Inaugural Carers Walk


The inaugural Carers walk took place at Barry Island on the last Thursday of April. The walkers experienced all 4 seasons in one hour as they strolled along the coastline: Winter rain on Nell’s Point, Summer sunshine on the promenade, Autumn wind in the gardens and Spring showers on exiting the cafe!

New research by Carers UK claim 6.5 million people are carers, or 1 in 8 adults and it’s anticipated that by 2037, the number of carers will increase to 9 million. Caring can be a lonely job and the walk for carers is offered to carers and their families to give some gentle exercise in a lovely seaside environment with good company!

Alan, a carer came along to the first walk and thoroughly enjoyed the walk, chat and tea!

If you would like to join us, we meet at the Barry Island train station on the last Thursday of every month at 10.30am.



Brecon Nature Reserve and Hidden Valley

Brecon Nature Reserve and Hidden Valley

We parked in the lay-by, on A470, at Brecon Nature reserve about a mile north of Storey Arms. A notice stated ‘In just a few hundred metres you will find yourself enclosed within a shady, atmospheric amphitheatre created by the soaring craggy cliffs of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad. The lofty exposed moorland of Fan Frynach separates this area from a second, equally spectacular curtain of cliffs at Craig Cwm Du. The steep rocky slopes, sharp escarpments and crags are home to rare arctic-alpine plants at their southernmost location in the UK and not found again until the Alps. A history of lower levels of grazing has resulted in a richer variety of wildflowers in the reserve compared with surrounding areas of the National Park.’

‘A glacier carved out this valley during the last ice age. As it melted about 18,000 years ago it exposed the steep rock walls of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad. Sometime later a catastrophic landslide cascaded millions of tonnes of rock from these crags down the slopes. You can still see the tension cracks in the bedrock. The extent of this landslide is visible as the steep bank you can see from the A470. Up until 11,500 years ago a smaller glacier occupied the back of the hollow, leaving a series of ridges of small rocks and debris called moraines.’

We took the right hand path, climbing immediately and were soon in the ‘amphitheatre’. We were wrapped in a silence broken only by birdsong. The place felt so peaceful and the whole area was covered in swathes of bluebells. Larks soared as we passed and the harsh call of members of the crow family echoed from the heights.

Gazing at the awesome hills around us their height seemed daunting but we gradually moved through the Nature reserve and found ourselves at Carnedd Cairn, 1 mile into the walk with a climb of 1,000ft under our belts – the hardest climb of the walk.

It was a fairly flat walk to the trig point at Fan Frynach(629m), where we took in the spectacular views: to the east Pen y Fan and to the west, in the distance, Carmarthen Fan with rolling farmland to the north and below us in the next valley.

We started to descend and after about 200 metres picked up a good path heading north to connect with Sarn Helen (a Roman metalled road which continues to Ystradfellte and its waterfalls). The path was well defined with a ditch at the side, a farm track perhaps or an old drover’s road? But looking at the land rising away from us we could see paths across it at regular intervals – so most probably old forestry commission land which has been returned to its

‘original’ state. We watched a pair of red kites soaring above us until they were driven away by crows.

On Sarn Helen we met a farmer sitting side-saddle on an off-roader with her 2 dogs. Soon a motor cyclist kicking up loads of dust approached us, closely followed by 4 more that slowed down and exchanged smiles.

Now we arrived at the Cwm Du valley, time for lunch; we walked a short way and sat beside the stream, Nant Cwm-du. The land was dotted with distinctive craggy trees sculpted by the harsh climate. We were enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, listening to the babble of the stream and watching a tiny caterpillar which wafted in front of us on an invisible thread. The silence was destroyed by the sound of a car engine, as a number of 4x4s drove along Sarn Helen. They were soon gone and peace reigned.

Walking up the valley, beside the stream, was easy to start, then and as we climbed became more difficult, making us crisscross the stream, until eventually we came to a waterfall, a vertical edge with excellent footholds enabling a climb out of the valley. We rested near the top on a large flat rock to admire the valley and absorb the atmosphere of the place. Then up to the Beacons Way – so nice to be on a footpath again and Pen y Fan came back into view.

