Hardy Souls Behind the Cenotaph


At -20C the hardy souls set about clearing the overgrowth behind the cenotaph. Terry [he who must be obeyed] Ewington came to check that social distancing was being observed. Golden retriever Bungle passed by and refused all efforts of his owner to move Bungle on until he had been smoothed. If you would like to help us and learn some of Wenvoe’s history then Ian, Ieuan and the team would love to meet you. Our next gathering will be at 9.30am on the 8th March by the phone box.

The Wenvoe Cenotaph



A Lovely December Morning


On a lovely December morning the Environment team met up on the village green to plant daffodil bulbs donated by Dyffryn gardens. A great turnout for the final meeting of the year; thankfully Ieuan turned up to bring the average age down a notch. Our next outing will be on the 11th January back at the village green at 9.30. Please bring cutting equipment and a rake. Tel 07704340840 to join this eclectic bunch.



Busy Despite the Lockdown

Busy Despite the Lockdown

Despite lockdown we have managed to keep very busy.

A very pleasant sunny day in November saw a good number of volunteers out at the top of the Orchid Field with strimmers, shears, secateurs, loppers, saws etc to tackle the ever encroaching brambles, blackthorn, ash and other growth.

Our latest conservation session went well as we cleared brambles and other vegetation under the trees. We are also clearing brambles around some of the trees planted in the last few years including Hornbeam, Elm, Wild Pear, Yew and the Checkers Tree.

Within a couple of hours of work piles of cut material appeared around the field’s perimeter and areas of long hidden ground started to see sunlight once again. Even the robin arrived to inspect the work.

A Tree leaflet has been prepared and will be available from leaflet dispensers once we have finished refurbishing the main notice board. There are 22 tree species on the list and a further 7 will be planted in the coming weeks. Some are easy to identify (e.g. Oak and Ash), others more tricky such as Alder Buckthorn and Wild Pear.


The working group meeting is planned for Wednesday 16th December from 9.30am. All are welcome to join us in the task of clearing, please bring your own tools and gloves.

We have received another donated bench which has been refurbished and will be sited at the Goldsland Orchard. Yet another has been offered which will make 4 donated in the last few months. So for us Christmas came early but we know they are much appreciated by visitors to our sites. Work continues at the Bee Loud Glade where we have planted a hedgerow with over 100 saplings donated by the Woodland Trust. Plantings of flora good for pollinators include Bulbs (Daffodils, Camassia, Scilla, Chionodoxa), Evening Primrose, Caryopteris, Salvia, Wall Germander, Purple Loosestrife. A new leaflet is available from the Bee Loud Glade dispenser listing plants which you can consider for your garden which are good for pollinators.

We are on the hunt for any mouse litter, that is, what you remove when you clear out their cages. Bumblebees often nest in old mice-holes and are believed to be able to pick up the scent so popping some into nest-boxes can often result in the bees moving in. So if you have any spare, do get in touch with a Wildlife Group member.




More Apple History


More Apple History

We left last month with apple-growing in Britain at its peak and several thousand varieties available, many of them developed and bred in Britain. Wenvoe had at least 15 orchards in 1900, clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey map. Whilst the odd relict tree may remain hidden away in a garden or farm, the rest have gone and the apples you buy offer very little choice. So how did it come to this? Currently 75% of our apples are imported and there are no signs of this trend being reversed, a trend that actually started a couple of hundred years ago. In the USA Johnny Appleseed had wandered around in the late 18th/early 19th century planting apples wherever he went and it was not long before countries like America, Canada, South Africa and more recently, China, were producing consistent, good-looking apples that supermarkets were happy to stock. Production costs are lower abroad and transport costs minimal. Our climate is also not as helpful as it might be. Typically commercial orchards in Britain have declined by around 80% in the last 100 years.

Once every farm had its orchard and the farm workers were paid partly in cider, brewed on the farm. When it became illegal to do this, the need for the orchards began to disappear. Maes y Felin, for example, had an orchard running down the field to the east of the house to not far from where the Welsh Orchard is now situated. And then there were the country houses which often had an area set aside for fruit. The large house, The Grange, in Wenvoe was one such and Orchard Close is a reminder of what was once there. At the other end of the scale was the cottager who might have a cow, some chickens and, of course, a fruit tree or two. Both have been replaced by modern housing. Gardens are getting smaller and increasingly are paved over. Many orchards were dug up during the last war when Dig For Victory actually encouraged uprooting fruit trees and replacing them with vegetables which were considered a more efficient use of land. Agricultural subsidies often provided similar incentives for farmers.

