I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all your support and encouragement over the last 7 years while I have been the Priest in Charge here of the Parishes of Wenvoe and St Lythans.
I have been most fortunate to serve in such a beautiful place but especially to serve in such a lovely community. It has been a privilege to serve with you and to be involved in different aspects of village life. We are lucky in Wenvoe to still maintain our shop, pub, library, halls and school, and of course all the clubs and societies and What’s On that plays such a wonderful role in keeping people connected. I would just like to make a special mention for Gwenfo School, for the children, parents and staff associated with it. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed coming and being with you at school assemblies and inviting you into St Mary’s and a couple of years ago leading a pilgrimage to St Lythans.
The last 18months have been difficult for everyone, but the way the community has pulled together and supported each other has been inspiring and thank you to the special people who have done so much for others.
I have many highlights of my time with you all. Christmas is always a special time and having the community gathered together with Vale Village Church was always a favourite moment. As was the Waiting for Jesus gathering we used to have on Christmas Eve with people of all ages coming dressed as angels or shepherds (plus the occasional king!). We have enjoyed the Scarecrow Festivals and of course the Vicar in the Stocks and the Teddy Bear Parachute Jump off the Tower. We have had candidates for Confirmation and recorded two programmes for Radio Wales Sunday Worship Celebration.
None of this would have been possible without the magnificent congregations. I don’t know what people were expecting when I first arrived but we have been on a good journey together. What people outside of the church don’t realise is how much all churches rely on volunteers, and here Wenvoe, St Lythans (and Sully – my other church) are in the Premier League. So a special thank you to our Reader Emeritus and local historian and editor (the list could go on), to all who have served as Church Wardens, the Treasurers, the leaders of the Building Committee, the Secretaries to the PCC’s, all PCC members, the people who put together the weekly Newsletter and edit the Magazine those who lead worship and read in church, my clergy colleagues, the people who provide the music, those who organise the refreshments and the social occasions we all enjoy as a community, the leaders of Pebbles and all who have worked with the children and young people in the past, the fundraisers, the 200 Club and those who donate through the various ways to the Church, the Flower arrangers, the clock winders, the people who sort out Foodbank and charity collections. Those who clean the churches and polish the brasses and those who keep and have kept the church grounds looking so good. I hope I haven’t left anyone out, but if I have, I apologise. It is because of these wonderful volunteers that our churches have stood for 800 years and will continue to go for centuries to come.
It is now time for a new chapter for me, and a new chapter for the churches. As we enter into Autumn, we are reminded that there is indeed
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3.1
With my thanks to you all for the time we have spent together and my continued prayers to the wonderful people of Wenvoe and St Lythans
25TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION
About 20 people met at Marco’s coffee shop in Porthkerry to celebrate 25 years of Wenvoe Walkers. We enjoyed a good catch up, drinks (and cake for some) and chocolates. A photo album let us all see how much we had changed over the last 10 years! Two short walks of 1hour and ½ hour duration were done by most of us. Thank you to Jackie Custance for making it happen.
We are all very grateful that Bert Bates and John Custance founded the group, to Ian Moody who co-ordinates the walks on offer and to the many people who have offered walks in the intervening years, who are too many to mention but you know who you are. Thank you all.
On a fine day we met in Llancarfan to do a figure of eight walk taking in Moulton (to the west) in the morning and Penmark (to the south) in the afternoon. The idea was that we would return to Llancarfan church at lunchtime to look at its medieval paintings.
We set off up a fairly steep hill, passing the primary school with its colourful posters – one example was ‘Slow Down don’t race’ with a picture of a car hurtling downhill. At the top of our climb, we glimpsed the channel in the distance.
Walking through Moulton we took a small country lane and found a well-preserved stone bridge at the side of the road over a stream. Soon after, we passed an imposing house, Trewallter Fawr, which is thought to date from 17thC and has windows dating from that period. It is Grade II listed and painted dark red like one of the farmhouses at St Fagan’s. It was once used as Sherlock Holmes’ house when BBC Cymru Wales filmed Sherlock.
Returning to Llancarfan a few people got down into the stream to see if they could spot any otter spraint i.e., otter faeces. This is one place in the Vale where it has been seen.
Then we went to the 13thC St Cadoc’s church. Medieval paintings were discovered when a rotten roof timber was being replaced and colour was found under it. In 2013, restoration work removed twenty layers of whitewash to reveal the paintings. Pictures on the walls allowed people who could not read to follow Christian teachings. St Cadoc’s pictures are likely to date from the late 15thC and were probably only visible for about 70 years until Henry VIII’s removal of church images from about 1536. St George and the Dragon and the Seven Deadly Sins cover one area. The Deadly sins are usually: Superbia/Pride, Invidia/envy, Ira/Anger, Avaricia/Avarice, Accidia/ Sloth, Gula/Gluttony and Luxuria/Lust but at St Cadoc’s there is no Envy. Two sins both called sloth, the first a dramatic suicide and the second a lay-a-bed called Somnolencia are present instead. Opposite the deadly sins, St Cadoc’s 15thC artist has created the Seven Works of Mercy or Virtues. Three and a half of these are now revealed but it is suspected that three more are lost to time and later inscriptions.
The pictures are impressive, all the colours shown are original and have not been enhanced by the restoration. Well worth a visit.
We lunched in the churchyard and had a look around the graveyard. One large grave has a stone inlaid in the ground beside it with the engraving ‘Entrance’! Then we continued our walk, heading towards Penmark.
