Went to Mow the Meadows

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Meadow Mowing

Our thanks to the Vale Local Nature Partnership who not only cut the Community Orchard for us last month but have now cut Cae Ysbyty at Goldsland, the Hospital Field. This is the first time the small meadow has been cut properly and should help to ensure an even better spread of wildflowers next year. Next year several of our sites will be cut in late summer by the machine in the photo which also gathers wildflower seeds and this can be used to create new meadows around the Vale of Glamorgan.

Our thanks also to the Cardiff Rivers Group who have started to clear around the Watercress Beds at Goldsland. They will be starting to remove the willows that tend to dominate and overshadow a large part of the site.

And particular thanks to Mike and Glenys Tucker who have donated so generously from the Christmas Reindeer sale. This money is so important to the work of the group as it enables us to offer match-funding when we apply for grants.

 



 

Autumn Activities

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Autumn Activities

Our thanks to John Smith for cutting the Goldsland Orchard site. It is a lot tidier now and this will see us through until next Spring. We hope that gradually grass and wildflowers will replace the Bramble, Teasel, Dock and Burdock. VoGC have used their seed-harvesting machine to cut the Community Orchard on the Playing Fields. The seed has been gathered and will be distributed around the Vale to create new meadows. If you visit there regularly and have a minute to spare, the grass cuttings need raking up and piling around the fruit trees as a mulch. You will need to take your own rake over. Possibly also by the time you read this, the Upper Orchid Field will have had its annual cut by the contractor. A reminder to horse owners that this is a nature reserve and not for galloping through. Nor is there any bridleway access to this area – only footpaths.

Planting of Betony, Oxeye Daisy and Sneezewort has taken place at Cae Ysbyty on Goldsland Farm. The moth trap continues to register new species for the parish although as the nights get colder, fewer moths are on the wing. The photo shows the green Merveille du Jour which looks even better in colour. Check our Facebook pages for colour images. (and here )

The Barbastelle Bat project continues with deployment of detectors around Wenvoe. One detector in 3 weeks generated 36 Gigabytes of data! By November the bats will start to go into hibernation and may not emerge until April or May depending on the weather.

 



 

Watercress and Bats

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Watercress Beds at Goldsland Farm

We are delighted to welcome the Cardiff Rivers Group who specialise in opening waterways and who will be helping to clear the watercress beds at Goldsland Farm. This is a historic site with newspaper reports from mid-Victorian times telling how women would walk from Cardiff, gather the watercress and then walk back to sell it in the city. It is a haven for wildlife and watercress still grows there although eating it would not be recommended. Initial work will be to start to clear the vegetation and cut back the willows. Regular visitors will start to see changes in the coming weeks. The photo is a painting by Zoffany of a Watercress Seller.


Barbastelle  Bats

We continue with the Barbastelle project aimed at recording this rare bat which has yet to be found in the Vale of Glamorgan. So far large amounts of data have been analysed and there are plenty of bats, Pipistrelles, Noctules and Myotis species but no Barbastelles – but it is still early days. Visitors will start to see changes to both the Upper Orchid Field and the Community Orchard as annual cuts and seed-gathering machinery work their way through the sites

 



 

A record -7 Green Flags!!

 

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


A record for Wales and for Britain

7 Green Flags!! A record for us as a village, for Wales and for Britain. Previously we have achieved 6 Green Flag awards, judged and managed by Keep Wales Tidy but the addition of the Bee Loud Glade made it 7 – a site for every day of the week. A thank you to all those who have helped with the often challenging maintenance of the sites and the Reader family who own 5 of them and the Vale of Glamorgan Council who own two. Not only do we have far more awards than any other village in Wales but even many towns.

Donations are always welcome and we have received recently Wildflower Seeds from a local resident, two Cherry Trees and some slates from Radyr, Echinacea and Penstemon plants from Dinas Powys and a wheelbarrow wheel and mattock from Barry. We have been the first group to deploy Micromoth detectors in the Barbastelle Project aimed at seeing if this rare bat is anywhere to be found in the Vale. The Upper Orchid Field and Community Orchard are to be mowed and the wildflower seeds extracted for use elsewhere with the Upper Orchid Field receiving its full cut later in September. Benches in the Community Orchard and Welsh Orchard have exceeded their lifespan so if there are any spare benches that people are happy to donate they will be put to a good use.

