June Letters



Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

On behalf of Wenvoe Community Council, I would like to thank the organising committee for putting on such a wonderful event.

In particular I would like to thank Mrs Glenys Tucker and Cllr Rhian Sexton who were on the organising committee from the start. I would also like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who helped with the Beacon lighting / Toposcope and made the Saturday afternoon tea such a success. The cakes were delicious and the exhibition of memorabilia was fantastic.

Thank you all again

Cllr Janet Williams. Chair



I should like to thank everyone who was involved in organising the excellent Platinum Jubilee events which took place in Wenvoe. From the bunting decorations in the streets to the beautiful flowers, the memorable lighting of the beacon and the moving display of memorabilia in the Community Centre.

Many people contributed to this success but none more than Mike and Glenys Tucker. There was such a positive feeling of friendship and community throughout the village. Long may its legacy remain.

Carol (Wyllie)




Platinum Jubilee Thank Yous


On the 2nd June 1953 Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II amid all the pomp and ceremony that we Brits are known for.

Roll forward seventy years and the country celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. Events and street parties were planned up and down the country and Wenvoe was no exception.

The Beacon was lit in Twyn yr Odyn on Thursday 2nd June and the event was well attended. This was also the first time for many people to see the commemorative Toposcope in situ at the site of the Quarrymen’s stone. The Toposcope was designed by Ian Moody and thanks are extended to him for his time and design.

Many thanks to Dickon Oliver who led the walk up from the village and Jonathan Bird for organising and lighting the Beacon.

An outdoor service was held in the church grounds on Friday with picnics and games galore. Many thanks to the Church Committee for organising.

Saturday saw Wenvoe’s answer to Bake Off – we had seventy entries in the Cake and biscuit competition between the children’s and the adults’ categories.

Sian Jones and Anne Leslie registered each entry and made sure that all of the names were kept secret – well done Ladies!

The standard was very high and a big thank you to the judges Candice Shibani and Sandra Jones. What a task they had in choosing the winners and runners up! Thank you to Kelly Stevenson for organising the competition prizes

The exhibition in the hall on Wenvoe Past was a great success. We were so pleased that so many people shared their memories and mementoes of past Jubilees and general Wenvoe and Twyn yr Odyn history for everyone to enjoy. The cakes and biscuits from the competition were enjoyed by all along with a cup of tea and a natter!

The exhibition was the culmination of many hours of collating photos, clothes, toys which were then displayed on tables and on the boards in the hall. Huge thanks to Glenys and Mike Tucker, as not only did they collect all of exhibition material, but they also decorated the hall and indeed the village in the runup to the Jubilee weekend. They also had the mammoth task of making sure that everything was returned to its rightful owners.

Many thanks to George Burke for his input with the flyers and his enthusiasm in making sure that as many people as possible knew about the planned events.

Another big thank you to Abby Gaughan, Hazel Crockford, Annette Patterson, George Burke, and his granddaughter Esther, for helping us with setting up the exhibition in the Hall and for helping to clear up afterwards.

Lastly but by no means least the ‘tea’ ladies Heulwen Davies and Carol Wyllie for making sure that the refreshments flowed freely – nattering is thirsty work!

I would also like to extend our gratitude to Wenvoe Community Council for funding the street and hall decorations, the Commemorative flag, the prizes and the tea and coffee in the hall

Finally, on behalf of myself, Rhian Sexton , and the Jubilee Committee we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended the events and we hope that you enjoyed them as much as we did!

For everything!


Wildlife Is All Around

There Is Wildlife All Around

Look up – look down; there is wildlife around. Scan the skies for a sighting of the Red Kite, being spotted more frequently around the parish. Common in Shakespeare’s London where they helped to keep the streets clean by scavenging for dead animals, the Red Kite has been here in Wales far longer than Homo Sapiens. Bones have been found in Gower caves dating back 120,000 years along with those of lions, bison and rhinos. In mediaeval times the birds were protected but by the 16th century, farmers were poisoning them in the mistaken belief that they killed lambs and a bounty was put on them by the king – you could earn yourself a penny for every one you killed. By the beginning of the 20th century they were extinct in England and Scotland and there were just two breeding pairs in mid Wales. With protection and reintroductions from abroad we are now back up to around 4,500 breeding pairs in the UK. It is the National Bird of Wales so look up and see if you can spot one.

