The Ongoing Felling Of Trees


It is with great sadness I witness The Ongoing Felling Of Trees in and around our lovely village. When nature itself wields the axe there is little to do but acknowledge the circle of life and the safe removal of the fallen tree that inevitably follows is also a necessity.

However there does seem to be a big appetite to fell or seriously trim back other trees that are standing tall, strong and magnificent. There seem to be innumerable reasons justifying such activity from disease; danger; leaves blocking drains or trees allowing animals to access rooftops. Factor in so called expert opinion of Arborists and those of us who wonder at trees stand little chance of countering any such claims and the trees’ destiny is down to a simple signature on a form authorising destruction.

Hundreds of years of incredibly slow growth gone in an hour; the home to thousands of insects; animals; birds and even other plants gone in a day. Replacement with 10’ saplings is little compensation for the magnificent 200 year old 150’ tall Ash or the 150 year old Horse Chesnut.

At a time when we’re all being urged to fundamentally change our thinking away from exploiting nature to helping to heal its wounds, this ongoing determination to change the wooded skyline of Wenvoe is so sad, irrespective of what rationale you choose to apply…


Martin Thomas



Sunshine, Orchids And Blue Skies


Sunshine, orchids and blue skies were in abundance on this month’s Living with Cancer stroll in Cosmeston. A happy band of people met at the information centre at Cosmeston and welcomed Alan a new walker.

So what did the strollers think about the walk? I asked them for their thoughts on what they enjoyed about the walk:

“Sun shining. Great walk.”

“A lovely peaceful walk in sunshine and shade. How lucky are we to have Cosmeston on our doorstep?”

“I enjoy the camaraderie.”

“I loved the serenity of our gentle walk today.”

“So many wild flowers to enjoy.”

“The company.”

“Chatting while we walked.”

What a thoroughly positive group….if you want to join us, see you next month on the first Thursday at 10:30am.




Wenvoe Scarecrow Festival

This year the 5th Wenvoe Scarecrow festival will take place on Saturday 21st.September from 2.00 to 5.00pm and Sunday 22nd September from 10.30 to 11.00am when the winners will be announced.

Please start to think about entering a scarecrow this year even if you have not entered before. Its free to enter and there is no theme. We would like to make this year’s festival the best year yet as after this year the festival will become biannual, so we want this year to live long in our memories – well two years at least! More details will follow in future issues of Whats On. However, if you are keen to start building your scarecrow now further information can be obtained by emailing wenvoescarecrows@ or ring Vicar Jon on 02920595347. Please put the date in your diary.



Historic Llangorse Ridge

Llangorse Ridge

The village hall in Cwmdu has an excellent car park (£1 fee). It was a cool morning for June and we wore layers as we set off along a small lane up the valley, following the Rhiangoll River.

We passed a cottage with a lovely garden containing a good variety of plants and in the hedge along the road we spotted the poisonous Monkshood (aconite). Foxgloves were also plentiful. There were two further properties – Upper Pentrebach farm and a cottage offering wool spinning before the track became a footpath. The mountains around us created a huge bowl and a buzzard soared high in the sky. As we travelled through Cwm Sorgwm we could see the blackened slopes of Mynydd Troed and remembered walking across it last summer through the remains of a mountain fire. We glimpsed views of the Dragonsback Mountain.

A stone on the side of the track had the inscription ‘Dinas Sir J Bailey Bart 1847’. This stone marked the boundary between Dinas and the estate of Sir Joseph Bailey who lived at Glanusk Park and made his fortune as an ironmaster, owning the Nantyglo Ironworks with his brother Crawshay (they were nephews of Richard Crawshay of Cyfartha ironworks).

There are another 2 boundary stones one of which is inscribed ‘Mrs MacNamara 1821’, a resident of Llangoed castle who with her husband bought the Llangoed estate. Curiously there are 13 stones in the Black Mountains bearing Mrs MacNamara’s name. John and Mary MacNamara married at Gretna Green in 1780; Mary’s father a Barrister at Lincoln’s Inn Court had not given his consent. They always retained a fashionable London address after buying Llangoed.

It is thought that they bought in Wales because Mary had Welsh heritage, both her parents were Welsh. She and her four children were the only lineal descendants of the ancient Wogan family who were Knights Templar and owned a great manor which contained Llangoed Castle. John died in 1818 leaving the estate in trust for his heirs but Mary and her eldest son had joint responsibility for it. She redirected the public road away from the river Wye so that the banks could be enjoyed as a beauty spot and acquired other property. It is possible that the boundary stones were set in place as boundary issues were settled. After Mary’s death her son sold the entire estate to Joseph Bailey. Mary MacNamara was buried in 1836 in Wimbledon.


