The Village Show 2016

Entry for the Wenvoe Village Show are limited to residents of the Wenvoe Community (Wenvoe, Parc y Gwenfo, Twyn-y-Odyn, St Lythans, Dyffryn) and children who attend the village school. Anyone who has regular connections with a village organisation but resides outside the community boundary and would like to submit an entry should contact the organisers. Contact via or any of the section leaders.

The maximum number of entries per person in any one category is two. Previously entered items are acceptable if they failed to win a prize previously. Full details will be published in the September ‘What’s On’ 2016 Categories  

Fruit & Vegetable – best examples of,

1.  Apples – 3 cookers
2.  Apples – 3 eaters,  
3.  Tomatoes (standard size)- 3 same type
4.  Tomatoes (cherry) – 3 same type
5.  Other fruit – minimum of 5
6.  Beetroot – three  
7.  Carrots – three  
8.  Onions – three  
9.  Potatoes – three  
10. Runner bean – three  
11. Shallots – three  
12. Chillies – three
13. Any other vegetable – One (unless smaller than a medium sized onion then 3 items should be submitted for judging)

Vegetables – whoppers

14. Runner bean – longest
15. Cucumber – longest
16. Marrow – biggest
17. Onion – largest
18 Potato – largest
19. Misshapen vegetable – funniest shape- a caption must also be provided.


20. 4 Scones
21. 6 Welsh cakes
22. Fruit Cake (own recipe)
23. Quiche – own choice
24. Victoria jam sponge 
25. Lemon Drizzle Cake
26. Men Only – Plain vanilla fudge, 8 cubes  
27. Bread (Handmade)
28. Bread (Machine made)
29. Fruit Jam – sweet
30. Fruit jam – bitter
31. Jelly Preserve
32. Marmalade  
33. Chutney (any type)
34. Eggs (home produced) – 3 matched  
35. Homemade drink. Soft or alcoholic – beer, wine etc. 


36. Tied bunch of flowers from your garden
37. Best house plant
38. Handwriting (adult) – 1 to 35 of the Village Show categories
39. Needlepoint/cross-stitch etc  
40. Knitted or cross stitch item
41. Painting/Drawing
42. A wooden craft item.
43 Any other craft item.

Photography – unmounted and no larger than 7” x 5”. Do not write on reverse side please.

44. Tree or trees
45. A four legged friend  
46. Water
47. Family  
48. Circular

Children’s Section – all items MUST be produced by the child

49. Home baked – favourite cake.  
50. Home baked – favourite biscuits.  
51. Drawing or painting of an animal.
52. Handwriting – an extract from my favourite story book (about 25 words).
53. Craft – junk model.
54. Photographs – "My best picture taken in the last year". (The picture must have been taken by the child.)
55. Pre-school child – Piece of art or craft.


56. The limerick – first line must be:-  ‘The was an old dog …….. 

Gardens in South Wales well worth a summer visit

In summer everyone enjoys a colourful garden and the bigger the better. Wenvoe What’s On has in the past covered the joys of the National Garden Scheme which covers private gardens, fine as they are, which are open only a limited basis. This article is about three large gardens which are open to the public for much of the year. They are all within an hour’s drive of Wenvoe and each one has a café to revive weary visitors.

Aberglasney was made famous by the BBC television series “A Garden Lost in Time”. Today it is quite simply one of Wales’ finest gardens. A renowned plantsman’s paradise with a unique Elizabethan cloister garden at its heart, Aberglasney offers the opportunity to explore more than 10 acres of magnificent gardens, along with the fully restored ground floor of Aberglasney’s grade II* listed mansion.  

The house and gardens have had a chequered life. Uninhabited, neglected and vandalised over the years, Aberglasney was on the brink of collapse when it was rescued from oblivion in 1995. The house and gardens were bought by the Aberglasney Restoration Trust and thanks to the generosity of individual donors, trust funds, charitable donations and grant money from many statutory bodies a tremendous amount of work was done in a very short time.

