25th Anniversary Reunion
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