As we continued the lane narrowed and we were walking across grassland. Rounding Cockit Hill the gradient started to increase. Llangorse Lake came into view and although it was some distance away we could see waves on its surface and a few sailing boats. A lone sheep posed as we gazed across the lake to Pen y Fan in the distance. A mare and her pretty foal grazed on the hillside. Then it was a fairly steep climb to the top of the hill and we were being whipped by a north-westerly wind. Brrr! It is thought that this end of the ridge may have been defended as a Hillfort during the Iron Age (1200BC- 74AD).

We opted to have lunch as soon as we reached the summit, as we were able to crouch down behind some craggy rocks out of the brisk wind. The green valley we had climbed through was laid out below us and we faced Mynydd Troed with Waun Fach to our right. At the col between Mynydd Llangorse and Mynydd Troed there is a tiny car park where a couple of cars parked giving a shortcut to the hill.

Setting off again we travelled a green path along the ridge being beaten by the wind again. A tiny bedstraw flowered extensively across the grassland and larks rose but quickly came to ground again. We hadn’t gone far when we saw off road motorcyclists crossing the lower slopes of the mountain. We quickly reached the trig point at the top of Llangorse Mountain. The spectacular 3600 views were well worth the climb, majestic hills and open countryside vying for our attention.

Completing the ridge we descended via the Beacons Way. A tree covered in creamy white blossom had rooted itself in a spring at the start of a stream. As we came off the mountain onto a country lane we passed a tumble -down farm where the greenhouse and car, although old, looked more weather proof than the tumble-down house! After half an hour or so we cut across a field and were on a final stretch of road where the hedge contained a froth of pink fumitary. We had walked 7¾ miles with an ascent of 1450ft and only 1 stile. Bliss! Map OL13.

The Saturday walking group were shocked and saddened that Ethel Kennett, one of our long term members, had died suddenly. Her involvement and support could always be relied on. We shall all miss her.



July Church News

Work will shortly be starting on the repair and re-mortaring of the west wall of the churchyard, to include a renovation of the wrought iron archway, which leads into the churchyard extension. This archway was once at the front entrance to the churchyard, but was removed when the Laura Jenner Arch and gates were built as a memorial to her in the 1930’s. This work will complete the programme of works included in the last five-year inspection of the church building and grounds.

News was received during the month that our recently appointed Church Architect had left the practice of Davies Sutton, and once again we are faced with the appointment of a new architect. The latest plans for the proposed church extension have been received and have been discussed with the Diocesan Advisory Committee and we await their thoughts on the proposals. The work on the repair of the vestry roof and interior walls has not yet been started and the conditions in vestry are deteriorating due to all the heavy rain we have had in the month and since the lead was stolen earlier in the year.

The Chancel Scheme to lower the floor level to assist wheelchair users is still unresolved but we have been told that the blue carpeting can be removed without any further delay. We are anxious to see the condition of the Victorian tiling under the carpet which has not been uncovered for some 30 years. The same applies to the blue needle cord floor covering in the main aisle of the nave, where the effect of the salts damage is clearly to be seen on the edges not covered by the carpeting. For the first time for many years the white marble slab fronting the altar, which is inscribed with the initials of the Birt and Jenner family members, buried below will be seen.

Christian Aid Collection. The house to house collections in the three parishes, together with the contributions from the Lent Lunches, Agape supper, Wenvoe School “Big Brekkie” and the No Uniform Day, plus a contribution from church funds came to a staggering £3,000. Which is a brilliant effort for the organisers and street collectors and big thank you to all involved. Well done!!

Messy Church – Messy Fathers!

With the inclement weather making a Messy Church theme of Noah’s Ark seem more appropriate than the planned Fathers Day, our annual outdoor Messy Church event had to move indoors on 15th June. The theme was indeed Fathers Day and a good number of excited children and their parents braved the rain to take part in an afternoon of craft, games and fun all designed to celebrate fathers everywhere. There was the opportunity to ‘Pin the Tail on Dad’, a take on the old party favourite of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’. There were races wearing our Fathers shoes. Bookmarks and pictures were made as gifts for Dad. ‘Prayeroplanes’ were made – Vicar Jon displaying a hitherto undisclosed talent here! At other tables children decorated ‘Dad you Rock’ pebbles, decorated tie themed cakes and even made

a ‘Portable hug’ – just in case Dad ever feels a bit in need! Worship on theme of The Prodigal son was led by Deb, then the whole event finished with a celebration meal of hot dogs, crisps, cakes and fruit prepared by our willing kitchen team. A lot of fun was had by all, despite weather and the change of venue. Our next Messy Church event will take place on 28th September, when the theme will be Harvest. We hope you can join us!

The Chattery. The monthly Chattery coffee mornings continue to be well attended and enjoyed.

However the Fairtrade stall which is run by Jude Billingham will be finishing. We will all miss seeing the interesting items and buying things from tea to greeting cards and chocolates. Thanks to Jude for all her hard work over many years, you and your stall will be sadly missed.

