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.
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.
Brownies from Abergavenny and Goytre recently planted a wild harvest spinney in the copse. The thirty strong group greatly enjoyed the planting process, with each tree anchored by a marker with their name on it. The brownies also named trees for parents and grandparents, and they greatly look forward to seeing the trees grow in size over time.
We hope this is the first of many activity visits for the girls – with perhaps some of the skill tasks we’re able to set them linking to brownie badges.
We’re continuing to try to achieve our aim of planting 100 trees in the Meadows to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Unfortunately, as the article in the Chronicle explains, it seems that someone wants to stop us doing that, by stealing the trees we plant. Not only is this very distressing for the people whose relatives are being remembered, it’s also damaging the meadows for everyone. We’re working with the police and council to try to stop this vandalism.