For the short-term future, since the doughnuts haven’t had as much time as we’d hoped to grow roots, we’ve attached them to stakes so they don’t float away in any flood this winter…
…and, for the much longer-term, we’ve started planting new copses to ensure there will still be patches of woodland and biodiversity when the current willow trees reach the end of their lives. The fence is to keep the little trees safe from trampling cows and humans.
COVID-19 precautions mean we haven’t been able to have our usual volunteer working parties on the Meadows. Fortunately we’ve been able to call on some mechanical assistance.
In the copse, strimmers have helped to clear the nettles, brambles and other creepers that we’d normally pull by hand. This gives the less vigorous plants, and the trees, more of a chance!
And in the pond the “doughnuts”, which were delivered just before lockdown and left floating in the corner, have now been moved to their proper location on the south bank, flipped on their sides, and secured. Here they’ll stabilise the bank, create a range of habitats along the water’s edge and improve biodiversity. Thanks to Welsh Water for the grant that funded this work.
When the new pond on the meadows was dug, it had an unnaturally sharp edge between water and land. We had hoped that the normal plants of such water margins would establish themselves naturally, but that hasn’t happened: we suspect because of the weight of human and animal feet.
Just before lockdown we were able to launch these coir rings to help the process along. On these, water plants should be able to grow safe from trampling, creating a broader margin that has more wildlife habitats and is more attractive to humans to look at too. The plants should also help to improve water quality, by reducing the amount of soil erosion, trapping silt and consuming excess nutrients in the water.
Thanks to MCC and HabitatAid for their contributions
Here, from the wonderful Gaugemap resource, is why the meadows are flooded. The Usk at Llanfoist bridge had only barely got back below its flood level after Storm Ciara (on Feb 9th) before Dennis arrived on the 15th. The upper … Continue reading →
This is the Copse and Meadows after Storm Dennis, on Feb 16th 2020. The flood meadows are clearly fulfilling their function of slowing the rush of water down the Usk! It’s very impressive, but please stay safe, and well away … Continue reading →
Blow away the New Year cobwebs with a walk around the meadows looking at winter birds. Meet Steve Butler at the Byfield Lane car park at 0930 on Sunday 12th Jan. Please bring binoculars if you have them and appropriate footwear and clothing.
Last Saturday saw the unveiling of the new memorial in the copse, in the presence of the Chairman of MCC, Sheila Woodhouse; the Mayor of Abergavenny, Tony Konieczny and a representative from the British Legion.
A Brownie, the Chair of MCC and the Mayor did the unveiling and a cornet player from the Abergavenny Town Band played the “Last Post”.
Those who were present considered it a most appropriate place to have such a memorial, because it was calm and tranquil.
Moths have much better names than butterflies! On Friday night we had a visit from the Gwent county moth recorder with his (reasonably) portable lamp and generator. Set up for a couple of hours as it grew dark this attracted three different kinds of yellow underwing (Large, Lesser and Broad-bordered), three rustics (Flounced, Square-spot and the recently arrived Vine’s), Green Carpet (which is patterned like a carpet, it doesn’t eat them!), Light Emerald, Flame Shoulder, Ruby Tiger, Dusky Thorn, Setaceous Hebrew Character and the Yellow Shell that illustrates this post. An enthusiastic audience of children and adults were kept busy trying to capture these in clear plastic pots for inspection and identification.