Here we are at the end of the first week of Springwatch at Ynys-hir. All I can say is...WOW.. what a week we have had at the reserve. The build up since last summer, when the BBC team had a good old look at the site and said - 'Oh yes, this looks pretty good' - to today, after a week of amazing footage, it is obvious they made the right decision to base the programme at this outstanding venue. Who can deny the absolute joy of watching the webcams and saying 'oooh' or 'ahhh' at least a couple of times during a nightly hour of pure entertainment?
Hectic couple of months
It has been a pretty hectic couple of months while the reserve team have prepared for the whole magical Springwatch experience. In this first week of the programme, we have brought in 20 extra volunteers, a catering company, new signage, and an extra car park with major mud issues (and a predicted unbelievable increase in visitor numbers; thank you Pensthorpe for the warning) So, with these little management items on the agenda, we had to plan, and plan well we did!The production team have been fantastic during the build up to the Springwatch. The studio, which is almost unrecognisable from the humble (sorry Kate) tractor shed it was originally, is a regular stop-off point on our daily 'Springwatch' tours. It is such a joy to see a middle-aged man jumping up and down with delight (you know who you are) at seeing this usually out of bounds spectacle. We had to be very careful if the BBC crew were filming, but the presenters and crew have been unbelievably accommodating. The heronry cam, redstarts, pied flycatchers and the small section of the 40 miles of cables come a very close second in the excitement factor, but the walk is very popular and the staff and volunteers scramble to lead these increasingly popular tours.
What a buzzThe buzz at Ynys-hir has been amazing this week and we sincerely hope every visitor has had a wonderful time.
We worried about parking! The reserve's usual car park is very small. We get an annual average visitor total of 15,000. The car park is fine for this number of lovely visitors, but we knew we would have to make parking a priority. Despite the quarter-mile walk in from the overflow car park, comments have been very positive as folk see a completely new view of the reserve and can enjoy the spectacular wildlife en route - especially the hundreds of baby toads on the access path. As we don't want our visitors to go hungry we brought in the extremely professional and delicious (oh dear, I've gained several pounds in weight) Black Box Kitchen. The food is out of this world and we only hope that the guys stay on for the whole three weeks of the show. We also have light refreshments in the visitor centre, so don't despair if you have not brought a picnic.
Bring on the next two weeks!
Ynys-hir loves being on the TV. It is long overdue that this outstanding reserve has had the airtime it deserves on national telly. We cannot wait for the dramas that will unfold during the next two week, both on and off-screen.I'd love to know what you've all thought about Springwatch and the reserve so far. Leave me a comment below.Oh, and did you hear Kate mention me on Springwatch Unsprung? I was so proud.
Very Well done Caroline! - really enjoying seeing the beautiful reserve and all its wildlife on the programme. Looking forward to performing at the Ynys hir hide - and a special enormous thank you for all your help and support with it.
see you soon
Not only did we hear Kate speak your name, we saw you trying (unsuccesfully!!!) to hide from the camera! (Russell was looking handsome too!!!)
Ynys hir is simply fantastic and it was brilliant (if a little strange) to see our favourite reserve on television.
We too are proud to tell our friends and family (in fact, anyone who'll listen!) that it's "our" reserve on telly! We both wish you, all the staff and of course the (magnificent) volunteers continued success for the rest of the springwatch series.
See you all very soon. XX
Sounds fantastic Caroline and all the guys at Ynys-hir should be so proud!
I'd missed most of this weeks episodes (thank goodness for Sky+) but I tuned in last night and was so proud to tell my family that Kate, Chris and the gang are presenting live from an RSPB reserve.
I was really impressed by what I saw on the reserve and just wish I could come and visit!!
Good luck for the rest of the Springwatch adventure!