At the beginning of our walk, we took a slight diversion to visit the Old Ford Project, an environmental enhancement scheme involving the village’s Ancient Well, Clapper Footbridge, Watercress beds, woodland hedges, Colwinston Brook and Springs. Unusually for the Vale of Glamorgan Colwinston village has steep slopes at its centre. The watercourse is now underground but rises to the surface in prolonged wet weather.

The Michaelmas Well is one of three wells which provided the village with water until 1935 when the main water supply was brought to the village. There are 24 steps to the bottom of the well, with recent rain only the top step could be seen but a local resident told us that there were sixteen steps visible after the hot dry summer of this year.

There was a ford across the stream a short distance from the well. Until the early 1900’s when the old ford was covered for traffic the clapper bridge was the only dry path across the stream for pedestrians. It is an 18th century structure, one of several in the Vale. A pond fed by springs has been excavated to provide more habitats for wildlife and it is hoped watercress.

We returned to the centre of the village to begin our walk and soon passed the village War Memorial which was erected at the village green in 2014. Colwinston is a ‘Thankful Village’ – one of only three in Wales which suffered no fatalities in World War I. However, four men were lost in World War II, one of them Agatha Christie’s son-in-law, Colonel Hubert Prichard.

One house had an exuberant Christmas garland around the whole of their double porch entrance, with door wreaths, small reindeer, and lanterns; it all looked splendid. We spotted several Victorian wall-mounted post boxes still in use on the walk, one on a house called ‘Ramblers’ which we thought appropriate but realised it probably referred to roses rather than walking!

There are ten Grade II listed buildings in the village, all dating from the medieval or post-medieval period. They include a thatched house, ‘the Old Parsonage dating from the 16th century which has a Gothic or Tudor arch and is one of only two in the Vale with a latrine in the form of a small closet next to the fireplace.

Now we walked through fields and crossed the A48 at the old Colwinston village milestone – Cowbridge 3 miles, Bridgend 4 miles, London 173 miles – only to find the next stile blocked, a nearby gate was an easy substitute.

It was a cloudy but reasonably clear day, and we could see the long line of wind turbines on the hills, quite a few rotating. A red kite appeared overhead and seemed to ‘stay with us’ for the rest of the walk soaring high and occasionally swooping quite close to us. Would you ever get tired of seeing this marvellous bird?

A tall chimney north of Gelliaraul farmhouse, Llangan, dominates the landscape. It is Grade II listed and has three distinct levels and an arched opening a couple of feet above the ground; possibly some sort of oven associated with the nearby quarry. Arriving at Llangan we found their public phone box was a book exchange and contained a defibrillator, good idea we thought until we saw a sign ‘Sorry this defibrillator is out of order’. We passed the church, walking through the graveyard, where there is an old cross and noted that the church looked as if it had been doubled in size at some point in its past.

Now we were walking on grass again and spotted a buttercup flowering, not bad for December. We passed a huge solar panel installation and found a pile of logs so stopped to eat lunch; glimmers of sunshine appeared. Some of the logs had a very pretty, thin, pure white, fungus growing on them. As we set off, we met a flock of sheep with square shaped heads, even the ewes looked masculine, and the ram was solid muscle.

Now we walked through Troes and turned south to return. At times it was quite dark but then the sun would come out for a while and brighten everything. Nearing Colwinston we came to ‘Charlie’s Shop’, – open 9-5 so after checking he was open, we finished the walk and drove back up the road for a few minutes to enjoy a piping hot cup of tea next to a wood burning stove, very cosy and he had lots of local eggs for sale.

Walk 6.9m 400ft Map OS151



The Tuckers Raised £1,155

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Our thanks, as always, to the Tuckers who raised £1,155 for the Wildlife Group from the Reindeer sale. Thanks also to those of you who donated raffle prizes or bought tickets, manned or purchased items from stalls, or who helped out in other ways. One of our first purchases will be a new bench for the Community Orchard which has been missed by many of you when the first one disintegrated. Also taking place between the 11th and 15th January is a hedgelaying course at the Community Orchard. The instructor will be doing preparation work for the first three days and the course then runs on the 14th and 15th. At least three members of the Group have registered for the course which will not only pass on this ancient skill but should tidy up what has become a quite unruly hedge.


Let’s Hope For Some Kind Weather


Happy New Year. Let’s hope for some kind weather to give us a good start to the year.

We start the year off with some tips from people who in their own way have left their own mark on the area.

Gareth “top banana” Lewis of Twyn yr Odyn.