Aberglasney finally opened to the public on the 4th of July 1999.  Aberglasney is located near Llangathen in Carmarthenshire’s beautiful Tywi Valley. You will find it just off the A40, 15 minutes from the county town of Carmarthen and 5 minutes from the market town of Llandeilo. Further information is at the website

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, the Garden is a fascinating blend of the modern and historic. Here you’ll find an inspiring range of themed gardens, the magnificent glasshouse, play areas and a national nature reserve, all set in a Regency landscape which provides the stage for a packed programme of events and courses throughout the year.

This very large garden offers a wide range of visitor amenities with a very good shop, café and restaurant. It has good disabled access and mobility scooters are available for hire. The huge glasshouse is the largest single-span great glasshouse in the world and houses the largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Garden is situated 10 minutes from the M4 and 2 minutes from the A48 in Carmarthenshire, mid-way between Cross Hands and Carmarthen. For Satnav users the postcode is SA32 8HN. It takes just under an hour to drive there from Wenvoe. More details are available at https://

Dewstow hidden gardens and grottoes are rather closer to Wenvoe and it takes only about half an hour to drive there. These wonderful gardens, and their unlikely grottoes, are one of the most exciting horticultural finds of recent years. In 1893 Henry Oakley bought the estate with house and gardens.

He was a rich bachelor and set about creating a glorious garden which, after his death, fell into decline. It has recently been restored and now offers visitors three main attractions. There is a very large rock garden with a wide variety of plants and shrubs, underneath that there is an extensive labyrinth of grottoes with ferns, flowers, waterfalls and fountains.

Then in front of the house there is an area of ponds and walkways and a further grotto. Dewstow has a splendid, if small, café which offers a good range of sweet and savoury foods.  To find Dewstow gardens drive to Caerwent and then, from the middle of town, follow the signs to the garden. Further details can be found at the Dewstow website


It has been a pretty good year for Bluebells and we are well blessed in the parish for the number of woods that are carpeted with them. With over half of the world's population of Bluebells being in the UK it is vital that we look after them but they are under threat from a number of directions. In the past many woods were stripped of bluebells by people selling them on to gardeners although with the current legal penalties on uprooting the bulbs this may have diminished recently. Then there is development either by removing woodland or planting it with conifers as bluebells struggle under the permanent shade of evergreens. However, possibly the major threat is from the Spanish Bluebell which is very commonly planted in Wenvoe.

The two species, ours and the Spanish hybridise easily and the resulting plant is no longer our native bluebell. The two do not have to be growing close together – all it needs is a pollinating insect to fly from one to the other for hybridisation to occur. As we are surrounded by woods with bluebells all of these are at risk from the Iberian interlopers which are well within a short bee flight. So how do you tell them apart?

The native Bluebell is curved at the top and the flowers tend to grow on one side of the stem. The Spanish Bluebell is bigger and more vigorous (which is why gardeners like them) and the flowers grow on all sides of the upright stem. Our native species has a distinct, sweetish scent; the Spanish virtually no smell and the leaves are much broader. The native Bluebell tends to be a much deeper blue colour. Is it an issue?

A survey by Plantlife found that one in six woods in Britain now contains hybrid plants. What can you do to help matters? If you have Spanish Bluebells the only thing you can do is to get rid of them and that does not mean driving out and throwing them out of the car window. That is precisely how so many clumps are appearing by the roadside. They can go out with the green waste collected by the Council as the heat in the composting process effectively kills the bulb and seed. And why not plant the native bluebell? They can be readily obtained online from reputable suppliers and can be bought as bulbs from Garden Centres.

The Wildlife Group has planted quite a few in the orchards that have been bought locally and experience has been that it is better to plant bulbs in late Summer and Autumn than potgrown plants in the Spring as the latter seem to be particularly favoured by small mammals who love to dig them up.  


Sow wallflower seeds in the next few weeks ready for a display next spring. Wallflowers germinate readily if sown thinly into shallow drills in a wellprepared seed bed. Make sure the soil is moist just below the surface. You can expect the seedlings to show in a few weeks. If necessary irrigate the ground afterwards, taking care not to disturb the seedlings which you want to grow into stocky, wellbranched plants.

