Green Flag Award Ceremony
The photo shows Sue Hoddell receiving our Green Flag awards at a ceremony for Vale of Glamorgan winners. We have decided that our fourth entry next year will be the Welsh orchard near Maes y Felin. This is our largest orchard and includes fruit trees of Welsh origin. If you would like to be involved with the development of this orchard please contact the Wildlife Group.
A number of people have mentioned that they are not clear on where our community orchards, woodlands and meadow are situated so we shall be featuring each of them in turn starting with the Upper Orchid Field.
First where is it? Also known locally as the Sledging Field it is midway between Wenvoe and Twyn-yr- Odyn and can be approached by footpath from either end. From Wenvoe go round Walston Road until you come to the sharp turn at the northern end and follow the public footpath and Upper Orchid Field signs through woodland. Cross a road which is used by lorries filling Whitehall Quarry and the Upper Orchid Field is the other side of the gate. From Twyn-yr-Odyn cross the road to the Quarrymens’ Tribute and follow the new public access footpath which brings you into the top of the Upper Orchid Field. There are other footpaths leading into the field if you look at a map but most people use the two described here.
What is it? The Upper Orchid Field is a traditional meadow of 4-5 acres covered in wildflowers, not least orchids, and with a high concentration of wildlife. In Britain we have lost most of our wildflower meadows and with them the insects, birds and small mammals that are associated with them. It is one of very few left near Cardiff. There are paths around the site, noticeboards with information and features such as Molluscopolis where you can find out about snails and slugs. It is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council (VoGC) and managed under licence by the Wenvoe Wildlife Group. The licence obliges the Council to cut the field every year but since 2014 it has been a victim of budget cuts and we have relied on the help of local farmer Robert Reader to get it mown. If this was not done it would revert to woodland, scrub and bramble which was very much the state it was becoming when we first became involved just under 10 years ago.
You will also hear references to the Lower Orchid Field. As you emerge from the bottom of the Upper Field heading back towards Wenvoe this is the field to your left running alongside the quarry access road. It is also owned by but is not managed by anyone although a hay cut is often taken. There are no public rights of way through it although a path down the southern boundary is often walked.
The Upper Orchid Field can be accessed at any time and visitors are most welcome. If you are new to Wenvoe why not wander over and take a look. If you would like to get involved with conservation work either here or at our community orchards get in touch with the Wenvoe Wildlife Group. For more information look at our website www.wenvoewildlifegroup.co.uk or Facebook (Wenvoe Wildlife Group).