Building work at one house we passed left a toilet on display in a shell of an extension! A blue plaque let us know that, at Bryn Iolo, Iolo Morgannwg (Edward Williams), the founder of the Gorsedd of the Bard was born here on 11 March 1747.
Now we came to a junction where we were to turn right down a lane only to find a notice stating that the path was closed due to an unsafe bridge (the walk had been checked out the day before and this sign appeared overnight) so we had to take a diversion on the road adding about a mile to the walk.
On arrival at Penmark we found the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. North of the church are the remains of Penmark castle. A 13thC wall overlooks a 30m deep ravine above the River Waycock. The castle is unrestored and includes a turret and two-storey tower.
Although I have focused on the buildings and things of interest we found on this walk, we spent most of our time crossing farmland and walking lanes and narrow roads. We saw plenty of animals including cows, calves, sheep, goats with large horns and at one house some very noisy dogs. Near the end of the walk, we spotted some belted Galloway cattle with their wide white belts in the middle of black coats. Returning to Llancarfan we stopped at the Fox and Hounds for (expensive) refreshment.
Walk 8.5 miles, 900ft. Map 151
VILLAGE ENVIRONMENT GROUP
On a beautiful autumn morning the team set about cutting back the roses on the village green. Ieuan brought along his new cordless hedge trimmer and demonstrated its effectiveness. Team member Brian was absent due to being summoned to Switzerland to work on the Hadron Collider. Have looked it up and apparently it’s quite impressive.
Our next get together will be on the 8th November at 9.30 to clear the area at the entrance to Clos Llan Fair.
Wenvoe Wildlife Group
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.
Autumn has arrived but the Valeways strollers have been bathed in sunshine. The Living with Cancer Strollers welcomed a new walker at Cosmeston, and she found herself immersed in conversations with other walkers, as they enjoyed the lakes, trees and fields. Leaves were on the ground, but luckily dry paths were underfoot.
The Carers group enjoyed an exhilarating walk between Friars Point and Nell’s Point, along an empty Whitmore bay: the day before all the dogs were allowed to descend on the beach for the winter season. The rain stayed away which made chatting and catching up easier.
The Stress Buster strollers certainly had any cobwebs blown away as they walked through the Parade gardens to the Old Harbour, along the Cold Knap promenade and around the harp shaped lake.
Sunshine and cloudless skies cannot be promised, but a relaxing stroll in good company can be guaranteed! Join us!
Is it time for a Community Energy Scheme?
The coverage of COP26 and the need to replace fossil fuel based energy generation, coupled with the potential insecurity and dramatic cost rise of our energy supply is a source of concern. We are reaching for our warm sweaters, turning down the thermostat, not leaving the TV on standby etc etc. But is it time to consider an increasingly popular option? Is it time for a Community Energy Scheme for Wenvoe?
What is a Community Energy Scheme? In essence Community Energy Schemes are about community led, and importantly community controlled, renewable energy production, energy efficiency schemes or energy purchase schemes. They can be wholly community owned or with commercial or public sector partners or can act as a trusted intermediary to ensure community interests are considered by commercial generators. The movement is growing in Wales which has more Community Energy schemes per head of population than other parts of the UK. Some of them have been around for over 20 years and have learnt some of the tricks of the trade the hard way but all are willing to share their experiences in order to advance the sector. The sector is supported by Community Energy Wales (CEW) and a look at its map of members will show you wind, solar and hydro generation schemes alongside insulation schemes, provision of charging points, a biomass project that heats a community swimming pool and plans for schemes using heat pumps.
How are they funded? Largely they are run as businesses with a variety of different models; co-operatives, community interest organisations, Ltd companies etc. Investors get a reasonable return on their money but no share of the profit which is used for community benefit and often applied to other environmentally friendly or energy efficiency projects. In common with charities, Directors are usually volunteers. Community members are able to purchase energy at a reliable and often lower price
What other benefits are there? In its State of the Sector 2021 report published earlier this year CEW cites the following benefits:-
- A major practical contribution towards achieving zero carbon emissions
- Involved, energy aware community members are ready to make the behaviour changes necessary to combat climate change
- New jobs and local investment
- Other community driven projects utilising the surpluses that would normally go to shareholders
So what might a scheme for Wenvoe look like? Council buildings and many more houses with solar panels or heat pumps; a way of capturing hydro energy from the water that pours down from the woodland when it rains; a Wind turbine up on the hill… who knows, the community decides based on practical feasibility.
One thing is certain however, the magic ingredient of any successful scheme is a handful of people who are prepared to give some time to get things going. If you are one of those people, let’s make it happen, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Forum Activity
We are still pursuing the monitoring of air pollution in the village and encouraging drivers not to leave engines idling.
We submitted our response to the WG 20mph zones scheme. This is due for implementation in 2023 and there will be further consultation about local issues.
We attended a Road Safety meeting hosted by Jane Hutt SM and attended by other rural Vale communities, Vale of Glamorgan officers and Councillors, South Wales Police and Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change. Other communities shared proven examples of schemes that improve safety, reduce pollution and encouraging active travel.
We have an exploratory meeting with Community Energy Wales planned and a request from the Vale officer in charge of Project Zero to meet with us for an update..
An information pack to welcome newcomers to the village is nearly ready which includes the list of local providers which can be found on our Blog site.
We will be responding to the Vale of Glamorgan consultation on plans to improve the play area at the Grange. You can respond too. blog https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/ .
New members welcome, meetings on Zoom 2nd Thursday each month 7pm. Comment or Contact us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/635369267864402 twitter @ForumGwenfo or e-mail us on email@example.com.