  1. Plant chilli seeds in a propagator as they need a long season to bear fruit
  2. If you are lucky enough to find a tasty tomato while shopping, keep some seeds and with a bit of luck they will make good plants.
  3. Start chitting some potatoes but keep out of direct sunlight, which should be easy at this time of year.
  4. Don’t garden by date, garden by the conditions.
  5. Sort out all your seed packets before the rush to plant comes along.

Silver fox, Parry “Barista” Edwards

  1. It’s January, stay in, you will do no good traipsing over the lawn.
  2. Order some more seed and plant catalogues.
  3. Try to buy British and help keep plant diseases out of the UK.
  4. Keep a garden diary as a reference.
  5. If you do insist on venturing out, be careful as no one wants to end up in A & E.

Wet and cold January weather makes looking at the garden from a window the best option. On an occasional nice day a bit of weeding always helps but be careful of emerging bulbs. Planning for the seasons to come is always a good idea, as when the growing season starts we will only have time for the usual jobs. If you need help with the physical side of any plans you may have, get in touch with landscapers early. If you are worried about whether they will be any good talk to people who have had work done or ask at British Soil for their approved contractor list. Make sure that you can reach the middle from either side of any new beds or borders that you build. A common fault is to plant too near the edge of borders. You can be sure that the label on the plant you decide to put in will not mean much once it’s been planted and fed: they always get bigger in good growing conditions.

As gardeners we are encouraged to leave an area for wildlife. This doesn’t have to look unsightly or to be occupied with bee hotels and hedgehog houses from garden centres where you’ll need a mortgage and a good credit rating to buy them. A few holes drilled in a log for bees and a small covered dry area for the hedgehogs will suffice. Wenvoe has a plethora of these spiny mammals as a lot of residents make provision for them and one of the best things to do is have a hole at the bottom of your fence to allow them access to more gardens. A wildflower area can seem like a good idea, just make sure to find a packet that has flowers for both Spring and Summer which will give you a longer season.

A few years ago, the village had an Open Garden Day which was very well received. Glenys and I are planning to organise one this year and if you are interested there will be more details in the February issue of What’s On and on Facebook on the Wenvoe Community Support Group page.

Take care and happy gardening

An Unexpected Night With The Ayatollah Khomeini


I woke up on a bunk bed in a concrete shack in Chelgerd, a small town in south-west Iran. We were a group of British ski mountaineers who were training in the Zagros mountains for a ski ascent of Damavand the highest mountain in Iran with a summit at 5610 metres, quite a lot higher than Mont Blanc at 4810 metres.

We were down south to get fit and acclimatised for the attempt on Damavand the following week. The Zagros mountains extend over one thousand miles and are an effective border between Iraq and Iran – or historically between the Ottoman and Persian empires. Alas, the mighty Persia was rather run down in 2002 as the country was still suffering economically after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. So, the ski resort we found ourselves in was very run down with horrendous roads, broken down ski lifts of 1950s vintage, and poor communications.

None of this was in my mind as I stumbled out of bed to find breakfast. This was not difficult as we were now following local customs and breakfast was laid out on a large white sheet on the floor at the end of the bunk beds in the small common area we shared. We tucked into a modest meal of naan bread, soft cheese, jam and tea. Soon we were outside with our rucksacks and clipping into our mountain skis. We were going to climb up to a high hut at Chal Mishan, 3850 metres, to spend the night and off we went. The hut was deserted so we had some porters who were engaged to carry our food and cooking equipment up the mountain. They were on foot in the deep snow which made progress very difficult for them.

After a couple of hours of steep ascent on ski, using skins under our skis for traction, I found that the wet snow was sticking to the base of my skis which stopped them gliding along. So, I did the standard thing which was to continually bash the ski with my stick to dislodge the snow. Unfortunately, my stick suddenly broke and was useless, which is not ideal on a high mountain. By this time, it was snowing hard and with a strong wind. The group pulled up together for a chat about the conditions and we felt that it would be dangerous to go on, so we agreed to take our skins off our skis and ski back to the base camp. We were all relieved to be skiing down now, but after just a couple of turns I was hit hard by a wall of snow that appeared over my left shoulder – it was a serious avalanche. I was rolled over and over again and again. It was like being in a washing machine with me, my skis and sticks rolling head over heels beneath the snow. I thought I might die. I tried to keep breathing but the snow was in my mouth and up my nose. I was using my arms in a fruitless attempt to swim to the surface but in truth, I did not know which way was up. When the avalanche hit, the wind was howling, and the snow was blowing.

After what seemed an eternity the moving mass of snow came to a stop I was buried below the surface.

