Newsletters

NEWSLETTERS 2016 (workdays and school work as in the blog)

DECEMBER

Noticeboards 
The three noticeboards that were erected around the site soon after the formation of the Friends are now in urgent need of replacement.  Since these were installed, the Group has created a number of new paths and undertaken many surveys that have provided a mass of information about the site.  In order to make visitors more aware of the footpaths, and what there is to see, we have decided to seek funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable us to both replace the current noticeboards, and also to install site maps at each entrance to the area using long-lasting metal structures and weather-proof modern graphics. Our initial project enquiry to HLF received a positive response so we are now in the process of submitting a full bid.  We would welcome any letters or emails in support of our bid.
Trees from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers)
On 22 November we received 50 trees (a mixture of rowan, bird cherry, field maple, crab apple and cherry plum) from TCV. 45 of these were distributed to Cardiff High, Llanishen High, Rhydypennau, Ton yr Ywen and Cae Glas schools; the other 5 will be planted in the Nant Fawr itself.  Many thanks to TCV and OVO Energy
Cliff Jones
On 6 December, several of the Friends of Nant Fawr attended the funeral in Cardiff of Cliff Jones.  Cliff was one of the founder members of this group and a tireless worker in the days of clearing brambles and laying tons of stone to form the pathways which are now established and well used features of the Nant Fawr area.  He was much missed when he moved away to Devon.

SEPTEMBER
*  Updates:
The trees planted by Cardiff High and Llanishen High schools in the two orchards are thriving; the blossoms were removed this year (to promote root growth) and we shall be pruning them before next Spring. The Bee and Butterfly border planted by Ton yr Ywen schools with the Friends (and Buglife) has also grown well; the shrubs and climbers did particularly well and we hope that the flowers will flourish next Spring. We have plans in place for both High Schools and the 5 local junior school for 2016 – 17.
The first of the new benches has been completed and there is now a resting place in Rhydyblewin meadow. We hope that the other benches will be in place shortly.
*   Walks
On Sunday July 24th, Kevin took a small group for a walk to see the “Meadow Flowers in the Nant Fawr Meadows”. As usual, his walk was entertaining and informative, and all who attended thoroughly enjoyed it (despite the rain!)
* Welsh Water works
As you by now will be aware, Welsh Water is the new owner of Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs and they will be carrying out surveying and maintenance work over the next 12 months. In order to facilitate the work (from September) they will be setting up a work compound area in the old car park and there will be temporary diversions for pedestrians in place. Also, they will need to erect a perimeter fence around the site. Any queries, contact Gwyn Thomas, Head of Regional Communications on 0800 052 0130 (or dwrcymru.com)

SPRING

Farewell Ed
Dr Ed Cole has recently retired from holding the role of Secretary to the Friends of Nant Fawr Community Woodlands, a post which he has held for over ten years.
As a token of the Committee's appreciation, he was presented with a framed picture of three scenes from the Nant Fawr area, photographed by Jon Marsh. We send our best wishes to Ed and his family and hope he will continue to stay in touch with the Friends in future. The new secretary is Emyr Wills-Wood.

JANUARY

Farewell Isabel
Isabel, one of our stalwart Committee members, is leaving Cardiff soon with her husband Graham, to live closer to their two married daughters in Surrey.
Isabel has been involved with the Friends of Nant Fawr since its inception in 1993. She worked hard on the initial workdays, as the area was cleared and the infrastructure of paths and so on was laid down. 
She was particularly busy towards the Millenium, overseeing the production of our booklet and subsequent video.
For many years, Isabel has been the Group’s Membership Secretary, tirelessly collecting subscriptions. She has also been the editor of regular newspapers produced for members.
We must also mention Graham who has been so supportive to the Friends in many ways, most notably in support of the Reservoirs Action Group when he gave evidence on the Friends' behalf to the Public Enquiry in 2008.  
Isabel was presented with an otter, carved from "ironwood" by one of the Rangers, at a farewell evening in one of our local hostelries. We hope that it will remind her of her many "Friends" left behind in Cardiff
We send Isabel and Graham our very best wishes for the future and hope that they will continue to keep in touch with the Friends of Nant Fawr Community Woodlands.

NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2015


BOGGED DOWN - 
The Flower Survey of the Boggy Meadow 2015.
The Boggy Meadow is the name given to the middle of the three meadows lying between old Rhydypenau Wood and Rhydyblewin farmhouse. As its name implies it is wet in places and is one of the meadows with the highest biodiversity, so we should be able to identify a wide range of plants there.
The first of the two main surveys of the Boggy Meadow was scheduled for Saturday June 13th but that day dawned wet, wet ,wet!!!
The postponed count was to take place on Sunday 28th June and it too was rained off!!!
Would it be third time lucky with a dry day for August 30th???
We have decided not to risk it having already missed some of the early flowering plants, so the count has been cancelled for this year and will be re-scheduled for 2016.

BUT …… Every cloud has a silver lining ……
The wet summer has meant that the seeds, provided by Kew Gardens and planted for their Grow Wild project, have done well and there are colourful displays blooming in Rhydyblewin Meadow. They are all native wild flowers and include blue cornflowers, orange marigolds, red poppies and the daisy-like flowers of the mayweed. They are perhaps past their best now but if you look on the previous post there are some good pictures pictures of them.
The seeds of Yellow Rattle that we planted in the meadow adjoining Cardiff High school have also grown well.  (The only disappointment on the seed-sowing front was that the Kidney Vetch seeds did not germinate.)

NEWSLETTER - June  2015

FLOWER SURVEY OF THE BOGGY MEADOW 2015.
The Boggy Meadow is the name we have given to the middle of the three meadows lying between old Rhydypenau Wood and Rhydyblewin farmhouse. As its name implies it is wet in places and is one of the meadows with the highest biodiversity, so we should be able to identify a wide range of plants there.
The first of the two main surveys of the Boggy Meadow was scheduled for Saturday June 13th but that day dawned wet, wet ,wet!!!   So it was decided to postpone and it will now take place on the next workday - Sunday 28th June instead.   The second survey (to pick up the later flowing plants.) is planned for the workday on Sunday 30th August.
The way in which the survey is done consists of a walk from one end of the meadow to the other, i.e. a transect, during which the flowers observed are ticked off on a list. Several walks will be made at intervals across the meadow - the number will be determined by how many people turn up.
You can do the flower survey independently. It can be carried out any time over the summer and as many times as you like.
Just go to the homepage "Downloads" for the flower lists and instructions. There is also a Map of the Meadows which shows exactly where the Boggy Meadow is.
Please hand your results to Rhian Jones or send them by email before the end of August. 

THE STREAM SHUFFLE         
SATURDAY 27TH JUNE   from   2pm - 4pm
This popular event takes place in association with Cardiff University, whose students help with the identification of the tiny creatures (and some larger ones) to be found under stones and in the depths of the Nant Fawr.   There will be microscopes to use to get close-ups and the whole family can enjoy an afternoon just puddling in the brook!
Wellies are essential gear and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Meet at the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance beside 127 Rhydypenau Rd).   
                                        
SUMMER WALK            
SUNDAY 12th JULY   from   2pm - 4pm
Learn about the "MEADOW FLOWERS IN NANT FAWR"
See what wild flowers are growing in our meadows and learn about their uses in human history and the issues involved in modern urban meadow management.
This is a gentle stroll which is led by the Community Park Rangers.
Meet at the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance beside 127 Rhydypenau Rd).

