Long-Serving Chair Steps Down after 20 Years

May 2, 2023

At its recent AGM, Rhayader by Nature gave a heartfelt thanks to its Chair and founder member Richard Knight, who stepped down after 20 years in the role.

Richard and his wife Pam have played a crucial part in the success of Rhayader by Nature since it was first formed in 2003 and formally constituted in 2007.  An excellent naturalist with a deep love for our local countryside and wildlife, Richard successfully conveyed this strong interest to others, inspiring and bringing together with grace and good humour a wide range of local residents into supporting the group and its activities.

Highlights for Rhayader by Nature from the last 20 years have included holding a wide range of popular talks and field events, the support of farmland birds such as the yellowhammer, the erection of nest boxes for swifts, the publication of a beautifully illustrated book on our local wildlife (appropriately called “Rhayader by Nature”, with a foreword by Iolo Williams), the control of invasive Himalayan Balsam and most recently a major project on Rhos Pasture in collaboration with the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust.

Richard played a central and inspiring role in all these achievements and we are indebted to him.  With events throughout the rest of the year, new committee members and exciting projects ahead, Rhayader by Nature is in a strong position to continue the work that Richard and his other co-founders started when it began in 2003.

Richard and Pam Knight with daughter Beth

Saving Our Curlews

March 5, 2023

Rhayader by Nature are delighted to present a talk by Mick Green of Gylfinir Cymru/Curlew Wales at 7.30pm on Thursday, 16th March 2023 at CARAD, Rhayader regarding the latest efforts to prevent the extinction of the curlew in Wales.  This beautiful and charismatic bird was once widespread, with its iconic and haunting call one of the wildlife highlights of the Welsh countryside.  Its range is now sadly much reduced, but a small population remains in the Elan Valley.   

The talk will be of interest to anyone interested in saving the curlew and the practical ways to do so, as well as in the wider countryside and wildlife.   Tickets are £2/adult, children are free.  For further information, please contact Gafyn Blakeway on 01597 810804 or by email at gafyn@blakewayb1.plus.com.

An adult Curlew.  Picture by David Swann, Curlew Action


May 27, 2021

Tentatively we included two walks in the latest members’ newsletter. The first was on Sunday the 16th of May and with Covid-19 restrictions eased, fourteen members gathered, desperate to get out and enjoy searching for wildlife together. This, first since the autumn, exploration was to Coed y Cefn, otherwise known as the prysg, just west of Rhayader town.

The principal focus of this morning meeting was to help members learn some bird songs and calls. Fortunately it was a very fine and calm morning when we met at 09.00hrs and made our way into the mixed woodland. At one point we were able to hear the songs of both Pied Flycatcher and Redstart very close at hand. The rather unmusical but pleasing Pied Flycatcher ditty contrasting with the distinctive coursness of the Redstart. Other singers included Song Thrush, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

It is a shame that the current need for social distancing makes it impossible to gather round closely. Sightings such as the Scalloped Hazel moth that fluttered across our path and the spectacularly coloured Dor Beetle that lumbering along in defiance of the attentions of a myriad of Wood Ants, were passed back as Chinese Whispers. It may be that the last in our throng were passed identifications quite new to science – a Spelloped Hastle and a Bore Peetle perhaps !! Sorry about that – hopefully by the next meeting things will be easier.

Check out your latest Members’ Newsletter in readiness for the next exploration on Saturday the 12th of June – An Introduction to the Wildlife of Rhos Pastures.

Cancelled Events

July 14, 2020

All further scheduled Rhayader By Nature events this summer and autumn have been cancelled due to the uncertainties and risks created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Future events will be confirmed on the website.


June 8, 2020

Due to the ongoing coronavirus covid-19 restrictions, Rhayader By Nature’s nightjar evening on Monday, 15th June has been cancelled. Please continue to check our website over any changes to events planned later in the summer.

Snails – a survey

May 11, 2020
Many years ago a well known children’s television programme ran an investigation into the UK distribution of the common and widespread Brown-lipped Banded Snail Cepaea nemoralis.  Children across the country were asked to search their local area and report their findings.  The aim was to map the various colour types   –   some are a plain bright yellow, some are yellow with bold dark-brown bands (the colour most frequently illustrated in books), others are of a plain pinky-orange, some having a single band, while others are of a dull greenish yellow.  Whatever the colour they nearly always have the dark-brown lip at the mouth of the shell that gives then their name.
Most gardens in the Rhayader district have this snail and evidence of their presence can be found most easily where Song Thrushes use a stone or other hard surface as an anvil to break them open.
Yesterday, to further the study of my childhood, I searched our garden and collected snail shells from all the Song Thrush anvils I could find.  From my collection (see photo below) it is clear that the commonest colour variety the thrushes find is the plain pinky-orange type, there being only five of the orange single-banded form and three of the plain yellow form (righthand portion of photo) among the c.40 shells found.  The question now is  –  does this reflect the relative proportions of the colour varieties in our garden or does it reflect those that are most easily found by the Song Thrushes ?
We would like to hear about the Brown-lipped Banded Snails in your garden   –   please, make a search and report your findings to Rhayader by Nature via the ‘Contact’ tab on this web site.  Thank you.

Snail shell collected from a song thrush’s anvil


April 19, 2020

Due to the ongoing coronavirus covid-19 restrictions, the following Rhayader By Nature events have been cancelled: the morning bird song event on Saturday, 25th April and the trip to Newport Wetlands on Saturday, 9th May. Please continue to check our website over any changes to events planned later in the summer.


March 17, 2020

Due to the rapidly developing situation regarding coronavirus Covid-19, the talk planned for this Thursday evening (19th March) by Phil Ward will be postponed to next winter’s programme of talks and we are sorry for any disappointment caused.  For further information about Rhayader by Nature events, please continue to visit our website or send an email to rhayaderbynature@hotmail.co.uk .


March 8, 2020

Rhayader by Nature are delighted to present a talk by local entomologist Phil “The Bugman” Ward at 7.30pm on Thursday, 19th March about the wonderful and amazing world of beetles, bugs and other invertebrates.  This will be the last of this winter’s talks held by Rhayader By Nature and promises to be highly entertaining and informative; all ages will enjoy Phil’s enthusiasm for the easily overlooked mini-beasts in our countryside and gardens!  The talk will take place at the Cwmdauddwr Community Centre (the Old School), Cwmdauddwr, Rhayader.  Tickets are £2/adult, children are free.

A Bloody-Nosed Beetle, one of the amazing insects found in Mid-Wales

Back to the Future… well past!

March 8, 2020

Rhayader by Nature thoroughly enjoyed an industrious talk on Thursday, 13th February. It was as good as any talk so far in this year’s winter programme, although not one solely on nature conservation. Field Officer for the People’s Collection Wales, Gruffydd Jones explained the digital archiving involved with the project for communities throughout Wales, showing the audience by way of example archived pictures from the past  of life here in Rhayader. Alan Samuel was responsible for a number of contributions, someone who the whole hall knew summed up by the unified “yes” when Gruffydd asked who he was! The most encouraging part however were the inquiries made by members after the talk, with one lady showing Gruffydd pictures from former days. Clearly, the talk meant a lot personally to many members of the audience.