I was breathless, exhausted, but thrilled to be alive. I felt I was lying on my back and was pleasantly surprised to see light above me through the snow, so I knew which way was up. At this point, my right arm was trapped under me and was very painful. But I could breathe as the snow was fresh and loose. I lay for some minutes getting my breath back and waiting for the others, with their electronic trackers, to find me and dig me out. Surprisingly no one came and I wondered if we had all been buried. I was beginning to get cold, so I decided to self-rescue and using my left arm dug up to the surface which was only a few feet above me. Moving more snow I sat up and looked up at the sun and blue sky. In a few minutes, I had been swept down hundreds of metres from a snowy ridge to a sunny spot below. I stood up and could see no one. My skis had been torn off but I had my rucksack so I could survive the night. My worry was a second avalanche so I decided to move on foot as fast as I could in the deep fresh snow. As I started, I saw one ski tip glinting in the sun so climbed back up to retrieve it. Then I set off downhill and caught sight of two of our Iranian porters and together we carried on down. One of the party arrived on skis and told me that some others had been hit by the avalanche, but no one else had been swept down the mountain and buried.

We soon came to the tree line and a track in the forest which we followed. We knew that we could not get down to our valley base at this slow walking speed but were unsure what to do. Luckily, we came across a small stone building in good condition which looked as though it belonged to the local water company as there was a dam nearby. The door was locked, but the padlock was no match for hungry men with ice axes and soon we were inside. There were two or three small rooms, all clean and tidy so the porters set up a stove and prepared a meal. I took some serious painkillers, washed down with sweet mint tea, and stretched out my sleeping bag on a good quality carpet below a large framed picture of Ayatollah Khomeini.


What 2023 Might Spring On Us


Considering tomorrow today

Wishing you the best of the Season’s Greetings

As the year turns and we wonder what 2023 might spring on us, we wish for you all a space and a place to celebrate the New Year with family and friends, ready to look forward. Here we are in 2023, but let’s consider 2035!

To meet the UK target of a carbon neutral electricity grid by 2035, the government expects there to be five times as much electricity generated through solar power, which might take up an additional 0.2% of agricultural land. Wenvoe will be playing its part with many residents already generating electricity from rooftop panels, so many others inquiring about installations that the supply chain is struggling and community buildings earmarked for development. We have some solar farms already in the area and more are in the planning process including within the geographic boundaries of Wenvoe. They change the landscape, the landscape is always changing however and many readers may remember the outcry about the “excess of bright yellow” when the growing of oil seed rape as a crop suddenly changed the colour of the countryside. Farmers and landowners have always had to diversify land use, the key to success lies in thinking of the future to maximise positive outcomes. Accepting that solar farms are here for a while at least, as part of our electricity supply, what else can they provide?

Awareness has grown of how intensive agriculture, industrial development and the ever increasing demand for housing from a growing population has resulted in the decline in wildlife both in terms of numbers of individuals and numbers of species. Small mammals such as the brown hare, birds like the iconic Barn Owl, reptiles and insect species are all in decline. Particular concern has arisen recently about the decline in numbers of pollinators that are so crucial, not least to growing our own food supply. Solar Farms have a lifetime of between 25 and 40 years, a long period of little disturbance giving the soil an opportunity to recover and offering established shelter for wildlife. Solar Farms are often clustered together around good access to the National Grid and with positive local action it might even be possible to link these habitats by constructing corridors between sites.

Solar Energy UK, a trade association for all parts of the solar energy industry has published new Natural Capital guidance for its members on best practice aiming to:- “… promote the design, construction and operation of high-quality solar farm projects which support ecology and deliver additional benefits..”

The guidance considers the life cycle of a solar farm from Site appraisal and design through to Decommissioning and gives practical examples of the ecological benefits that can be achieved. With sensitive consideration of the site and the surrounding area it is possible to:-

  • Improve the soil health of previously intensively farmed land which encourages insects and the birds and animals that feed on them and avoids/reduces the need for toxic chemicals such as pesticides
  • Create new areas of meadow wild flowers providing food and habitat for a wide range of fast disappearing species, small mammals, insects, bees, butterflies, birds
  • Strategically increase the numbers and species of pollinators
  • Maintain and develop appropriate hedgerows to provide habitat
  • Increase further botanical diversity with scope to introduce long lost species
  • Create footpaths that sensitively allow community access to the enhanced ecology providing educational opportunities and supporting good health well being

A change in the landscape is inevitable, let’s engage with the developers of Solar Farms and work with them to secure a better future for our local ecology.

