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DOP 2020: 10 Things You Need to Know

Posted: Sunday 1st March 2020 by Emyr MWT

Here are the 10 most important things you need to know about DOP 2020

1. Dyfi Wildlife Centre

You may have heard that we've been a tad busy over the winter?

Our flagship environmentally-based visitor centre is nearing the end of its construction. Finally, we will have a stunning centre that's fit-for-purpose that will allow people to engage with the ospreys and other wildlife as never before.

This is how it looks like right now, we've started to clad the gable ends with local cedar from Esgair forest, around three miles away. The main doors arrive next week.

Dyfi Wildlife Centre 

2. Opening times?

So, there's a tricky question...

The whole centre was never going to be built in seven months without some compromises, we knew that. And after losing around two weeks to faulty insulation last November that had to be replaced, and another fortnight this year to unprecedented weather, you'd think that we're not going to open until well into the season?

Not so.

We'll open in April - next month. We just can't give you a date yet for obvious reasons.

Shall we defer putting a floor finish on until the autumn? How about skipping some wall finishes, the toilets, the Galeri, the cafe..?

We're making decisions daily, hourly it seems, so we get the right balance of opening in good time without too much delay - and making the centre look reasonable inside. 

We'll keep you updated as we always do - watch this space.


3. Car Park

We have no money to improve parking facilities, but we're working on it.

The Changing Places toilets ended up costing an additional £60,000 in the end after a redesign in the consultation period. We thought it better to spend this money on facilities for severely disabled folks rather than a fancy car park, but it's left us no room to manoeuvre on the car park. Pun intended.

A 'grasscrete' car park - this is what we'd like to do...

We'll get there.

4. Caffi Tŷ Maenan

Our new Catering Manager started last week; she is a local girl, Nadine, from Dinas Mawddwy, just down the road.

Nadine and I have been designing the new kitchen and servery area, our new cafe is going to be called Caffi Tŷ Maenan (House on a rock) after the old Inn that once served passing sailors on Cors Dyfi with food and drink as they took a break from transporting their cargos up river. You can still see the ruins of Tŷ Maenan from the 360 Observatory (ask Alwyn next time you're there).

The last people to live at Tŷ Maenan were Mary Jones, originally of Llanwrin, and two of her daughters, Lowry and Elinor, in the 1850s. A volunteer is currently designing and making a leaded-light window of Tŷ Maenan and Ann Jones for the Dyfi Wildlife Centre - it looks amazing.

The original Tŷ Maenan besides the Dyfi River. What an inhospitable place to make a living.

We'll be serving traditional Welsh recipes and some amazing home-made cakes. All our main ingredients will be sourced locally from local farmers and suppliers - we're even designing a large map to go on the wall that will show all our 'food miles'.

Expect a very homely Welsh welcome...

5. Volunteering

We've had to cancel our annual volunteering pre-season event that was due for today. Ciara, Dennis and Jorge have a lot to answer for.

Would you like to join our volunteering family this year? We'd love to hear from you.

Look out for more details of how to get involved over the next few weeks.

Some of the DOP volunteers...

By the way, you can still participate even if you never set foot at DOP. Got any old UK pre-decimal coins?

In the autumn we will be starting work on our new Penny Floor project in the exhibition area we call the Galeri, upstairs. Hundreds of you have donated around 33,000 coins so far, we need around 45,000 in all to make a 3x10m mosaic of the Dyfi River on the floor. We especially need the silver-coloured coins. 

Bring them with you this summer if you're coming, otherwise send them to:

Dyfi Osprey Project
SY20 8SR

6. Opening Times and costs

We'll be open from 10am till 5pm every day throughout the osprey season.

And brand new for 2020, we're working towards the Dyfi Wildlife Centre being open for 12-months of the year and not just five months as was the case during the previous 10 years. This is a huge change for us.

We now have to pay VAT so our daily entrance charge will increase slightly to £6 per person, a season ticket will allow you entry every day if you like for £18 for a whole year.

Children under 16 is £2 and admission is free for members of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. Free parking for all.


7. Beavers

You know we have the two water buffalo that maintain parts of the reserve so they don't dry out?

Our two water buffalo

Well, there are huge swathes of Cors Dyfi that are impenetrable for the buffalo and these areas are quickly drying out due to willow and birch root systems. Cors Dyfi has been a wetland peat bog for millennia and we're trying to keep it that way.

There is, however, an ideal animal that would keep our overgrowth in check and restore and maintain large parts of the reserve to a wetland again.

Our fencing contractor, Geraint, is building an 8-acre enclosure at the moment - expect beavers later on in the summer.

It's too late for Hanc, but a pair of his descendants will be joining us soon. Wouldn't it be cool if we could have a live stream of the beaver enclosure in the new centre - Live Beaver-Cam...? (don't Google that).

Kim and volunteer Jamie talk beavers as Hanc yr Afanc looks on...


8. Short Stories

We've promised that during the Dyfi Wildlife Centre project timescale (building ends June 2021) we will write 50 Short Stories.

We're up to No 11 at the moment - here's where you find them. Also check out our various social media platforms.

We'll write about some of the more interesting and obscure things about our new centre in the Short Stories; look out later this week for a Part II of the John Felix story. We've only just been talking to a relation of his that remembers him as a small boy.

Considering John Felix died in 1925, that is some going!

Fascinating stuff (here's Part I).



9. Prime Time

Monty and Telyn will be red-carpet stars of the national TV world in 2020.

Without letting too much out of the bag, let's leave it at that for now... ;-)


10. Osprey Cameras

We may not quite have the Dyfi Wildlife Centre open for when our ospreys return later this month (will Telyn arrive in March? She was here on 30th March last year), but we're working furiously to get our Live Steaming working in time.

We're changing our electricity supply on 19th March to three-phase in order for us to have our solar panels operational and send electricity back to the grid - as well as storing it. As soon as this is in we can start testing.

We need to make some changes to the larch perch this year, it's perch-life is well and truly passed it's use-by date. 

2014: Shiny and new: Deri six years ago on the larch perch

We'll be upgrading one camera to a better 4K version as well as adding another. We'll start our annual camera appeal next weekend, but, suffice to say, it will be the best osprey viewing yet.

The Live Chat will also be back and we've managed to come up with an ingenious way to stop the odd troll and nuisance teenager from spoiling everyone's fun.

We may try a two-camera system again, we'll certainly test it out.

Oh, how about a proper camera on the feeding perch by the 360 Observatory instead of a trail-cam?

Will explain all next week. 





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