Over the next couple of weeks, weather permitting, we’ll be working to clear brambles and nettles in the copse below the castle. If you would like to help, you would be very welcome:
- Saturday January 25th: 10am-noon: brambles and roots
- Thursday January 30th: 10am-noon: nettles
- Saturday February 1st: 10am-noon; brambles and nettles
Meet at the copse gate, by the Mill Street entrance to the meadows (map on our visit page). Tools will be provided – thanks to Keep Wales Tidy for the loan – but make sure you are wearing strong shoes/boots, preferably waterproof, gloves, and clothes that can survive the bramble jungle.
Since the copse is still very wet, we thought it best to start this morning’s work party at the highest point, the upper boundary. When we began, that was a sloping mass of brambles with a few trees sticking out, but after a couple of hours’ strenuous work the brambles were gone revealing the stone wall that divides the copse from the castle mound. The before/after effect can be seen in the picture! In Strawberry Cottage Wood, where we also hold work parties, clearing brambles produced an immediate show of spring bluebells. We’ll have to wait a few months to see whether that happens in the copse as well, or what else might spring up.
The copse below the castle has been looking especially jungly recently with floodwaters flowing through it. Once it dries out a bit, we will be trying to reduce the current thicket of brambles and nettles to create a bit more light and space for the ferns and other native plants that should be underneath. Later in the year we will no doubt be battling Himalayan Balsam again, since water tends to bring in more seeds of this invader. To make the copse easier to work in, we’ve asked the Abergavenny Woodlands Group to check for any loose or broken branches in the trees and (if the recent winds haven’t already done it) to help us remove them. That may involve moving large lumps of wood around so, please, be understanding if you’re asked to wait a few minutes to pass by the copse while we get out of your way.