Soon we were facing a steep descent back to the A470, taking a zigzag path on the steepest sections we eventually got to the bottom. Looking back at it was scary!

Throughout the walk we had heard the call of the cuckoo, we had seen lots of wildflowers, including tormentil, welsh poppies (not in flower), violets, speedwell and saxifrage. There were very few sheep and quite a few horses grazing the area. The weather was perfect, hardly any wind, cloudy with occasional weak sunshine, excellent visibility, cool temperature and most importantly – no rain. We had seen only 6 other walkers all day – a brilliant day. Walk 6½ miles, ascent 2000ft. MapOL12.



Sharing New Experiences


Sylvia Harvey


The Rose Playhouse, Bankside


The Rose Theatre, built in 1587, was the first Elizabethan Theatre on Bankside and was where Shakespeare learned his craft.

I went there to a production of Twelfth Night, as a musical and set on a cruise liner. You are pre-warned there is no heating and no toilets.

On arrival you are given a blanket, the stage is small, you share it with the cast and it overlooks the protected archaeological site of the original theatre.

It was a magical performance, singing, music, dancing and the words of Shakespeare. An experience to be recommended.

The Garden Museum, Lambeth

This museum was set up to save an abandoned church and a knot garden where the gardener John Tradescent was buried. This museum is Britain’s only museum of the art, history and design of gardens. A tranquil place to visit and best of all they have the most delicious cinnamon buns in the Garden café.



May Update


Limerick competition.

Congratulations to Ian Moody who won a bottle of Prosecco for winning this year’s Limerick competition.



A pig with plenty of zeal

With friends was caught trying to steal

While questioned at length

He mustered his strength

And refused to admit or to squeal.





Trips We have two trips planned so book your seats early to avoid disappointment.

Sat July 13th Cheddar Gorge (Full advert page 10)

Sat Nov 30th London Trip. £22

Pop-up Book Stalls: We continue to hold our successful pop-ups. Look out for us outside the Village Stores over the next few months with a selection of good quality donated books at reasonable prices.

Home Service: If you have mobility problems and are finding it difficult to visit the library, we offer a home service where we can deliver, return and even help you choose your books. Please contact us for further details.

Volunteers: As our range of services are expanding, we need more volunteers. If you have a few spare hours a month to help us in any way, please email us or call into the library for an informal chat and a warm welcome.

Clwb Clonc: Our Welsh conversation group continues to go from strength to strength. This is an excellent opportunity for learners and first language Welsh speakers who want to practise their conversational skills. Weekly meetings are held on Mondays in the café at Pugh’s Garden Centre at 11 am, and at 7pm on the second Thursday of the month in the bar of the Wenvoe Arms. Croeso i bawb.

Book Bags: We have some lovely grey canvas book/shopping bags for sale in the library at £5 each.

Off the Shelf

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby was an easy read. The story is set around Barbara Parker who fifteen minutes after winning Miss Blackpool of 1964 decided that becoming a beauty queen and remaining in Blackpool was not for her. Inspired by her television idol Lucille Ball, she headed for London, determined to make her mark as a comedian. After finding a job on a cosmetics counter in a London department store, she met a theatrical agent, Brian Debenham, who arranged an audition for a television sitcom pilot based around the domestic life of a newlywed couple Barbara (and Jim). Barbara changed her name to Sophie Straw and found stardom.

All the members of the ‘Off the Shelf ‘ were half way through the book before they realised that this was a true story. Although an amusing, easy read and for some, a trip down 1960’s memory lane, we did not want to invest too much in the characters as we felt that Hornby gave them little depth of personality. It was a superficial read that none of the group would recommend. Not a classic Hornby. 6/10

Meet the Author welcomes David Simmonds, former BBC journalist and author.



