Wye Valley

Wye Valley

At last, we have freedom to travel for our walks and to meet in increasing numbers. Four of us travelled to Goodrich Castle (English Heritage) in Herefordshire for a walk beside the river Wye.

The beginning of the walk was along the road to Kerne bridge, a beautiful old stone bridge with several arches. Despite the traffic on the road this stretch was spectacular as, we could see the outline of Goodrich Castle on the hill, a country house set back from the road and bright yellow fields of oil seed rape all with a backdrop of dramatic purple, grey heavy clouds and even though we knew we were in for a soaking of a different sort we soaked it up.

The country house, whose buildings are Grade I listed, was originally the refectory of the Augustinian, Flanesford Priory. Weakened by the Black Death the priory was one of the first to succumb at the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

At Kerne Bridge we descended to the footpath alongside the Wye and from the start we were accompanied by canoeists on the river, increasing in number as the day wore on. We spotted lots of swans on the river (some nesting) as well as mallards and two mandarin ducks.

The footpath was blocked by a fallen tree whose root ball seemed to be about 10ft high. Others had passed before us, so we were able to get around it. Walking through open fields we saw the usual symbol of spring, lambs aplenty but mostly in ‘gangs’ away from their ewes. Cows grazed with calves and we were lucky to see a calf suckling.

At Welsh Bicknor there is a flamboyant High Victorian Church and the youth hostel, a former rectory. The land is owned by the YHA and we noticed a couple of stylish, camouflaged glamping pods were being installed. We stopped here for lunch. A quick look around the outside of the church shows an amazing amount of decoration, including 3 arches in the porch besides the one above the door

We came upon a new memorial to a group of scientists who died when their aircraft caught fire 15,000ft above the Forest of Dean and plummeted to earth. It was on a return journey to RAF Defford, near Worcester, from South Wales. Alan Dower Blumlein, a driving force in the development of airborne radar, was one of the dead, along with other colleagues from EMI, the RAF and the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE). They were working on H2S radar which was a cutting edge “Air to Surface” radar system that went on to help win WWII. The plane was carrying the highly secret cavity magnetron and Sir Bernard Lovell (who was later knighted for his work at Jodrell Bank and had given up his seat on the plane to another scientist) sifted through the wreckage on the night of the crash to retrieve it. He was affected by the tragedy for the rest of his life. Blumlein’s wife is quoted on the memorial ‘If you have to die, this is a beautiful place’. The sacrifice of the 11 men is also remembered by a memorial stained-glass window which was installed at Goodrich Castle chapel on the 50th anniversary of the crash.

Continuing our walk one of us looked back and spotted a deer where we had just been. As we stopped and watched lots more followed and began to graze. Later as we passed woodland, we saw another herd of deer. How lucky was that two herds of fallow deer in one day?

As we approached Symonds Yat, we passed the grave of a child in his 16th year who drowned while bathing in the river. At an outcrop of rock, we could see two separate birds sat on nests but so far away it was difficult to identify them. Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint is well known as one of the best places in the country to watch peregrine falcons, so maybe we saw one.

We left the river on a path to Coppet Hill, climbing back to Goodrich village and then up to the castle.

What a fabulous walk, apart from one (very heavy) shower the sun shone all day, the area is beautiful with lots of interest, both historic and natural. This stretch of the River Wye, from Kerne Bridge to Coppet Hill, is shaped a bit like an upside-down heart. Goodrich Castle is red sandstone, dates mainly from 13th century and is worth exploring but the café was still open for refreshment, so we had tea and cake in the spring sunshine whilst wondering what the traffic on the M4 was going to be like on a bank holiday Friday.

Walk 9 miles, level walk apart from the climb back to Goodrich Castle at the end.



A Highly Commended Certificate




Hopefully all members, their families and friends are remaining safe and well.

We were all delighted to learn that Paula Johnson received a highly commended certificate for her photograph of “New Life” in the WI Spring Virtual Show. Paula is one of our newer members and we would like to extend many congratulations to her – it was lovely to see the photograph of the duck with its duckling in the Glamorgan Federation Newsletter.

This year Lynne Stubbings is stepping down as NFWI Chair. We were able to share her experiences over the last four years as soon as we opened the May and June ‘21 copy of WI Life. Her proudest moment was when she represented the WI in the Remembrance Parade in 2018. (Clearly a very special honour as to date this is the only time the WI has been invited to take part.) During her time in office Lynne has attended many events and functions. Even our very own Glamorgan Federation got a mention, as she had seen the Centenary of World War I Exhibition at Margam Abbey, produced by Cwm Brombil WI. The person replacing Lynne is to be announced at the Annual Meeting on June 8th – virtual of course due to the current situation.

May10th to May16th was Mental Health Awareness Week. The most recent edition of WI Life was referred to as “The Mental Wellbeing Issue”. It had many pages of help, hope and inspiration – especially the pages devoted to the various WI members who told their stories.

As we step into June our thoughts turn to our dear friend Margaret, who passed away suddenly on June 9th 2020. The gavel is ready for the next meeting and so Margaret will always be with us.

If you are celebrating a birthday in June please accept our warmest wishes for that special day.

We are all looking forward to the time when we can come together for our monthly meetings and enjoy our WI membership for many years to come. Hopefully that special day is not too far away. In the meantime stay well, stay safe and stay in touch.



Dark & Squidgy Chocolate Torte

Dark & Squidgy Chocolate Torte

200g unsalted butter

200g bar dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, chopped

4 large eggs

200g golden caster sugar

50g plain flour

50g ground almonds

cocoa powder, for dusting

Heat oven to 180C fan. Butter and line base and sides of a 23cm spring form tin. Put the butter and chocolate into a pan and gently melt together until smooth. Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 mins until billowy and about the thickness of old fashioned custard. Pour the chocolate and butter mix into the whisked eggs and sugar, then fold it in with a large metal spoon. Mix the flour, almonds and 1/4 tsp of salt together, then fold into the mix until even. Spoon into the tin and bake for about 35-40mins until evenly set with a slight crust all over the top. Leave the cake to cool until warm, then release from the tin. Dust with cocoa, then cut into wedges.

Serve with a good quality vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.



Chicken Nacho Grills

Chicken Nacho Grills

40g bag tortilla chips

4 skinless chicken breasts

200g tub fresh spicy tomato salsa

142ml pot soured cream

handful grated mature cheese

Heat oven to 180C. Crush the tortilla chips. Put the chicken breasts on a non-stick baking tray, season, then slash each 3 times with a sharp knife. Spoon 1 tbsp of salsa on top of each, then 1 tbsp soured cream. Sprinkle the chips over the chicken, then the cheese. Roast for 15 – 20 mins until the topping is golden and melting. Serve with warm garlic bread.

While the oven is on, why not make ‘Schwartz Garlic and Herb’ potato wedges. Follow the instructions on the packet for a perfect side addition to your chicken and garlic bread.



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.



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