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Cardiff reservoirs to reopen as visitor attraction this summer

07 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Lisvane and Llanishen volunteer Dan carries out a Wetland Bird Survey

Welsh Water is set to open its latest visitor attraction this summer, thanks to the contribution of a team of volunteers.

Built in the late-19th Century, Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs is a Victorian landmark covering 110 acres, and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for overwintering birds and waxcap fungi.

Despite its rich history and ecology, the site came under threat in 2001 and members of the local community came together to form the Reservoir Action Group (RAG), successfully campaigning to save the reservoirs from development.

Welsh Water took over the reservoirs in 2016 and set about restoring them to their former glory.

A vital part of this restoration work has seen the company working in collaboration to deliver conservation management activities to protect and enhance the unique ecology of the site, which will enable public access whilst creating conservation zones to protect the site’s wildlife and ecology.

Keen to work closely with the local community Welsh Water supported the creation of Friends of Cardiff Reservoirs (FoCR), with members of the original campaign action group.

Many members of the FoCR have been instrumental accompanying ecologists on surveys to learn more of the site’s unique ecology and sharing their environmental knowledge.

Woodland management

While the site’s visitor centre has been under construction and footpaths have been installed around the reservoirs, volunteers from FoCR have supported rangers with woodland management, preparing the site to welcome visitors.

The activity volunteers have been involved in includes: creating woodland pathways for the education area in the woods, cutting stems and branches cleared for coppicing, carrying out  monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) counts of non-breeding waterbirds, raking ivy from woodland  to help other species thrive, grading stones in preparation for dry stone walls, building and finishing dry stone walls alongside the Dry Stone Wall Association and building a wood roundhouse which will become a hub for education.

Volunteers drystone walling last month

Peter Fullerton, Deputy Chair of FoCR said: “When I retired a couple of years ago, I was excited by the opportunities offered by the soon to be reopened reservoirs on my doorstep. I volunteered to be on the FoCR committee and was rather surprised to be elected as Deputy Chair.

“Welsh Water and the Reservoir Action Group got us going and the water authority are working closely with the committee to offer a range of woodland management and other activities.

“We’ve now got over 200 members and a good group of regular volunteers. It’s been great to work with a friendly team on the committee and get my hands dirty with other volunteers on some of the woodland management and dry-stone wall building opportunities.

I’m really looking forward to the reservoirs and new visitor centre opening to the public, presenting a wider range of things for me and all the other volunteers to get involved with.”

Michelle Impanni, Volunteering Manager at Welsh Water said: “We are extremely grateful for the support of our dedicated team of volunteers who come to help us each week at Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs, come rain or shine.

“When the site opens this summer, the results of their hard work will be enjoyed by visitors of all generations from Cardiff and beyond.”

Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs will open to the public later this summer and the site’s brand-new visitor centre is near completion, which will feature a café with panoramic views across both reservoirs and a range of water sport activities.

Friends of Cardiff reservoirs are always looking for new members. Further information can be found here..

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

When are the decorators coming back to finish off Stwlan Dam ?

1 year ago

I had the opportunity to stand in the middle of the drained reservoir, a strange experience! Da iawn Dwr Cymru.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 year ago

I remember Llanishen reservoir, it was a great place for the sailing I did there when a school boy.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

If you like a good but easy underfoot walk follow the Afon Ysgethin up to Llyn Bodlyn. You will not be disappointed…

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