A New Home for Pollinators


Our latest project involves a piece of land made available to us by the Reader family which we shall use to benefit pollinators – bees, butterflies and other insects. We are all aware of how serious the future is for those insects which help to pollinate crops, flowers and fruit trees so we shall be planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers that are particularly beneficial to them. If you are concerned about the future of the planet you are very welcome to get involved with the project either as an individual, a family or a group. Just get in touch with us and we can discuss what you could do – the photo shows one tree we shall be planting which is so good for bees that it is called the Bee Bee Tree! We have already had our first donation from Mike and Glenys Tucker and that will go towards a couple of these trees.

On 29th June we shall be leading a walk looking at poisonous plants in the countryside so if you fancy coming along just turn up outside the Village Hall at 1pm. The walk will be around 4 miles and will include visits to the Elizabethan and Welsh orchards. Dogs welcome but there will be some stiles they will need to navigate.

Green Flag judging took place in May so we hope that we will be able to boast 6 Green Flag sites this year. The Easter Egg trail took place, but we had very few children doing it so will not be repeating this in future years.

Open Farm Sunday is on 9th June at Goldsland Farm and the Wildlife Group will be leading a couple of walks into the surrounding countryside – a short walk in the morning for families and a slightly longer one in the afternoon. Check our Facebook pages for updates and times.



May Walk Report


Why does a walking report have a picture of smiling people sitting in a cafe, sipping coffee and eating cake, to accompany it?

The answer is straightforward: the chat and the coffee (other beverages are available!), are an important and integral part of any Cosmeston stroll. On this spring walk, Betty and Helen found themselves leading the walk. When Lynne caught them up and asked them to guide the group back to the cafe, they replied that they were too busy talking to know how to get back!

The good news is that we did get back. Two Canadian visitors joined the walk and thought Cosmeston Lake was as impressive as any lakes they have seen in Canada. I think they were being generous in their praise, but Cosmeston certainly is an attractive place at this time of the year.

If you would like to share in the beauty of a short stroll around Cosmeston and enjoy a chat during the walk and afterwards in the cafe, then we will meet you at 10:30 on the first Thursday of every month outside the information centre



Plan Your June Activities


RHS top tips for this month.

  1. Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds.
  2. Be waterwise.
  3. Harvest salads and early potatoes.
  4. Position Summer hanging baskets and containers outside.
  5. Pinch out the side shoots on tomatoes.
  6. Mow the lawn every week.
  7. Plant out Summer bedding.
  8. Stake tall or floppy plants.
  9. Prune Spring flowering shrubs.
  10. Shade greenhouses to help with cooling and to avoid scorching.

New evidence says that we started cultivating some 23,000 years ago. The one thing that has not changed in all that time is the need for weeding. Hoeing regularly will stop the weeds getting the upper hand. Magnolias need be cutback now. Severe pruning of Rhododendrons should be left until Springtime. You can take softwood cuttings of Fuchsia and Hydrangea now. Rose enthusiasts take some of the buds off their plants to increase the size of the remaining blooms, but I wouldn’t have the heart to do that. If you want to grow your own Spring bedding for next year you need to start sowing now with favourites like Pansies and Wallflowers. With the warm weather and long days pests and diseases are abundant. Treat as soon as any become apparent. We must also take care of ourselves and wear hats along with sunblock. There has been a lot in the news of late about the effects of pesticides on the environment. The UK has strict laws on what we can use, so please read the label and only use recommended doses when justified.

Great to see so many of you at the WI table-top sale in May. Some of the questions put to me about growing veg would be best answered by the one and only Mr Gordon Jones. Just form an orderly queue outside the library when Mr Jones is in residence. It has been brought to my attention that another library volunteer, Clare Ellis, is an expert on Clematis.

Many of us will have an unkempt part of the garden. You are helping nature by letting it take care of itself. The Wenvoe Wildlife Group will love you for it. This group does brilliant work in and around Wenvoe and if you could lend a hand a warm welcome awaits you.

July sees some of Wenvoe’s gardens open to the public and this venture is being led by Brian and Sandra Jones. We have at last managed to get the one and only Gerry Crump on board. If you want to see how to prolong an active life please go along to see Phylis and Gerry’s garden.

Take care and happy gardening



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