Newsletter - may  2015

RETIREMENT
Our secretary of ten years standing, Ed Cole, has resigned as Secretary to the Friends due to increasing ill health. We would like to thank him for all the many hours of work he has put in on our behalf.  Apart from his interest in the conservation of the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands, he is a talented organist and long-standing members of the Friends will remember the Concerts he arranged for us in St Andrews Church.
In a time-honoured phrase,  he now wishes to spend more time with his family- but in his case as a proud Grandfather with new grandchildren to enjoy. We wish him a happy retirement.
We will need to find a new Secretary but in the meantime Rhian Jones has agreed to undertake the role. If anyone is interested please get in touch with Jane Williams via email
                                               
SURVEY OF THE BOGGY MEADOW
SATURDAY JUNE 13th  from 10am - 12noon
We plan to make two surveys of the Boggy meadow this summer. The first session will take place on Saturday 13th June and the second on on Sunday 30th August (to pick up the later flowing plants.) The Boggy Meadow is the name we have given to the middle of the three meadows lying between old Rhydypenau Wood and Rhydyblewin farmhouse.  As its name implies it is wet in places and is one of the meadows with the highest biodiversity so we should be able to identify a wide range of plants.
The way in which the survey is done consists of a walk from one end of the meadow to the other, i.e. a transect, during which the flowers observed can simply be ticked off on a list. Several walks will be made at intervals across the meadow the number will be determined by how many people turn up. The lists and instructions will be put onto the website for downloading. This will enable people to do the survey independently if they are unable to make the survey days.The grasses, reeds and sedges will be done separately as these need a little more expertise.
Meet at the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance beside 127 Rhydypenau Rd).
                                                      
THE STREAM SHUFFLE
SATURDAY 27TH JUNE   from  2pm - 4pm

This popular event takes place in association with Cardiff University, whose students help with the identification of the tiny creatures (and some larger ones) to be found under stones and in the depths of the Nant Fawr.  There will be microscopes to use to get close-ups and the whole family can enjoy an afternoon just puddling in the brook!
Wellies are essential gear and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Meet at the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance beside 127 Rhydypenau Rd).

SCHOOLS AND SEEDS

The High Schools and Rhydypenau. Lakeside and Coed Glas Junior schools have received their  Kidney Vetch seeds, compost and pots. In the junior schools the whole year group (60 children) are involved . Each school has also been given 2 boxes (containing 10 packets of seeds) to grow in their school grounds. The seeds, all native wild flowers, have been supplied by the Grow Wild initiative - so there should be some colourful playgrounds in Cardiff this summer.
     
REMINDER  - Have YOU paid  your Annual Subscription for 2015?

A big Thank You’  to everyone who has already paid their Annual Subscription for the year. If you have forgotten then please send your remittance to the Membership Secretary. It is still only £3 per household - so excellent value for money!                                                     
  

NEWSLETTER April 2015

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS for 2015 ARE NOW DUE

It is still only £3 per household - so excellent value                                                           
Please fill in the Membership Renewal Form 
Seed Sowing Experiment
In January, four of the local schools were provided with yellow rattle and red bartsia seeds to grow under different conditions. These flowers are important to our meadows because they help to control grass growth, thus allowing other wild flowers to compete effectively. We are hoping that this investigation will inform us of the best environment for growing the seeds. The resulting plugs will be planted out in the Top  Meadow and Rhydyblewin Meadow.
Community Orchards
In February pupils from Llanishen and Cardiff High schools helped us to plant a total of 12 apple, pear, cherry and plum trees in two places, Rhydypenau Meadow and Rhydyblewin Meadow. It is hoped that these saplings will grow to become Community Orchards to be enjoyed by both the wildlife and local people - on a “First come, first served” principle of course!
RSPB Garden and Schools Bird Watch
February was also the month for the RSPB Schools Bird Watch. We were able to trial a joint venture with Rhydypenau School, the RSPB and Cardiff Council. Several of the ‘Friends’ joined 60 pupils from Year 4 and their teachers and ventured out into the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands  to extend their bird watching experiences (which included the spotting of a nuthatch and tree creeper).  The trial was a great success and the experience may well be extended to other schools – Cardiff has the advantage of having many green open spaces near to its schools.
New Bird boxes have recently been installed in Woods Covert. These have been made by a group of Year 11 pupils from Cardiff High School who are working towards gaining a CoPE certificate (Certificate of Personal Effectiveness).
The Kidney Vetch project
We don’t seem to have kidney vetch, a small yellow flowered plant of the pea family, growing in the meadows and this native plant is essential to many insects, including the small blue butterfly, which is on the Priority Species list.So we have obtained some seeds which will be distributed around the five local schools for the children to sow in the spring. Then, later on, there will be the chance for the schoolchildren to plant their plugs in the meadows in an attempt to further the biodiversity we already enjoy.
Grow Wild                                                                                                               Last year we planted 3 scrapes in Rhydyblewin Meadow with wild flower seeds provided by “Grow Wild” - and there was a colourful result with poppies, cornflowers and knapweed among the mix.   The initiative is spearheaded by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with the aim of improving the diversity of native wild flowers and thus attracting more bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  We shall be receiving  more seeds from “Grow Wild” this year and the plan is that the schools will be involved in sowing these seeds at the same time as planting out the kidney vetch seedlings.
Re-wild your Wellies!
Have you got any old wellington boots lurking in the cupboard?  If so they can be put to good use! Different events will be taking place in Cardiff on 11th - 12th April where you can just bring an old  welly along to be planted up with soil and wildflower seeds to give nature a home. The aim, on 16th April, is to build a record breaking Welly Wall on Millennium Stadium Boardwalk - surely a very worthy end for old boots!  For further details look at the website www.facebook.com/RSPBCymru

