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.

 



 

Wildlife Group Haiku

 

 

Haiku Poetry Competition


The Wildlife Group is running a Haiku poetry competition which anyone can enter. Originally from Japan, haiku are now written all over the world. Here is an example

 

JANUARY

Delightful display
Snowdrops bow their pure white heads
To the sun’s glory.

 

Typically a haiku has three lines with 5 syllables in the first and third and 7 syllables in the second. They were often written about nature and wildlife so what better than for you to compose a haiku (or two) inspired by any of village wildlife sites such as the Upper Orchid Field or the Orchards.

Send your entries to bruce7@btinternet.com or use the contact section on the website, http:// wenvoewildlifegroup.weebly.com/ or Facebook using the Wenvoe Wildlife Group page. You have until the end of March and there will be a small prize for the winner as judged by group members. Send in your haiku and say which site inspired you – give your contact details and age if you are under 16. Some of the entries will be shown on Facebook and the noticeboards on the sites. Good luck!!

 



 

All About Trees

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Despite wet and then freezing weather this has been a good month for planting trees. Firstly Keep Wales Tidy donated 28 fruit trees to us (4 for every Green Flag Application site). An apple has been planted in a garden close to the St Marys Church and 12 in a new orchard on the outskirts of Wenvoe. 12 have also been planted in a new orchard at Twyn yr Odyn and the last three in the Community Welsh Orchard near Maes y Felin. There are 4 different varieties – three apples, Irish Peach, Herefordshire Russet and Laxtons Superb, none of which have been planted in the Community Orchards previously. The 4th variety is Victoria Plum, featured in the photo.

We also received native broad-leaved trees which we had ordered mainly for the Upper Orchid Field including Wild Cherry, Bird Cherry, Black Poplar, Aspen, Beech, Small-leaved Lime and Purging Buckthorn which are all new to the Upper Orchid Field and some of which are new to the Parish as far as we know. These are being planted on the perimeter of the Upper Orchid Field, keeping as much of the meadow free for wildflowers as possible. They are being put in the ground as we clear the bramble which had been starting to invade the field. We have been successful in applying for a small grant from the Places for Nature scheme. This involves the purchase of a moth trap, small, pond water butt and bug hotels for the Bee Loud Glade plus a wide range of native plants including Southern Marsh Orchid, Betony and Birds Foot Trefoil.

We have started measuring and recording the large trees in the parish, starting with the large oaks on the road to the golf course. We shall be covering those where we can get access but if you have a large tree which is not accessible to the public but would like to have it recorded on the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Register, do get in touch. We shall let you know in a future edition of What’s On what we believe to be the largest in the parish but if you want to have a guess as to which it might be, do contact us.

 



 

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow


‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ and we have many fine oaks in the Parish. The recent decision to remove two of the immature oaks on the Upper Orchid Field has prompted some questions on the best ways to promote and enhance biodiversity. So, first some thoughts on the oak tree. They take around 150 years to mature and produce a good crop of acorns at which point they will typically have a girth of around 3 metres 50 cms. An oak with a circumference of 5 metres will be about 300 years old and take us back to the reign of George l. The oaks being removed on the Upper Orchid Field varied between 70cms and 110cms.

Wenvoe has many oaks, whether you are looking in the school playground or wandering around the Playing Fields. There are some good-sized oaks still left in and around the new Grange development. The best collection are on the fields either side of the road to the Golf Club where there are around 20 in a typical Capability Brown landscape. Not that Capability Brown was ever involved but his son–in-law, Henry Holland, did work on the design and development of parts of Wenvoe Castle. The girth of some of these trees would put them at 200-300 years old. The Wildlife Group will be measuring and surveying these trees and recording them on the Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Register – this does not guarantee their survival but increases the chances of the wider community at least being aware of them. There are two types of native oak – the English and Sessile oak. The former is the main one to be found here and is distinguished by having the acorn on a short stalk. The Sessile Oak has a stalkless acorn although, just to complicate matters, they can hybridise so the tree you are looking at could be a bit of both.

The oak tree can support a wider range of wildlife than any other native tree so plays an important part in the ecology of an area. However two oak trees will not have twice the variety of species as one although it may well have double the volume of them. To increase the range of species in an area it is necessary to plant a range of different tree varieties each of which will attract a number of species which favour that type of tree. Many species are almost exclusive to a particular tree-type, such as the White Letter Hairstreak on Elms or the Four-spot Lift Moth on Dogwood. It is difficult to estimate how many trees we have lost just in the last ten years but road-widening, housing development and natural ageing will have accounted for several hundred. Whilst some losses are inevitable it is noteworthy that there is little evidence of any plans to replace them in this parish by the local authorities.

On the positive side a number of residents have been planting trees whether as individual trees, fruit trees or hedgerow and these include donated packs from the Woodland Trust. The Wildlife Group have planted 190 trees this year, including 15 Oaks, and including many varieties that, although native, are probably not found in the area at the moment such as Black Poplar, Aspen and Purging Buckthorn. It is planned that the Upper Orchid Field will have 30 native tree species growing by the Summer of this year which will make it almost unique locally. We do have our wonderful parks such as Bute and Roath but most of the trees are non-native specimen trees. Tree walks will be held once the trees are in leaf and a Tree Trail is being developed for the Upper Orchid Field.

 



 

1 2 3 8