Many of you have a pond in your garden, so look down and you could well find a newt or two. If you do have them they are likely to be the Smooth or Common Newt. The small Palmate Newts tend not to be found here but the very large and rare Great Crested Newt has been found in the parish but usually in larger ponds in the countryside. Create a pond, large or small, and newts will soon find their way to it. Whilst they seek out ponds to breed, newts spend much of the year on the land. They breathe air so if you are patient you will often see them breaking the surface to take in air. Better still go out after dark and shine a torch into your pond as newts are more active at night. Many residents have reported having them in their ponds but as they love eating tadpoles you might not get so many frogs. A young newt is called an ‘eft’.


The Usk Valley Walk


A couple of months ago Isobel and I were camping in Pencelli a lovely little village Southeast of Brecon. One day we walked down the canal to Talybont on Usk and we came across signs for the Usk Valley Walk (UVW). When we came back to Wenvoe I did some research and found that the UVW stetches fifty miles from Caerleon, on the outskirts of Newport, to Brecon. The route follows the river Usk the whole way, but the path is very varied on the journey. The word Usk is derived from old English for “abounding in fish”. I found a couple of good friends and we decided to walk the UVW over three days in May.

The great thing about the Usk Valley is that, unlike most of the valleys in South Wales it escaped the ravages of the Industrial Revolution which saw coal mines and iron works introduced between Carmarthen and Newport. Instead, the Usk retains its natural course flowing down from Fan Foel on the north side of the Black Mountain into the Usk Reservoir before carrying on through Brecon. Below Crickhowell the river crosses from Powys into Gwent. From Abergavenny it meanders past small hamlets and villages before reaching the delightful market town of Usk, then Caerleon and the former Roman fortress of Isca before entering the Severn estuary at Newport. The Usk is a famous fishing river and both salmon and trout can be caught. It is said to be one of the top ten fly fishing rivers in the United Kingdom.

The normal direction of travel for hikers is from Caerleon to Brecon and so we caught the 07.45 train from Cardiff to Newport and then took a taxi the short distance to Caerleon. The gods were not smiling on us as we set off in rain towards the very well-kept Celtic Manor golf course, and we soon became lost, but a green keeper riding a large mower quickly put us back on track. After a muddy slog through Wentwood along a forestry track we emerged to see the very grand Bertholey house in front of us. This is a rebuilt Georgian mansion with impressive views across and along the valley. It was built around 1830 and destroyed by a fire started accidentally by a drunken guest. Winding downhill past magnificent wrought iron gates we came upon the M50 dual carriageway that had been the cause of traffic noise all morning. The route now led off uphill past blue fields of linseed, and then of wheat where a young deer sprang up in front of us and darted away.

On this first afternoon we had the pleasure of walking the banks of the river for hours. We saw very many ducks with their sweet ducklings. Nature gives ducklings a marvellous mottled plumage with colours that match the riverbank so they can avoid predators. There were many swans and some geese. A little further on we saw a fisherman with a fish on his line and we sat on the opposite bank to watch him slowly reel a trout into his net. It was a bit of a struggle for him in his waders, but he appreciated our applause when he succeeded and doffed his hat to us in return.

We arrived footsore at Usk in the mid-afternoon, the sun was high, and we were dying for a cool pint of beer. Happily, the historic Three Salmons hotel was open, and we were able to sit with our drinks in the cool and shady garden. We had booked accommodation in the Castle Inn close by, but it did not open until later so like schoolboys we set off to explore Usk and its castle. The Castle Inn was first class. We were given three good rooms each very well furnished and equipped, and a breakfast thrown in for £60, which is the best value I have seen for many years. The bar was full of locals, which is always a good sign, and we ate supper in the restaurant which was excellent.

The next morning, we were soon crossing the bridge to continue up the west side of the river passing the campus of Coleg Gwent. The sight of the Chain Bridge was familiar, and I knew that there was a popular inn on the other side. It was looking like rain so we asked if they could serve us coffee? The place was not open, but the publican kindly stepped up and served us good coffee which we enjoyed outside as our boots were muddy. Then it was waterproofs on and along the riverbank again towards Clytha Park and the elegant Pant y Goitre bridge where we found a very well-equipped fisherman who had travelled from Twickenham to fish this stretch of the river. After a few more miles we came to an unusual and private cable bridge which allows pedestrians to cross from the impressive Llanover estate. This was once home to Sir Benjamin Hall of Big Ben fame (it is said to have been named after him) and his wife Lady Llanover who wrote a noted cookbook on Welsh food. Llanover was also the birthplace of Penelope Fillon, wife of the recent prime minister of France.

