Ynys-hir RSPB Nature Reserve, near Borth, Southwest Wales
Designations: within the Dyfi RAMSAR
The view from the Visitor Centre at RSPB Ynys-hir
If you are on holiday in the Borth/Machynlleth area this lovely reserve is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
Like most nature reserves there is always something to see: in winter there are wildlfowl, and in the spring and summer there are nesting birds, carpets of wildflowers and plenty of butterflies, too.
Ynys-hir is signed off the main A487 Aberystwyth to Machhylleth road at the village of Eglwys Fach.
Follow signs down a narrow lane to the reserve.
The reserve is open all year round.
Paths within the nature reserve are rough and not suitable for wheelchair users or for people with prams or pushchairs.
There are a Visitor Centre with an RSPB shop on site; being situated on a steep slope these facilities are accessed via steps. There are public toilets and it is possible to buy drinks and snacks in the shop at the Visitor Centre. During the day there are staff on hand and they are happy to help you to get the best out of your visit.
Two main circular routes run through the reserve, with a total of seven bird hides and two viewing points.
If you want to make your visit to the reserve into a very special occasion, consider calling in to the Ynyshir Hall (off the same lane that leads to RSPB Yny-shir), a country house hotel and one of Wales's top restaurants; they serve delicious lunches and traditional afternoon teas. More information...
Description of Site
The Visitor Centre and shop at RSPB Ynys-hir
Parts of the reserve overlook the Dyfi Estuary which is an important habitat for birds both in the winter and summer.
One of the special attractions is the presence of a flock of White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons); these geese can be seen in the estuary between October and April. These White-fronted Geese normally overwinter in Scotland or Ireland, and they are of the Greenland race which have orange bills.
The extensive habitat management work carried out by the RSPB at Ynys-hir is so effective that more than 60 birds species are now known to breed there. The many nest boxes dotted around the reserve provide homes for Redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Blue Tits (Cyanistes caerulus), Great Tits (Parus major) and Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). Willow Tits (Poecile montanus), Nuthatches (Sitta europea) and Treecreepers (Certhia familiaris) can also be seen at Ynys-hir along with all three species of Woodpeckers that occur in the UK.
A recent arrival is the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) which now breeds at the reserve. Other rare birds that have been seen in recent years include Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus), Spoonbill (Platela leucorodia), Garganey (Anas querquedula) and Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta).
A very cooperative Robin photographed at Ynys-hir in Winter
The best time to see lots of the estuary birds is early in the morning, but during high tides many birds move higher up the Dyfi Estuary and can be seen on the pools at Ynys-hir. In the summer an evening stroll around the woodlands in the reserve can be productive, too.
The flowers and other plants at the reserve are exceptional, too. There are carpets of Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa) and Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) in the spring, and Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), Sundews (Drosera sp.) and Bog Rosemary (Myrica gale) later in the summer.
Diverse plantlife means diverse invertebrate life. Among the butterflies seen on this reserve are the Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia quercus), Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaia), Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Comma (Polygonia c-album) and Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).