In October the young wallflowers will be ready to plant out where they are to flower. The “Persian Carpet” variety which I’ve grown several times is a mixture of warm shades and has full perfume. Recently a stunning photo of Bodnant Garden’s enormous laburnum tunnel appeared in some newspapers. Years ago most gardens boasted a laburnum but they’re not so popular these days. It may well be that we have become more aware that laburnum seeds are poisonous, although the best variety – Laburnum x watereri Vossii is almost sterile, so seeds are not produced.

Tomato Care.

Greenhouse tomato plants should be growing fast by now. If raised as single-stem cordons they will need supporting canes or twine. Tie the delicate young plants to their supports using soft jute string. When you pinch out any side shoots, take care not to bruise the stems. Feed with a general fertiliser such as Miracle Gro All Purpose until the first trusses begin to flower, then switch to a high potash feed such as Tomorite. Bush varieties are better for growing outside but don’t put out protected plants unless the weather is warm. Tomatoes can be killed by the lightest frost. 

Parish News




A recent special meeting of the PCC was convened to discuss how St. Mary’s church could be made to fit the changing nature of the church. How we use it for worship and to what other uses the building could accommodate church activities in the future. Over a hundred years ago, the building we use today was greatly changed, and has been a wonderful resource in the village for so many memorable events. The Church Hall or the Reading Room, as so many of the older village people will recall was originally set up by the Jenner family to help with the education of the men folk in the village. It was used in the evenings as a recreational room with a piano and games etc. Then gradually the building became known as the Church Hall and was eventually gifted to St Mary’s Church for our use. Over the years, much has been done to improve the building, including a disabled toilet and a new kitchen and heating system, but now it needs more work and under the guidance of Jon, our priest, it was felt that the time was ripe to sell the building for residential use and use the proceeds of the sale to build an extension to the west end of the church, where we could bring the “Pebbles “ group into the church. Other plans will include toilets, kitchen and a meeting room together with much needed accessible storage space within the tower. These are the plans for the future, and much discussion will take place before we see any definite plans of what is possible when considering any alternation to our 12th century listed building.

Messy Church turned out to Messy Sports in the grounds of the village school on Saturday July 2nd The weather was wet in the morning but cleared up in the afternoon when some 70 mums, dads and their children turned up to a programme of outdoor activities including a water game with plenty of water and liquid soap. The afternoon closed with hotdogs etc around the camp fire, prayers and singing. A great occasion, well planned and thanks go to all who organised this time of fun with parents and others who have the welfare and care of the children at heart.

The Church in Wales has recently produced a document called the Church in Wales Safeguarding Policy and this has been on the agenda of a recent PCC meeting. It was wholeheartedly adopted and Mrs Jen Ford is our safeguarding officer for the parish. This policy sets out the way forward to keep our young children, teenagers and all vulnerable people safe when faced with any abuse in their lives, and can only be commended for all who call themselves Christians.

The Parish Magazine is being relaunched as from September. Our present editor Mr Byron Williams feels it is time he gave up the responsibility of the quarterly magazine, so it has been decided that we take this opportunity to combine our magazine with the Parish of Sully. It will now become a monthly magazine and will be on sale in our two churches on the first Sunday of each month at a price of 50p per copy. This is another way of bringing the activities of all our parishes together so that we can be more aware of what is going on within our part of the Ministry Area. I have agreed to be the co-ordinator of the Wenvoe contribution and if we are to establish a meaningful Wenvoe connection I will need to have contributions from our different sections within St Mary’s and to publicise the events we are planning during the year. It remains the intention of the PCC to circularise the whole of the parish at Christmas and Easter, details of our services to celebrate these great events in the life of the church in Wenvoe and St. Lythan’s

The Scarecrow Festival is planned for the weekend of the 24th September, which will also be our Harvest Festival. Last year’s event was a great success with many amusing entries to be seen and judged. This year we want it to be bigger and better, so thinking caps on and bring your entry along, and join in the fun. It is not the winning but entering that matters. Good luck.

The Barn Dance planned for the Autumn has been postponed to the Spring of 2017 due to a number of reasons. However, we look forward to this fund raising family event, the proceeds being split between the fund for Romeo and St.Mary’s Building fund.