Plenty of fruit is starting to mature in the orchards including Plums, Pears, Damsons and Bullace. One of our more recent apples, Nant Gwrtheryn, from the Llyn Peninsular, has produced its first good crop but will not be ready to taste until later this month (see photo). Least successful have been our Quinces – none of the 4 trees look very vigorous but we live in hope. There is the odd Quince doing OK in the village but the orchards may be a little more exposed and windy

 

 



 

Green Flag Judging

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Green Flag Judging


It has been a frenetic few weeks as we prepared for Green Flag judging on some of our sites. As gardeners will know the weather has contributed to a mass of vegetation and it has been a challenge to keep paths open. Green Flags are for open spaces, the equivalent of a Blue Flag for a beach, and factors taken into account include ease of access, information on site, tidiness and biodiversity. The scheme is run by Keep Wales Tidy and this year we have applied for 7 awards. The next highest village in Wales has two! The results will not be out until late Summer/early Autumn, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. The photo shows our judge at the Bee Loud Glade.

We are now involved with the Barbastelle project for the Vale of Glamorgan. This woodland bat has not been recorded yet in the Vale, so a programme has been set up to deploy special bat recorders in 10 locations around the county. We shall be looking after two of them. This involves installing the recorders which are about twice the size of a credit card, changing the batteries every 3 weeks and downloading the data – this goes on for a year! Anyone wanting to help with the project can contact the Wildlife Group.

And, finally, our thanks to those who have donated items to the group. We have received wildflower seeds from a resident in the village, plants from Dinas Powys and two Cherry Trees and some slate tiles from Radyr.

 

 



 

Green Flag Judging

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Green Flag Judging


It has been a frenetic few weeks as we prepared for Green Flag judging on some of our sites. As gardeners will know the weather has contributed to a mass of vegetation and it has been a challenge to keep paths open. Green Flags are for open spaces, the equivalent of a Blue Flag for a beach, and factors taken into account include ease of access, information on site, tidiness and biodiversity. The scheme is run by Keep Wales Tidy and this year we have applied for 7 awards. The next highest village in Wales has two! The results will not be out until late Summer/early Autumn, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. The photo shows our judge at the Bee Loud Glade.

We are now involved with the Barbastelle project for the Vale of Glamorgan. This woodland bat has not been recorded yet in the Vale, so a programme has been set up to deploy special bat recorders in 10 locations around the county. We shall be looking after two of them. This involves installing the recorders which are about twice the size of a credit card, changing the batteries every 3 weeks and downloading the data – this goes on for a year! Anyone wanting to help with the project can contact the Wildlife Group.

And, finally, our thanks to those who have donated items to the group. We have received wildflower seeds from a resident in the village, plants from Dinas Powys and two Cherry Trees and some slate tiles from Radyr.

 


 

Donation of a Moth Trap

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


The donation of a Moth Trap to the Group by the Vale Nature Partnership has dramatically increased the number and variety of species we are finding and recording. Most moths fly at night and whilst we do find some of the day-flying moths or disturb some resting night-flying ones when we are gardening, the vast majority of moths go undetected. A moth trap includes a prominent light which attracts them and they drop down into an area where they will settle until the morning. Once the moths have been checked, identified and/or photographed they are placed carefully in vegetation where they will not be predated by birds. On the first night we put the trap out we had 8 species, with 20 the following night including the Buff Tip in the photo. And this is still quite early in the season. The traps will often attract other flying insects and we get a good number of Garden Chafer beetles every night.

Our Green Flag judge will be inspecting our sites in mid-July and we have quite a bit of work to do to bring them up to standard. Any notices in our sites or on our noticeboards that have not been put there by the Group will be removed although we will be sympathetic to any applicants after the judging who wish to put a notice up which has a wildlife or community association. We have planted 20 Silver Birch trees donated by a contact in Penarth and some Stachys or Lambs Ear. The latter is in the hope of attracting Wool Carder Bees which like to use the hairy fibres you get on this plant but also Mullein and Yarrow. Plants added to the small Goldsland Meadow include Birds Foot Trefoil, Milkwort, Common Gromwell and Kidney Vetch.

