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First stage development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has been approved for Lake Vyrnwy.
RSPB Cymru, in partnership with Hafren Dyfrdwy, is delighted to have received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our ‘Lake Vyrnwy Experience’ project, which will benefit the community, visitors and wildlife at Lake Vyrnwy.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to make Lake Vyrnwy - already home to some of the rarest wildlife in the UK, including hen harrier, black grouse and merlin – an even better home for wildlife4, by supporting greater conservation work to protect the rare upland bog and Lake Vyrnwy’s ancient woodland.
Image by Ben Hall
The project will also allow us to improve visitor facilities, meaning an even better experience for everyone who chooses to come visit Lake Vyrnwy. The project will see the redevelopment of Bethel Chapel and restoration work to attractions around the lake, such as the sculpture park, picnic areas and walking trails.
In addition, new and improved interpretation will bring to light the social heritage of Lake Vyrnwy. Development funding of just under £300k has been awarded to help RSPB Cymru and Hafren Dyfrdwy to progress their plans to apply for a full grant in eighteen months’ time. It’s during this development stage where employment, volunteering and training opportunities will also emerge as a result of the project.
For over forty years, RSPB Cymru has been actively involved in managing the site, and in 2015 we entered a long-term business tenancy with Hafren Dyfrdwy to run the day-to-day operation of the Organic farm and manage parts of their land for conservation. The Vyrnwy Valley itself used to look very different and the creation of the lake involved relocating the former village of Llanwddyn before flooding the valley to fill the reservoir.
Image by Eleanor Bentall
RSPB Lake Vyrnwy nature reserve is 10,000 hectares of woodland, moorland and farmland and is a success story built on the idea that a nature reserve is as much for people as it is for wildlife. Hafren Dyfrdwy and RSPB Cymru have both played an important role in the ongoing regeneration of the area and the reserve currently receives over 200,000 visitors every year and 1500 school children, along with volunteers who help to deliver vital work at the site. Lake Vyrnwy itself has become an internationally important nature reserve for wildlife and habitats.
Hafren Dyfrdwy Head of Visitor Experience, Dominic O’Connor Robinson, said: “We are delighted that first round approval for the project has been granted as there is so much that we want to do here that will bring the many stories of Vyrnwy alive. Lake Vyrnwy is the shining jewel in the crown for Hafren Dyfrdwy and we want people to come here to explore the beautiful scenery. Improved interpretation will enrich the visitor experience and highlight the significance of Lake Vyrnwy from a water management, conservation and historical point of view.”
RSPB Lake Vyrnwy Senior Site Manager, Mike Walker, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this support from HLF, made possible thanks to National Lottery players. This project will really help us to further improve the already wonderful wildlife experiences here at Lake Vyrnwy. We will also be increasing the opportunities available for training and acquiring new skills to support our farming and conservation work.”
“The whole valley is rich in culture, with a unique mix of built and natural heritage. We can’t wait for the opportunity to further share this in a new and innovative way with our visitors.”
Lake Vyrnwy is an integral part of the community, so we’ll be inviting local community groups such as the Llanwddyn Community Council and Lake Vyrnwy Marketing Association, to help us shape the project, so that together we’re making changes that will not only benefit the wildlife for years to come, but will benefit future generations of visitors to Lake Vyrnwy.
For more information on RSPB Lake Vyrnwy, visit www.rspb.org.uk/lakevyrnwy or ‘like’ the Facebook/Twitter page – @RSPBMidWales.
For more information on Hafren Dyfrdwy, visit www.hdcymru.co.uk.