Lastly our “Pebbles Group” enjoyed a super picnic and sports at Porthkerry Park on Sunday the 17th July as they wrapped up a terrific year’s activities, Sunday by Sunday in term time. The group has seen a steady growth in Mums and Dads bringing their children to take part in craft activities featuring the gospel message for the day. Once again many thanks go to their organiser Mrs Alison Williams for the time she and her helpers put in to bring our children too knowledge of all the Bible stories and prayers and songs.


With every blessing     Parry Edwards

Library Update

Users of the Library will be aware that our volunteers are now attending the Library alongside the Vale librarian for most of its opening times. This is to maintain their skills following training a couple of months ago and familiarise themselves with procedures and you, the borrowers. The opening hours remain as always, though the Vale have been unable to provide staff on at at least one occasion so the library has been open slightly less than normal. As a reminder these times are:
Tuesday 1000-1300
Wednesday 1000-1200 and 1500-1700
Saturday 0900-1300

We still need more volunteers, particularly for Saturday mornings. To make the Saturday shift more attractive for volunteers we are going to make it two two-hour slots (9-11 and 11-1), If you are interested talk to the librarian and complete and application form.

At the time of writing there still isn't an agreed date for the Handover. This is also the case in the other libraries similarly affected in the Vale but things are moving, albeit slowly.
Please support the Book Sale on 3rd September in the Community Centre!

Alex McDonald

Pontneddfechan and Penderyn

We started from Craig y Ddinas a towering stone wall which translates as ‘Fortress Rock’. The car park was busy and groups of adventurers were donning wet suits and crash helmets ready for ‘gorge walking’ activities in this area famous for its beautiful waterfalls.

We kept to the southern side of the Afon Mellte as we set off and stayed on the lower path so that we could enjoy the sights and sounds of the teeming water below us. The valley was strewn with bluebells, was sheltered from any wind and felt warm even though the day was fresh.

After a short while we came to a bridge, with an excellent view of the river which led to the Gunpowder works. The Glyn-Neath Gunpowder Works, or Powder Mills, were established in 1857 to produce blasting powder (known as black powder) for use in coal mining and limestone quarrying. The works operated until 1931. It may seem strange to place such a factory in a steep valley but the location was actually well suited to the dangerous process of manufacturing gunpowder.

The site was large and remote, stretching over a mile and a half along the north bank of the River Mellte, with room to create plenty of space between each factory building to ensure that any explosions were localized. Safety was paramount; employees at the works wore leather slippers fastened with wooden pegs over their shoes and boots. Trousers were not allowed pockets or turn-ups to prevent grit to be carried into the works in case it caused sparks.

The river provided energy to turn waterwheels etc. and the raw materials required were sourced in the vicinity and moved upriver on a tram road. This tram road is used today as a level footpath, ‘The Powder Trail’ allowing visitors to explore the remains of the works.

Moving back across the bridge we climbed out of the valley and continued upriver until we arrived above the huge waterfall which is Sgwyd yr Eira – ‘fall of snow’.

We descended the steep and uneven path and a few people walked behind the waterfall to look at the world through a wall of water, very refreshing and exciting. The space behind the waterfall has been created by water eroding the soft rock behind it and there may be loose rocks so it isn’t advisable to stay too long.

As we came to the head of the valley we heard our first cuckoo of the year and as we emerged into open countryside its call became loud and clear. Then the terrain changed and we found ourselves stepping across tussocks in the moor trying not to dip into any of the waterlogged areas or turn an ankle (boots really earn their keep at times like these) but also enjoying some gentle climbing and the sunshine.

After a while we found ourselves in a very boggy area and although most of the group successfully negotiated it someone at the back (yours truly) stepped on a tussock which promptly descended at a rate of knots leaving her with one leg up to the knee in brackish water, and falling forward onto the peaty bog. A nearby friend quickly grabbed her arm and helped her out, one leg now soaking wet from knee to toes and the other knee soaked. As the sun was hot the trousers were soon drying.

The path was easier near Penderyn, although tempted to stop, we walked past the Tavern Llew Goch and arrived at St Cynog’s church. It has a distinctive weather vane that looked like a peacock but on closer inspection is a cockerel.

