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 with evergreen plants, feast, dance, and give gifts. Whatever your religious background, Winter Solstice offers a perfect opportunity to get together with family and reflect on the year that has gone and the year to come. If your family have different religious beliefs, Winter Solstice is a good chance to be together and celebrate a non-denominational festival, a time of gratitude for Nature’s cycles.

Solstice means ‘sun stand still’, and this is the time when the sun seems to halt in the sky. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year, and Yule is connected to the joy at the birth of the Sun God, child of the Goddess. It is a celebration of rebirth. This is the turning point of the year, when the days gradually become longer and the darkness of winter is overcome. It is easy to understand why our ancestors held Solstice in such reverence. Their lives were governed by the sun, and the promise of its return would, of course, be sacred. Today, our relationship with the natural world has much less of an impact on our everyday lives; in fact, 21st century people can, and do, forget the world outside their window."(

Lake Vyrnwy on the solstice in 2015 by Gethin Elias

Dark, wet and cold. It’s that time of year when you start dreaming of spring.

Close your eyes and imagine you can hear the repetitive notes of a song thrush, a great tits “teacher, teacher, teacher” song or a chaffinch just getting started. The sun is warm on your face as you sit in the garden, the odd fumbling insects buzzes by after a long winter and the first sulphur yellow of primroses are starting to show.

Oh I can’t wait, I hear you say. But before we visit spring again lets enjoy the remaining months of winter.

If your kids like jumping in puddles or playing in the mud, playing pooh sticks or exploring Lake Vyrnwy has plenty of this to do at this time of year.

Lake Vyrnwy is all about water, gushing and gurgling from every river, stream or ditch. The waterfall on the green trail will be superb, the water is rushing over the dam and looks amazing and if you fancy doing a spot of birdwatching, Coed y Capel hide is very busy. If your lucky you might see a woodcock or hear a buzzing willow tit around the reserve. Whatever you might get up to enjoy yourselves and have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gethin Elias, Assistant Warden

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