Volunteer marks 20 years of measuring rainfall on Cadair Idris

A volunteer who has ventured out almost every month for two decades to measure rainfall at Cadair Idris National Nature Reserve has carried out his worthwhile duties for the final time.

On Saturday 30 April, Phil Thomas from Penrhyndeudraeth visited Cadair Idris to measure April’s rainfall – a duty he has performed on a voluntary basis for exactly 20 years.

Cadair Idris’ copper bottle rain gauge was formerly part of the Met Office network and is large enough to hold a month’s rainfall.

The data gathered by Mr Thomas contributes significantly to a body of information that helps to identify changes in weather patterns in the area. Precipitation measurement is important for both weather forecasting and as an indication of the amounts of fresh water running off the mountain. He also uses his visits to inform Natural Resources Wales (NRW) of any matters requiring attention, such as litter, grazing issues or path erosion.

Paul Williams, Natural Resources Wales Senior Officer Land Management North West, has worked closely with Phil over the years. He said:

“Phil's contribution has been key. We couldn't have continued this measurement without his monthly dedication.
“Cadair Idris has over 200 days of rainfall each year. This is one of the reasons why the gorge and woodland at the foot of the Reserve supports such an amazing variety of mosses, some of which are very rare.
“Records show that more rain falls here on a yearly basis now when compared with the 1980s. This then forms a small but crucial part of the wider evidence for long-term climate change.
“Everyone at NRW wishes Phil well in his retirement and I personally hope to see him at the reserve again in the near future, or at least have a chat over a cuppa at Tŷ Te Cadair.”

Phil Thomas said:

“I’ve been a very happy man venturing out on a monthly basis. Cadair Idris National Nature Reserve is not only one of the best nature reserves in Wales, but in the whole of the UK. It’s been a privilege and a blessing.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Natural Resources Wales please visit our Placements page here.