On this second afternoon we were getting tired as we left the river for the first time and climbed up through the modern housing estates of Llanellen to reach the tranquil canal. In 1812 two canals had been joined to create the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. This waterway brought iron ore from the south as well as limestone and coal to the towns and villages on the upper reaches. It was only thirty years later that the railways arrived and that started the decline of the canal, but it still runs for over thirty miles and provides lots of fun for canoeists and people who hire the many barges available. Walkers and cyclists can enjoy the flat and well-maintained towpath which runs alongside. We were able to cover the miles faster now and soon we were passing the historic wharfs of Llanfoist and Govilon. At Llanfoist there is an incline that served Hill’s Tramroad, built in 1818. It linked the great ironworks at Blaenavon to some limestone quarries and then the canal. Reaching Govilon we were met by a friend in his car who kindly put us up for the night at his home in Crickhowell.

Our last day saw us being driven back to the canal at Govilon as early as we could because we knew that the last day was a long walk, and we were very keen to catch the T4 bus to Cardiff which was to depart Brecon at 16.29 pm. Soon after Govilon we came across the splendid sight of a giant redwood tree on the bank which measures twenty feet across at the base. This is correctly called a Wellingtonia, a native of California, which can live for over four hundred years. This particular tree is thought to be over one hundred years old.

As we passed Llangattock we came across the substantial limekilns beside the canal. These limekilns alongside the wharf were built in two or more stages and are listed Grade II. The oldest were built in 1815 by the Brecon Boat Company. There are seven chambers in total, making them the largest set of limekilns along the canal. Limestone reached the kilns in wagons which descended on inclined planes and a tramroad from quarries on the hillside behind.

At Llangynidr we marvelled at the three locks and tried to imagine the effort it took to make them before the days of JCBs and power tools. Shortly after the locks we saw a barge pass swiftly under a bridge, but it failed to turn and went into the bank at full speed. The result was that it was firmly wedged, not in the bank but in the mud at the side of the canal. No amount of revving the engine in reverse by the crew made any difference so we offered our help in dislodging the boat. Perhaps pride caused the man at the helm to turn down our offer, but in any case, we waited to see what they would do as the barge was now completely blocking the canal. After more futile attempts our offer of support was accepted, and we first tried to use poles to push it free. That did not work so we took a rope from the stern and the three of us pulled it backwards. After much huffing and puffing with the engine in full reverse the barge finally began to move, and soon it was able to move forward under its own power.

The canal ends at the attractive basin in lower Brecon, but we had no time to linger as there were just minutes to go before the bus was due. So, with weary legs we pounded our way to the bus interchange, without even time to stop and buy a drink in Morrisons. The T4 arrived on time and the rush had been worth it. We had walked for ten hours, with stops, and covered twenty miles, it was good to be sitting down at last.

Alun Davies


Giant Hogweed Warning


Just a reminder to walkers, especially now it seems summer has finally come, to be wary of Giant Hogweed when you are out in the country especially if you have your children with you. The picture below shows a young girl who suffered 2nd degree burns after coming into contact with Giant Hogweed









Nuclear Power – Discuss

What Can We Do?

Nuclear Power – Discuss.

Part 1 – Forum member Glenys Stone sets out a problem

Energy prices are through the roof. ‘In the short- and long–term, which if any of the available power sources is most practicable, safest and least harmful for the planet’? Is a cheap, sustainable solution even possible?

I am of the generation for whom this sort of “discussion piece” was routinely set by teachers. The idea being that, limited by a set number of words, the subject was addressed from both sides of the argument. No conclusions drawn, just “Food for Thought”. The style was set by which subject was involved, either one of the Sciences or one of the Arts. This one could be addressed from many perspectives, but will probably be one of emotion, so, is this a Scientific or Emotional problem? Column inches are also a major consideration so I will try to limit this enormous subject to just two parts.

I abhor nuclear energy.

The radiation leaks caused by the Tsunami in Japan and at Three Mile Island in the USA (and the subsequent cover-up) were to me, a wake-up call. Then there’s the concern shown by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), (during the recent Russian occupation) over the continuing need for micro-managing the huge amount of radioactive contamination in the area surrounding the damaged Chernobyl Plant in Ukraine. The nuclear fallout from this explosion spread, literally, all over the globe, notably for us on our Brecon Beacons and the resident sheep. Welsh lamb dinners were off the menu for many years. There are several hugely informative documentaries on this subject. One was aired very recently on Channel Five. Then last but by no means least, Germany! They closed their nuclear power plants in the wake of Chernobyl and solved (or so they thought) the problem of the obsolete fuel rods by storing them in their disused salt mines. They then proceeded to store (at a price) nuclear waste from other countries. Unfortunately, the damp salty atmosphere is corrosive and is now destroying the nuclear containers well before their original life expectancy. No-one seems to have a solution to this urgent problem, which is a potential environmental disaster for Germany and, if not contained, for the rest of the world, costing millions to resolve.