So the reasons for the decline are many and varied. What some perhaps find more disappointing is the apparent lack of interest in reversing the trend. With all the housing development in the parish has a single fruit tree – even a crab-apple – been planted as part of the landscaping? Does the Vale of Glamorgan Council or do the Highways authorities include fruit trees when planning their roadside planting? And then there are our businesses whether pubs, farms or quarry operators? Hopefully the next issue of What’s On will include letters from around the parish on the positive actions that people have taken to put things right.



Orchard Field Work Group


Orchard Field Work Group

The group will meet on Monday 14th September by the gate to the Orchid Field at 9.30am with the aim to clear some of the rapidly growing brambles around the field. Please bring suitable tools and gloves. (Sharp garden shears are very good for cut-ting back).

The meeting is open to all who wish to attend. There is plenty of space to ‘social distance’ while working.



Environment team tips for July



Environment team tips for July.

  1. Start saving seeds as we may have a shortage again next year.
  2. Make watering the roots of plants a priority. Watering the foliage is a waste.
  3. Keep a diary of what grows well and where.
  4. Always buy british grown plants. This will keep pests and diseases at a manageable level.
  5. Start your own compost heap.

Allotment holders tips.

  1. The more productive you are, the less space for weeds.
  2. Neat and tidy equals less disease.
  3. Remember it’s always colder at the allotment than down in the village.
  4. Use fruit bushes as a windbreak.
  5. Grow some comfrey, it’s free fertilizer.

There were some great front gardens to be seen in June. If you venture into Orchard Close you will see lovely gardens brimming with colour facing you. They belong to Mr & Mrs Green and Mr & Mrs Thomas. On Old Port Road Mr & Mrs McDonald have done a brilliant job on their garden since coming to Wenvoe. With restriction on movement still in place, a short walk around Wenvoe looking at people’s gardens will soon brighten your day.

July is another good month for pests and diseases in the garden. Aphids will try to ruin your runner bean crop. However you can treat these with insecticide or by squashing between your fingers; it’s a good way to shorten their lifespan. Powdery mildew, rust and clematis wilt are just some of the diseases that will affect your plants at this time of year. Cut out the infected areas as soon as you see it, then give the plants a feed to help them recover. Keep clearing up leaves and debris around plants, especially roses as this can harbour a lot of disease. It is a boring job but a garden vacuum will make this job easy.

Cut the spent stems off lupin, hollyhock and delphiniums down to a bud, then give them a liquid feed and you should have a second flush of colour. Once herbaceous geraniums have flowered, cut the whole plant back to about 10cms, it will then go into overdrive and give you another display, albeit not as good as before.

Deadheading is so important when trying to keep plants flowering, as once they have set seed their job is done. With your runner beans, you have to keep picking the young beans otherwise they will stop cropping. If you’re growing courgettes, you will need to pick them before they become marrows. Take off the leaves below set trusses of tomatoes, to allow air and light to get to the fruit.

Be on the lookout for any Ash or Sycamore seedling that have escaped your gaze. If they become established you will have a devil of a job removing them when they grow amongst your plants.

Take care and happy gardening



Save A Farm Animal


Responsible dog owners ensure their pets are regularly wormed to help keep them healthy by reducing the worm burden.

We are all aware of the dangers posed from dog faeces hence owners are expected to act responsibly about clearing up after their pets especially around areas where children play. BUT are you also aware that dog faeces are equally poisonous to farm animals especially lambs and calves?

Many owners so often ignore collecting their dog’s faeces when exercising their pet on footpaths across farm fields where it can so easily unknowingly be collected in with the hay and silage from the field to be fed to animals at a later date.

Clear up after your pet at all times and dispose of the bag responsibly



A Lovely March Morning

A Lovely March Morning

On a lovely March morning, the large turnout (4) cut back the roses on the village green. Group member, big John, told us of the method Len Jones used to cut roses back in the early Spring. Unfortunately, Gardeners’ Question Time has been cancelled, but we will reorganise this in conjunction with the Community Library, as soon as we are able to.

The Environment Group will not meet until further notice. Thank you



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