take a little…

    • 18 Jul 2019
  • Look What I've Seen

    Sometimes you can get lucky and see a particular element of nature just when you want, but at other times you have to be patient and try, try and try again.

    I asked Ed, one of our Intern Volunteers to cover his recent experience at Vyrnwy:

    After six weeks off following an operation it was great to come back to Vyrnwy and see the place transformed into full spring bloom. I also came back in time for one of the busiest…

    • 31 May 2019
  • Out and About

    At this time of year the wardening team are out and about as much as possible surveying the key bird species breeding on the reserve. This year we are concentrating on the moorland, with surveys for hen harrier, merlin, curlew, black grouse, red grouse and ring ouzel taking place. For most species it is still early days, though thankfully the early morning grouse surveys are well behind us. Though the moorlands are being…

    • 23 May 2019
  • Reasons to be Cheerful

    I must admit that I was feeling pleased with my day’s work after laying the final section of laminate flooring in the hallway of Glynafon volunteer accommodation and when I got home and was told it was steak for dinner with a nice bottle of Rioja I felt even more cheerful. That mood had continued today as I write the latest volunteers’ blog and there are still more reasons to be cheerful both at Lake Vyrnwy and at home…

    • 24 Apr 2019
  • No it wasn't! But maybe now...

    Our last post a couple of weeks ago was entitled ‘Is it Spring yet?’, well this posts title answers that question. The weather has again been one of the talking points with a return to wintery scenes and then a week of cold crisp Spring mornings. This has certainly had an impact on the arrival of spring migrants, as some will have halted their journey and others that had already arrived may have temporarily moved…

    • 14 Apr 2019
  • Is it Spring yet?

    Our February summer seems a distant memory with rain, a bit of snow, and storms being the weather of choice for March. However, there have been a few pleasant days in the last week or so and Spring is developing nicely. Though we are still in limbo with winter migrants still present and the first signs of Spring appearing.

    Rain makes for a nice view of the dam (Image by Gavin Chambers)

    Fieldfares, a winter visitor, are…

    • 22 Mar 2019
  • Opportunity Knocks

    Last year we started a project to renovate the volunteer accommodation at Lake Vyrnwy – two attached bungalows named Glynafon and Minafon. This has been quite a major project, reminiscent of a “Homes Under the Hammer” feature, project managed by Assistant Warden Gethin. It has involved new windows and external doors, new heating including a Solar Panel to supplement heating water, new bathrooms, complete redecoration…

    • 7 Mar 2019
  • February Summer!

    I sit here listening to a blackbird sing, joyful notes that remind me of long summer days; watching the sunlight fade and the dew settle, glimmering on all surfaces. Bumble bees are fumbling along from flower to flower and butterflies are visiting the delicate stamens of early flowering crocuses. The frogs are croaking loudly as they spawn in the garden pond in a mass of wriggling jelly. The thermometer got to 18C again…

    • 28 Feb 2019
  • Cross Team Work Party

    Before Christmas, staff and volunteers from the Mid-Wales reserves team got together at Ynys-hir to help with a couple of days of bog management. So, on Friday the 17th February, the team repaid the favour and travelled down to Gwenffrwd-Dinas near Llandovery to help the wardens there with some woodland management.

    Ynys-hir in November

    It was forecast to be a beautiful day, and though it started off a little cool it…

    • 21 Feb 2019
  • Cameras, Computers, Cardboard and Carpenters

    When those incredible engineers and artisans built the dam that created Lake Vyrnwy what we now regard as everyday technology had not even been dreamed of. Back then phones were limited to the very few, cameras were for specialists, moving pictures and computers were still to be invented, but they have all been involved with our volunteers over the past couple of weeks.

    Bethan has spent two weeks at Lake Vyrnwy volunteering…

    • 12 Feb 2019
  • Purple Review

    A new year can bring many new things, but one guarantee is that the weather is still unpredictable. On Sunday, I decided to take a walk along the Purple Trail to both stretch my legs and see what is out and about at the moment. A sunny afternoon was forecast so I didn’t arrive until after lunch, and there was a glimmer of sunshine as I drove around the lake in the form of a rainbow over a rough, choppy lake.


    • 17 Jan 2019
  • Winter Solstice

    Here’s a little bit I found online about the winter solstice.

    "Our ancient ancestors celebrated Yule, and when Christianity was introduced the church opted for this time of year to celebrate Christmas, with many of the Yule traditions and practices absorbed into Christmas festivities. We can hear echoes of pagan songs in Christmas carols, and just like our ancestors we light candles and fires, decorate our homes…

    • 20 Dec 2018
  • A Walk on the Wet Side

    Rhiwargor waterfall on 2nd December by Gavin Chambers

    The last week has been a rollercoaster of weather, starting with strong winds from Storm Diana, persistent rain over the weekend and now to a week of up and down temperatures from zero degrees to 10+ degrees but very little sunshine. Being raised in Scotland, I would class the past week as rather dreich.

    However, rain isn’t all bad as Jampa wrote about in a recent…

    • 6 Dec 2018
  • A New Beginning

    New Beginning

    I could have started this blog with a note about people leaving Vyrnwy, but that sounds a bit sad, so instead I want to mention a new beginning.

    Sue joined the Vyrnwy team as a long-term volunteer intern. Below you can read how Sue spent her time with us. I did ask her a while back why she joined as an intern, her response was to gain experience hopefully leading to a job in conservation – a career change…

    • 21 Nov 2018
  • Through the Seasons

    Seasons in Lake Vyrnwy can be magical if you’re lucky. Look at Vyrnwy through the eyes of an assistant warden, these are all my photos (Gethin Elias) click on them to enlarge.
    Lake Vyrnwy is a beautiful place to work. There are many different landscapes to see in a place where the weather changes daily.

    Hidden corners, places yet to be discovered or the same view in different weather.

    A perfect winter’s day in…

    • 15 Nov 2018
  • The Dreaded C word...

    ... yes it's almost Christmas!

    I’m sure Christmas has started to appear on everyone’s radar now we’re into November but it’s been on mine since July when we took delivery of our Christmas cards, diaries and calendars ready for the Royal Welsh Show and our loyal supporters! We’re now knee deep in Christmas here at Lake Vyrnwy preparing for Christmas fairs, local group talks and much more. Each year Shropshire RSPB…

    • 8 Nov 2018