At time of writing this blog it is midsummer, although you would never guess; I don’t think anyone has told the weather, it is the least like summer weather imaginable as I arrive at the Caban y Cwm café in Cwm Y Glo and a very welcome panad. I have presents to lift the gloom and bring smiles to the faces of the staff, volunteers and if creatures do smile; to their faces also, as I have a bug log and a bat box to provide some shelter from the elements.
I arranged to meet with Kate Toms on site to discuss an application for a small project grant to build nest boxes with volunteer support. Support from the Environment Wales Development Officer team is offered to groups in a number of ways; today I was helping Kate by going through the project grant form in detail, looking through budgets and costs, generally helping to ensure that the application will be ready to be submitted.
Our meeting went well and afterwards Kate and I drove up through the woods on the side of Llyn Padarn, the rain was falling in belting fat drops, heavy in the warm humid air, monsoon like and not showing any sign of stopping. We reached the Menter Fachwen site in the middle of a Welsh oak woodland with views I am told on a clear day of Snowdon. This is the site of Caffi Padarn and even in the rain it’s a fantastic site with a superb atmosphere, run by volunteers and staff from Menter Fachwen to provide refreshments for the tourists and visitors who stop off on the Llanberis steam railway and walk up through the woodland to enjoy the wildlife and views.
It would have been rude not to accept another warm welcome inside my second café stop of the day, enjoy another panad and sample some lovely homemade cake. Then, down to business, earlier in the year a family of blue tits nested in cigarette end bin outside the café and successfully raised and fledged a family. I am taken to see the unusual nest box by a volunteer, I stood for a while wondering at the size of the hole that the birds squeezed through and applaud the sign noting their presence to any smoker thinking of stubbing out.
We took a quick tour of the wood, a very quick tour considering the weather, to view the woodland bird hides and hear examples of the ingenuity of the local squirrels on the nut feeders. The bird hides looked fantastic and provide some shelter for walkers to enjoy the woodland and the birds. They were built by the volunteers and staff with a small project grant from Environment Wales; they should last for many years.