A former working colliery, bursting with spectacular wildlife and rare plants, has just embarked on a new chapter in its history...
RSPB Cymru is delighted to announce that their quiet nature reserve on Anglesey, RSPB Cors Ddyga, formerly named as 'Malltraeth Marsh', will be officially opened by Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth at 1pm on July 17, 2017.
The marshland reserve was awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gaynor Cemlyn-Jones Trust earlier this year, to improve and preserve the habitat and rare species on the reserve. The project has also been supported by the Sustainable Development Fund, a Welsh Government initiative in the Isle of Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Thanks to the recent funding the reserve has benefited in three areas:
1. New interpretation and a two kilometre visitor trail has been built through the wetlands.
2. The RSPB Cors Ddyga team have put in sluices to improve the reedbeds. These will capture more water to keep the existing reedbeds wet, whilst also increasing water levels in other areas to create new reedbeds.
3. Local sculptor, Duncan Kitson has been commissioned to create a wooden bittern sculpture to mark the reserves' recent celebration when the bittern nested at RSPB Cors Ddyga - the first time in Wales for 32 years.
RSPB Cors Ddyga Site Manager, Ian Hawkins said: "This is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours and have a break from the outside world. It is alive with history and we are delighted to be opening our doors to the public in order to show the fruits of labor since when we started to manage the reserve back in 1994. This proves if you build a home for nature, they will come!"
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: "It will be a pleasure to officially open RSPB Cors Ddyga so that local residents and visitors can come to appreciate the wonders of the wetlands. Sites such as Cors Ddyga are one of out natural treasures, and I'm grateful to RSPB Cymru for their conservation work on the site. One of the big successes of that hard work was that the Bittern chose to nest there last year - the first time it has been recorded nesting in Wales for three decades - and I look forward to hearing Ysgol Esceifiog pupils singing a song dedicated to the bittern, 'Deryn y Bwn'."
Ian Hawkins added: "The generous funding we have received has made it possible for RSPB Cors Ddyga to embark on a new chapter in its history helping its development to ensure that the plants and wildlife continue to have new areas to colonise.
Each season brings its own wealth of wildlife. Beautiful wetland flowers appear in the spring: the yellow iris, water-violet and the rare pillwort whilst in winter you can see hen harriers, peregrines and merlins - their all a delight to see. I often get surprises walking around the reserve, from seeing otters popping their heads above the water to that special moment when I realised a bittern had nested on the reserve - I'm still smiling. Who knows what I'll spot tomorrow."
Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, said: "Our natural heritage is a most precious resource and, thanks to National Lottery players, HLF grants have helped to protect an amazing range of landscapes, habitats, and species of plants and animals. HLF is delighted to support the Wetland Wonders project that will stimulate people's interest in the natural world and so help them conserve it for future generations."
The reserve offers some fantastic new volunteering experiences for the local community and the chance to discover the site's local heritage; through practical work, heritage skills and research opportunities. If you're interested in volunteering with us, please get in touch with RSPB Cymru Community and Volunteer Development Officer, Eva Vazquez-Garcia, on 01248 672850/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
So make sure you put RSPB Cors Ddyga on your 'places to visit' list this summer...
1. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
2. Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.
3. The reserve is a key part of Cors Ddyga's Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The lakes, ponds and ditches are some of the most important in the UK for wetland plants. They have over 30 scarce species like the water-violet (Hottonia palustris) and the pillwort (Pilularia globulifera), which thrived due to the reserve's lapwing management, resulting in one of the biggest colonies in the UK. The SSSI is one of only three in Wales designated for the richness of its aquatic invertebrates - such as water beetles, rare dragonflies and damselflies, like the nationally rare hairy dragonfly and scarce blue-tailed damselfly.
4. Anglesey is especially rich in wetlands, with numerous lakes filling hollows scraped out during the last ice age. The fens in the north of Anglesey are among the UK's richest and are internationally important. RSPB Cors Ddyga with its man-made origins is a relative newcomer, but is one of the largest lowland wetlands in Wales.
5. The reserve was the site of the Berw Colliery. As the miners worked into the coal seams they collapsed the ground behind them to make it safe. This created hollows, which quickly filled with water and wildlife.