Spring is an exciting time of year at South Stack, and many visitors to the nature reserve enjoyed the unusually warm weather during half-term week. Stonechats are starting to hold territory on the heath, choughs are actively renewing their pair bonds, and we’ve seen guillemots and razorbills on the seacliff ledges, though it will be many weeks before they lay eggs.
We’ve been finishing off the last of the winter management work, and preparing for the biggest change at the reserve for a decade. During the summer, rebuilding work will mean some exciting changes for the Visitor Centre, café and office – as we outlined in this earlier post. We are in the process of appointing a contractor, after which we’ll be able to provide some precise information about what it will mean for visitor facilities this summer. But the most important thing to know is that RSPB South Stack nature reserve (and the lighthouse, daily from 6 April) are very much open, even if some of the RSPB facilities will be limited.
As preparation for this, we are clearing vegetation for the new sewage system below the Visitor Centre. It will look dramatically different, but we are doing it before the breeding season to minimise its impact on nature. This has been approved by Natural Resources Wales, whose duty is to ensure that the Site of Special Scientific Interest is not damaged by the changes.
We are also now, following local consultation, able to provide details of parking charges that will start this spring for non-members. We have listened to extensive feedback and have made considerable changes from the original proposal, including offer a lower rate for short stay visitors, trialling an annual pass for all Anglesey residents, and offering free parking to holders of blue badge permits.
We will also offer a lower rate until the building work is completed. From 1 April, vehicles will be free for the first two hours, thereafter £2.50 for the whole day. Parking will remain free to RSPB members (if membership card is displayed on the dashboard) and blue badge permit holders. Charges apply from 9am-5pm and, as now, no overnight parking will be permitted.
Details of these changes, including how Anglesey residents can get a one-year parking permit, are on the Frequently Asked Questions that can be downloaded below (pdf).
We recognise that not everyone supports car park charges at RSPB South Stack but believe we have responded positively to the feedback we’ve received. These charges are essential to make up the shortfall in annual costs of managing the nature reserve and facilities for all visitors to the site, and give our trustees the confidence to make a big investment in the rebuilding work.
Summer 2019 is set to be a busy year for us, and we’ll keep you posted with updates on site and online. We’re very excited to be part of the next chapter of the South Stack story.
As a Life Member of the RSPB, I really think you have made the RSPB’s reputation go downwards with the local neighboures that live in the area of the South Stack Reserve and I have to say I agree with the local population. I think it was a very bad idea for the RSPB to go ahead with the appeal to have parking meters for non members of the RSPB. And now as it looks like the RSPB are going to have car park charges, it’s not very good to have the local members of the loca population against you and that doesn’t bode well for South Stack Cliffs or the RSPB locally.
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