NB Statistics quoted are drawn from and the Solar Energy UK Guidance is available at resources


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Parish News – 2022 Review


On behalf of Vicar Lyndon and the Wardens Carol and Sandra and the congregation we wish all readers of “What’s On” a very Happy New Year.

Looking back into 2022 we knew that the year was going to be a difficult one. The advertisement for a new priest was in the press and on-line and we were trying to build up the congregation after the lockdowns in the COVID pandemic. The good news is that we survived. We welcomed Vicar Lyndon and his wife Chris into our community and we continue to spread the Good News, bringing the love of Jesus to all in the Ministry Area of De Morgannwg.

There have been a number of changes within the church. We were formed into a Ministry Area, called De Morgannwg, which brought nine churches together; how this will work is still being worked out. Bishop June has retired and the Electoral College will shortly be meeting to elect her successor. They have a new Dean at Llandaff Cathedral, our old Area Deanery of Penarth and Barry has been combined with that of the East Vale Group of churches, and we will now be in the Archdeaconry of Margam with a new Archdeacon to work alongside. So 2023 is full of possibilities for growth in fellowship and growth in each congregation getting to know each for the better. Where there is a fifth Sunday in the month, St.Mary’s, St Bleddians and St. John’s will hold a combined Eucharist service at 10.00 am and the first of these will be hosted by St. John’s in Sully on January 29th.

The Season of Advent has been well attended, with the lighting of the Advent Candles, Sunday by Sunday to mark the progression towards Christmas. The Toy Sunday brought a huge range of toys for donation to the Barry Food Bank, together with lots of Christmas Goodies alongside the gifts of more basic items requested by the Food Bank as they try to relieve the many difficulties families are facing during this winter.

The Advent Light up Your windows has been another great success for the variety of themes chosen to bring light into our streets during these dark cold nights. Congratulations to the organisers and thanks go to those who have created some amazing displays, especially the Wenvoe Primary School for their illuminated gazebo and star plus the School Choir singing in the cold frosty air. The last “window” on Christmas Eve in the churchyard was followed by a short service in a warm church with yet more carols and readings enjoyed by children, their mums and dads and grandparents alike.

Our Christmas programme of Carol Services began on Sunday afternoon the 11th December at St. Bleddian’s church which despite the cold freezing weather, was a warm friendly event, so appreciated by those who came and the mulled wine and mince pies were very welcome following the service. The Community Carol Service at St. Mary’s on

Wednesday evening 14th December in candlelight and lower levels of our LED lighting system, brought the representatives of organisations in the village together for the Nine Lessons and Carols followed by mulled wine and mince pies courtesy of the Wenvoe Community Council. A collection was taken during the service for Ty Hafan, the children’s hospice at Sully which came to £425.25, a wonderful response for a very worthy cause. The First Eucharist of Christmas was celebrated at St. Mary’s at 7.00 pm with Vicar Lyndon presiding, and was well attended in candlelight and using one of the settings on our LED lighting system.

During December there has been a renewed interest in the Ancient Yew tree in the churchyard. It really is ancient in the number of years it has been growing and leaning towards the side of the road. Whilst it is difficult to assess the age by the normal methods used to age trees, the tree is thought to be in the range of 700-800 years old and, among the many treasures we have, this is our only living treasure, and could well pre-date the building of the first stone church. The first mention we have of the tree, is of a survey carried out in 1833 when it is recorded that it was leaning towards the road but surrounded by a low stone wall. It is a healthy tree bearing its red berries year by year and well deserves the respect which countless generations over the years have given it.

Looking ahead into 2023, the main event will be the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on the 6th May and St. Mary’s will play its part in the village celebrations on that Bank Holiday weekend. No plans being made at the moment, but watch this space.

The Chattery will be meeting on January 12th at 10.30 am in the Church Hall with coffee/tea, posh biscuits and a FREE raffle. A warm place to enjoy each other’s company and catch up on news for a modest £2.00. All welcome.

Looking back at our Remembrance Sunday service, the collection taken in church came to £353.57 which was donated to the work of the Royal British Legion for the relief of suffering for our armed services as a result of war injuries.

With every good wish for the year ahead from everyone at St. Mary’s

Parry Edwards


Wenvoe Village Hall Christmas Raffle



The Village Hall Management Committee would like to thank everyone who kindly donated prizes to this raffle and to the people who support us by buying and selling of the tickets. All money raised through the raffle contributes to the on-going insurance, maintenance and daily running costs of the Hall which is primarily for the use of the villagers. We thank you all and wish you Good Health and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


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