#a JUNE W1 IMG_4864Lunch was in a nearby field and we could hear a peacock calling. Lunch took a little longer than usual as a certain person changed into spare socks (carried for years but never used before) and spread various items out to dry in the sun. It was a very pleasant spot and our view splendid.

We were now on the final leg of the walk going generally west. Our route took us around Penderyn resevoir and through Trebanog Isaf. Then we came across a bunkhouse with a tap for people to wash their bicycles and next to it a brilliant gate made from old bicycles.

After crossing a very steep gully, with slippery stone – a challenge for many of us, once again helped by friends- and an open area we made our way back to arrive at Craig y Ddinas once more.

A lovely day’s walking, though a bit wet underfoot at times we clocked up 8 miles and 1500ft.

Tuesday Group – Police and Crime Commissioner

There was a change in our programme for our final meeting of the session and instead of the AGM we had a talk from Mike Baker who, at the time, was a candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.

Mike was a serving police officer for nearly 30 years taking early retirement because of a spinal injury.He attended university in his spare time gaining a business degree at UWIC followed by a post graduate diploma in law and then qualified as a barrister at Cardiff University. He later qualified as a solicitor and now practices in Cardiff.

As a police officer he was involved in community groups in both Cardiff and the Rhondda and then as a lawyer dealt directly with representatives of the courts, the Probation Service, Crown Prosecution Service and the Victim Support Agency.

Mike then clarified for us the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner, a topic of which we had very little knowledge. These duties include having responsibility to hold the police to account on behalf of the public. This means holding the Chief Constable to account for the performance of the Force Area’s Officers and staff. He would also provide a link between the police and communities, working to turn the desires and ambitions of the public in terms of policing and crime reduction into action.

The Police and Crime Commissioner receives all the funding relating to policing and reducing crime and in consultation with the Chief Constable is responsible for how it is spent, He must also set strategic direction and aims for the police through the Police and Crime Plan. He can also hire and fire the Chief Constable when necessary as long as the relevant legal requirements are met.

Wider responsibilities include responsibility for reducing crime and a duty to deliver better value for money and improve the effectiveness of the police. A lively question and answer session followed and by the end the group felt that they had a much better understanding of the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

At the election two days later, Alun Michael was chosen to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.

Playgroup News

For all parents wishing to enrol their children from September 2016, a ‘drop in’ session will be held from 3:30pm on Thursday 30th June.

We have amended our registration to register children from the age of 2 years and 4 months into the setting. For those who will be attending Gwenfo Nursery in September, we can offer extended care either by: walking the children from Playgroup at 12:55 for their afternoon session at Nursery – 5 days per week – Monday to Friday collecting children at 11:20am from Nursery and across into playgroup until 3:15pm on a Monday and Thursday only at this time.

We will send more details of further planned open mornings to be held in September via July and August What’s On.

In the meantime you can keep up to date with all the changes on our website: or for more information email wenvoeplaygroup

Gwenfo Primary School

We can’t believe that it is nearly half term… and how quickly the time is going! We have had a very busy first half summer term :

Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed their swimming sessions and all did very well indeed. Years 1, 3 and 5 have all led worship on a Friday morning; it is always such a special time for the children when their family members are invited to join us for their assemblies.

As part of Year 1 and 2’s Mini Zoo topic, 2 shepherds visited school, with their sheep! A wonderful time was had by all – and the children unanimously decided to adopt a sheep! It won’t be living in school (you will be glad to hear!) but nevertheless, close links will be established!

We were very proud of our netball teams for playing so well in the recent Irene Butcher netball tournament. A massive thank you must go to Mrs Plevey for the time she freely gives to coach netball and organise matches.

Years 2 to 6 have recently sat the national numeracy and literacy tests; we are extremely proud of the sensible and calm way in which they all approached the tests.

We enjoyed a wonderful assembly, led by our visitor, Steve Harris, in which the children were treated to a little magic as well. It is always fascinating to watch!

Before we know it, we will be back for the last half term, which promises to be busy, action packed and fun!

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