Sunday, 10 November 2013

Guided walk around the Plas Tan y Bwlch hydro scheme

Saturday’s walk to see the Plas Tan y Bwlch hydro electric scheme was a popular event with over thirty people taking part. It’s all very well hearing or reading about these schemes but there’s nothing quite like seeing it in action to understand the issues and how it all works.

We began at the top and worked our way down towards the turbine house with Andrew Oughton, who runs The Plas, leading the way. The top half of the scheme has a lot of pipework above ground because the ecologists argued against the felling of any trees. Good for the trees, but not so good for the view.  Maybe next time or in other schemes they might opt for burial of the pipe even if it does cost a couple of trees.  To minimise the visual impact the pipe is lagged with hessian and did I hear correctly, that the pipe has been smeared with yoghurt to encourage the growth of moss?

I won’t attempt to tell the story of the hydro because that has already been exceedingly well described by Twm Elias in the Autumn edition of Natur Cymru.

The 13th of June, 2013, was an important day in the history of Plas Tan y Bwlch, the Snowdonia National Park Centre, as the latest hydro-electric scheme at the Plas was officially opened. This is the third such scheme since the first small scheme was established in 1884, when the Plas was among the first houses in Wales to have its own private electricity supply....

The rest of the article can be read online here.

After visiting the turbine house we walked back up through the gardens with head gardener Chris Marshall leading the way, explaining the history of the gardens and the current emphasis on wildlife friendly gardening. Chris manages thirteen acres that were once looked after by a team of fourteen gardeners. One volunteer helps out and more are needed. If you fancy giving a hand, Chris will be very pleased to hear from you. There’s a lot to be done but the setting is so beautiful I’m sure it would be a labour of love.

Thank you Andrew and Chris for a great visit organised by the Snowdonia Society.

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