Tree Blessing. On Sunday 2nd of June a special service took place in St Mary’s Church to dedicate four cherry trees which have been planted in the church grounds. They are on the north side of the church and run along beside Walston Road.

Each tree has been given in memory of a loved one, the names being Quirine Robbins, Jean Mary Matthews, Cliff & Ruth West, Betty & Leslie Holliday

The moving service took the form of readings and prayers, with everyone moving to stand beside each tree while Vicar Jon anointed them with water. Those who attended were family members and friends from the congregation. At the end of the service everyone gathered for refreshments and fellowship.

This is a verse from a poem which was read during the service

A Shropshire Lad 11 by A E Houseman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide’

Wenvoe Open Gardens on Saturday 20th July 2019 in aid of St. Mary’s Building Fund. See article on page 5

Thank you for reading, a warm welcome awaits you at St. Mary’s.

Parry Edwards

A Windy Carers Walk


So what’s occurring? The Carers stroll coincided with the announcement that a brand new episode of Gavin and Stacey was to be filmed in time for Christmas. So a group photo had to be taken in front of Barry’s most famous celebrity couple!

Hopefully by the time filming starts the strong winds will have abated. The walkers had to hang on to their hats and hoods as they navigated Friars Point. Cobwebs were certainly blown away!

The group welcomed a new walker, Margaret, a retired teacher…..who was teaching in Barry Island school when the walk leader was a pupil! Pleasant memories of the school dinners and fun times were shared.

I can’t promise that you will meet your old teacher on the Carers walk, but I will promise fresh air, gentle exercise and a sociable group to chat with. We meet the last Thursday of every month at the Barry Island train station at 10.30am



To Do List For July

RHS to do list for July

  1. Check clematis for signs of clematis wilt.
  2. Arrange care for house plants while on holiday.
  3. Keep tubs and pots watered, but be water wise.
  4. Dead head bedding plants and repeat flowering perennials.
  5. Pick courgettes before they become marrows.
  6. Treat apple scab.
  7. Clear algae and blanket weed from ponds.
  8. Order catalogues for next year’s Spring flowering bulbs.
  9. Give the lawn a quick acting Summer feed.
  10. Time to harvest apricots, nectarines and peaches.

To keep the garden full of colour we need to dead head regularly. Hardy geraniums can be cut back to ground level with a pair of shears. Delphiniums and other taller perennials should have their flower spikes cut back to encourage new shoots. Annuals like pansies and petunias can be cut back a little to stop them looking straggly. Give all the plants a feed and water and you should have new displays later in summer. After flowers have faded on irises they can be divided as larger clumps don’t tend to do so well. Smaller sections will give a better display If you still have gaps to fill in with summer bedding then this needs to be done promptly, to allow time for plants to flourish. When removing the spent blooms of roses make sure you prune back to a bud in a leaf axil lower down the stem to make sure they flower again this year. Bulbs that have been heeled in to allow foliage to die back can be dug up and dried out ready for planting in the autumn.

The RHS has some good advice on making sure your runner beans are successful. Add a small handful of hydrated lime to a full 10 litre watering can and apply this along the base of the row, it will help the flowers set and produce more pods. Always put on gloves and wear a face mask when using lime, but it will be well worth the effort.

Earlier in the year quite a few people had problems with their lawns. Mrs Harvey of Gwenfo drive set about making her lawn good again by improving the drainage and careful feeding, which has worked wonders. We now have a lawn expert in the village. Opposite Mrs Harvey are Mr & Mrs Cottle who are recognised for their rose garden, worth a look as you walk by.

Ponds at this time of year are covered in algae and blanket weed. This should be removed as it starves the water of oxygen. Peter Ferris of Old Market, a renowned amateur naturalist, says we should leave algae and blanket weed on the side of ponds to dry out so that any pond life can return to the water.

This month will see some Wenvoe gardens open to the public to help the ongoing commitment to keep the church looking its best. There will be quite a contrast of gardens on show from the cottage garden to modern design. One absentee this year will be Carol Whylie’s wildlife retreat. There are sections of this ladies garden that have been used to make nature programmes. As they will still have cameras set up we have been denied access this year. Carol herself will be present at the church on the day [20th July] handing out the passes and answering your queries on wildlife habitats.

Take care and happy gardening.



Surviving the Drought


During June last year we were having to spend time getting water to our newly planted fruit trees and all but one survived the drought. This year has been a different story with the wet weather causing considerable growth in the weeds and grasses. So it has been a case of strimming and weeding non-stop. We took part in Open Farm Sunday down at Goldsland Farm where we had a regular stream of children doing drawings, making daffodils and stick people, and decorating their work with stickers. An example of a rather fine Dragon is shown in the photo.

And congratulations to Abi Reader for being recognised in the latest honours list. A leaflet showing the locations of the orchards should be out during July. We shall soon be starting work on the new Pollinator Patch and the school are hoping to take part in the planning, planting and maintenance of the site



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