Spend a couple of hours learning more about the meadows on our free walks, led by local experts. Walks are suitable for the disabled, though some areas may be muddy. Scooters available from Abergavenny Shopmobility if booked in advance (0800 298 3656). Dogs on leash only.
June 16: What’s that plant. Meet Sheelagh Kerry, 10am, Byefield Lane Car Park.
June 30: Bug hunt. Meet Steve Butler, 230pm, Byefield Lane Car Park.
July 14: Butterflies. Meet Jeff Davies, 11am, Byefield Lane Car Park.
On successive mornings in mid June Llanfoist School pupils enjoyed orienteering sessions as the latest Young Friends of Castle Meadows.
Working with Monmouthshire Countryside Service and Friends volunteers the Year 4 students rapidly demonstrated excellent map reading and nature spotting skills, although one group identified a buttercup as a dandelion and snails as slugs!
Year 5 made light of the, initially, slightly damper conditions the following day, with a number of groups completing all the map reading clues spread across the meadows.
Before departure the group identified a couple of geo-cache locations. Their class teacher reported back her amazement that ‘after all that running round they still had the energy for a game of football and dodge-ball when they got back to school in the afternoon!’
Around thirty Year 4 pupils from Gilwern Primary School became the newest Young Friends of Castle Meadows following a recent visit.
The group enjoyed a ninety minute long orienteering session in the warm sunshine, made more memorable for some who battled on after tussles with stinging nettles and another incident involving the rescue of a pair of pink trainers which had come adrift from the wearers foot in a boggy part of the meadows!
After a well deserved break the group showed off its knowledge about floodplains and then made its way to the ponds for some food chain activity games and a packed lunch.
More local schools will be welcomed for orienteering, pond dipping and other activities over the summer term.
On 25th April, at 11am, there will be a formal unveiling of the monument celebrating the National Eisteddfod that was held on the Meadows in 2016. All are welcome to attend the ceremony, which we expect to last about half an hour. There will be choral contributions from the Welsh primary schools of Caldicott and Abergavenny, with short spoken contributions from primary school pupils from the Abergavenny area. The Archdruid will attend, as well as dignitaries form the Town and County Councils. The event will take place regardless of the weather!
With water courses the main focus Keep Wales Tidy’s 2018 ‘Spring Clean’ programme Friends of Castle Meadows volunteers recently played their part by ‘Clearing the Afon Cibi’.
The event had been scheduled for St David’s Day itself but the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures led to its postponement. One week on the Friends’ clean up, along with the faster flow resulting from the snowmelt, meant that a previously part blocked 60 m stretch of the river was running clear and fast towards the Usk by the end of the session.
Along with the 6 bags of waste taken away at the end, among the more noteworthy removals was a car wheel and tyre as well as a vehicle’s complete exhaust pipe cunningly camouflaged as a fallen log.
Pictured are FCM volunteers alongside the Cibi.
Although the river Usk is a major factor in the meadows, flooding them most winters, we don’t know much about the water the rest of the year. We’re planning to improve our knowledge by installing dip wells – small, covered holes about a metre deep – so we can take regular measurements of how far below the ground surface the water is. While digging, we also took a soil sample that will be analysed to see what nutrients it contains. Since each flood leaves rich silt on the surface of the meadows, we’re expecting quite a lot.
The ideal way to warm up on a cold morning. Join us for our work-parties in and around the copse (Mill St entrance to the Meadows). Strong shoes, gloves and warm clothes strongly advised:
- Thu 14th Dec
- Thu 4th Jan
- Sat 6th Jan
- Thu 18th Jan
- Thu 1 Feb
- Sat 3 Feb