Below the surface…

Digging dip wells in the meadowsAlthough 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.

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Winter Work Parties

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

Bird walk – 13th Jan 2018

Something to look forward to in the New Year. Steve Butler will be leading a bird walk in the Meadows on Saturday 13th January. Meet at 10am in the Byfield Lane car park, wearing clothes and footwear appropriate to the weather.

Butterfly Walk 8th July 2017

Thanks to Steve Butler for guiding a group around the edges of Castle Meadows (edges are often more interesting places for wildlife) to look for butterflies. A good range of species were spotted: speckled wood, large white, red admiral, comma, meadow brown, ringlet, tortoiseshell and green-veined white. However, for the second occasion on our walks this year the highlight was a moth – this time a magnificent elephant hawkmoth found in the copse.

A close look at grassland

Many thanks to Sheelagh Kerry of the Monmouthshire Meadows Group for taking us around the meadows this morning and demonstrating just how varied “grassland” can be. Three species of clover, three of buttercup and more than ten of grass can be found in what might look, at first sight, like a uniform habitat.

However we were all distracted by the star of the morning’s walk – a magnificent eyed hawk moth. Grassland may be the home of lots of little white moths, but this definitely isn’t one of those.

Commemoration

A large crowd gathered in the copse adjacent to Abergavenny’s Castle Meadows on the last Saturday in April to witness the planting of the 100th oak tree in an area specially devoted to the commemoration of Abergavenny’s 364 war dead, a century on from the conflict.

Following a welcome and introduction to the event from the Friends of Castle Meadows, retiring Cllr Doug Edwards, whose Grofield ward incorporates the meadows, commented onPlanting the 100th tree his proud assocation with the Friends group and the efficacy of their working relationship with Monmouthshire County Council’s Countryside Service in co-promoting and managing the site. Before planting the oak (with assistance from five year old Joshua, see photo) he concluded by remarking on the human sadness and tragedy of the war, Continue reading