We shall be leading a short walk around the Upper Orchid Field on Tuesday 6th July starting at 2pm and meeting by the wooden gate at the bottom entrance to the field. This is to celebrate National Meadows Day and is a chance to find out why meadows are so important and what has been and will be happening on the field. All welcome including dogs on leads.

 



 

Haiku Competition Result

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


 

Red Kite flies blue skies 

Brown rabbit runs green meadows

Colours of Springtime


This was the winner of our Haiku competition and the creator was Paul Thomas. Thanks to all of you who responded.

Many of you visited the Tuckers plant sale which raised over £1,000 for the Wildlife Group. Our thanks to everyone who donated raffle prizes, bought plants and other items on the day and donated their change. Particular thanks to Gordon and Elizabeth Jones, Eric White, Mary Lucas, Bethan Darwin, Joyce Hoy, Judy McDonald, Michelle Morgan, Leslie Sherard and Justine who

manned stalls gave donations or donated items for sale on the stalls. And not forgetting the two without whom none of this would have happened – Mike and Glenys Tucker. Watch this space for updates on how the money is being spent.

And a final thank you to Ann Daniel who donated a bench. This has been refurbished and repainted by Mervyn Greenwood and now sits in the Goldsland Orchard which is rapidly becoming a very popular spot to sit and take in the views.

 



 

Theft Continues To Be A Problem

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Whilst we are making progress on several fronts, theft continues to be a problem. In the first incident on the Upper Orchid Field, three newly-planted trees were stolen. The individual chose the trees they were taking carefully and replaced the spiral rings and bamboo supports so that it would look as if nothing had been removed. The pattern of theft suggests that this could be the same person who took plants from a front garden on Old Port Road recently. In the second incident on the same field some logs which had formed an impromptu picnic area have disappeared, again presumed stolen. As with other similar incidents, the police have been notified.

However most of our news is positive as residents and visitors continue to enjoy the orchards and other sites. The blossom on the various fruit trees is coming along and should be spectacular during May. Two new ponds have been installed, the larger one 750 litres. We have received over 100 plug plants of native wildflowers (locally sourced) and these will be planted in Cae Ysbyty, a small patch of a field near Goldsland Farm. Hospital Fields were very much a part of traditional Welsh Farming where sick cows could graze in a species-rich field, many of the plants acting medicinally. Some of our new plants include Birds Foot Trefoil, Betony, Vipers Bugloss, Cowslip and Wild Thyme. We shall be litter-picking on our 10 sites at the end of May as part of the Keep Wales Tidy initiative – Spring Clean Cymru. Green Flag judging has been affected by Covid and will now take place in June.



 

Impressive Bonfires to Come

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Visitors to the Upper Orchid Field will have noticed that the piles of bramble and brash are getting even larger as more areas are being cleared. There will be some impressive bonfires once the piles have had a chance to dry out. New trees continue to be planted including Small Leaved Lime, Black Poplar and Beech. Wildflower meadow mix seeds are being scattered on the charred surface where old bonfires have burned. Trees previously totally or partially hidden by vegetation are now seeing the light of day again and these include Hornbeam, the Chequers Tree, Wild Pear and Crab-apple. A spectacular Hawthorn should hopefully display its impressive blossom soon – we often think of these as mainly hedgerow plants but given the opportunity they can grow quite tall.

Primroses were already in bloom on the field in mid-March. April will see the Cowslips follow on and these will be part of a Europe-wide survey. Starting in Estonia the survey looked at the two types of Cowslip – Pin and Thrum – and how they compared in terms of numbers. Distinguishing the two types is not difficult with a bit of guidance and children as young as 4 or 5 took part and proved they were well up to the task. You can download an ‘app’ and record the results. If you know of anywhere that has cowslips which you can access you can do your own survey. For more information, contact the Wildlife Group who will also publish the results of the Upper Orchid Field survey in What’s On.

We have taken delivery of a number of items funded by the Vale of Glamorgan’s Local Nature Partnership including a water butt, pond, bee hotels and plug plants. The latter are for a range of native wildflowers such as Betony, Birds Foot Trefoil, Southern Marsh Orchid and real rarities like Shepherd’s Needle. We also now have a Moth Trap which will help to remedy a section of wildlife which we have done little work on to date. We continue to keep searching for signs of otters in the parish and we now know from an ecology survey carried out at Dyffryn Gardens that they have been present there.

 



 

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