I am not reassured by small amounts of fallout being neutralised in a comparatively short time. Some areas already are and will be “no go” places for humans and domestic animals for tens of thousands of years. Most of my apprehension is about the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods. No one has currently come up with an effective way to dispose of, or even store, this nuclear waste. I have heard comments such as “Well someone, at some point in the future will find a way”. But is this a morally defensible position? I’m afraid that, to me, this cannot be the case.

So, my concern over this form of power is not only for our immediate safety but for the sake of our children’s, children’s, children ad infinitum: – What mentality assumes that storing anything as dangerous as spent nuclear fuel rods – for a future generation to deal with – no matter how far into the future, is an acceptable thing to do? But the aims of the Anti-Nuclear movement would appear to have been largely swallowed-up and forgotten, in the very real concerns about the planet’s immediate welfare.

The UK Government British Energy Security Plan includes increasing the proportion of our energy generated by nuclear power to 25%, touted as the cheapest immediate option (kicking the can down the road again?). This includes some Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) that can be quickly built, have a relatively short lifespan, estimated to be around 10 years. At which point they will need replacing as they will no longer be guaranteed as safe or capable of delivering enough power for our needs. Therefore, this cannot possibly be considered a future-proof solution! This little nugget of information was dropped unsuspectingly during an early BBC Wales news report about Wylfa on Anglesey, I notice that no one has mentioned it since the UK government’s sudden and wholesale embracing of the nuclear option. But if this solution is not future proof from a physical safety perspective, how can it be future proof economically?


Should nuclear energy be part of the picture in Britain? Is it just too hazardous or can we “not manage without it”? Please leave a comment on the Forum’s Blogsite – https://wenvoeforum.wordpress. com/

Next month the discussion continues.

New Forum members are always welcome to join. Contact us on :-Facebook: Gwen Fo @ https://www.facebook.com/gwen.fo.1/ and Wenvoe Forum @ https://www.facebook. com/groups/635369267864402. twitter @ForumGwenfo e-mail us on gwenfo.forum@gmail.com


Platinum Jubilee Picnic


Here at Playgroup, we held our Platinum Jubilee picnic on Thursday 26th May during a morning and afternoon session.

Children made their own picnic, by buttering their own bread, choosing a sandwich filling, then folding into rectangles and cutting into squares. Children also decorated their own cake with red, white or blue icing, in time for the picnic. Running up to the event, all children decorated their own crown and coloured their flags. A fun time was had by all.

We had a good turn out at our open afternoon in June and have limited space into the Autumn term. Should your child be interested in joining us in the next academic year, then please get in touch.

We will be holding an open morning on Friday 9th September from 9am until 12noon, with the group returning on Monday 12th September 22.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with the very latest, please view our website www.wenvoeplaygroup.co.uk

You will also find many more photos in our gallery.

We close on the 22nd July.

Have a wonderful summer everyone


Hungry for Justice


Hungry for Justice

This year we took our lead from women in Zimbabwe who struggle to survive due to the climate crisis. With training to use different farming methods, seeds and types of crops they are successful in growing enough to eat, store and sell.

Post pandemic we needed new ideas this year to raise money. After much consideration we included:

A Coffee, Cakes and Books morning: This was supported well from the local community here in Wenvoe, with visitors from Sully, and St. Lythans. Friends and family members also came and enjoyed the event. The total raised was £573.75 (including gift aid).

Another new idea was ‘Delivery Only Envelopes’ throughout the village. Volunteers delivered envelopes, including information of where they can return a filled envelop back to the volunteer’s address or to the church. This was most successful raising £1,558.93 (including gift aid).

Gwenfo school held their usual Big Brekkie for lunch and had a non-uniform day raising £219.30.

Additional donations of £245.69 were received from the churches in Sully and St Lythans.

This was a great result and was only realised with the work of all concerned including, young people taking a lead in the Christian Aid service, cake makers, book donators, refreshment servers and book sellers, balloon crafts people and bunting hangers, poster maker, envelop delivers, money counters, a chief cashier and a verifier!

All these efforts combined to make a great week’s activities and an amazing financial result. This in turn should enable women in Zimbabwe to continue to gain training to develop their skills.

Lastly, many thanks to all who so generously donated to the total of £2,597.67 (including gift aid).

Jude Billingham


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