New Kissing Gates
Those of you who regularly walk the length of our Community Woodlands will have noticed the new self-closing Kissing Gates that have now been installed at the northern end of our territory. The old steps to the style have been removed and there is now a proper path up the hill so access is very much improved. We are grateful to Kevin Date, our Ranger, and his team of volunteers who  did all the heavy work. The new gates were donated by the Public Rights of Way team and the rest of the wooden fencing came from re-using timber from the corral (previously erected in the Top Meadow in the anticipation that we would have grazing animals there).

NEWSLETTER January 2015

Please note the embarrassment of the Blogger - the first article doesnot necessarily reflect her views!
Volunteer of the Year Award
We are delighted to announce that Rhian Jones has been awarded awarded the Cardiff Parks and Open Spaces Volunteer of the Year Award for 2014. On behalf of the Parks Dept. Kevin Date presented her with a carved trophy at the committee meeting in November.
As readers of this newsletter will be aware we have seen many innovations take place in the past few years. “It takes a thief to catch a thief”, so they say, and perhaps it also “takes a teacher to inspire a teacher”. Rhian taught at Bishop of Llandaff school where she was Head of Biology and after her retirement she joined The Friends.  She noticed that the wonderful open space of woods and meadows was not being used as a resource for the local school children to learn about the nature on their doorstep and she promptly set about doing something about it.
The Orienteering course was her idea and she was the driving force behind the Explorer Trail. Now both are up and running. Not only has she forged the links with 5 local schools but she is encouraging other teenagers, such as those on Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, to gain experience in field work by coming on our workdays and she is ensuring the continuing involvement of the schools in the maintenance of the trees and shrubs planted in Jubilee year.
The other major activity spearheaded by Rhian in 2014 was the Wild Flower Count which took place for the first time. She organised the count and spent many hours inputting the information on a the ‘Plantlife’ national database. This all forms part of our plan for managing the meadows and improving them as wild flower meadows.
Thank you Rhian. It is a very well deserved honour.                                                
Reduction in the Council Parks Department budget
There is to be a reduction in the Parks Dept. budget and it looks as if the Council is thinking of reorganising the Ranger Service.  We, as a voluntary group, are very concerned about any such proposed cuts and fear that they will have an adverse impact on the excellent service we currently get from our Ranger, Kevin Date.
The committee is sending a letter to the Council outlining how important the role of the Ranger is to the running of the Friends of Nant Fawr and to the management of the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands (which also forms part of the Nant Fawr Corridor). We draw on the Rangers expertise and training to make our plans in the first place and then, on workdays, value his assistance in directing the activity, providing the tools and ensuring safety. He also has a valuable educational role in helping young people understand and appreciate the local environment.
If the cuts are enforced on the Ranger Service it will inevitably have a detrimental effect on our Community Woodlands in many ways. Fewer workdays would mean less maintenance being undertaken and projects planned might have to be postponed.  We sincerely hope that this does not happen.
If you share our concerns why not contact your local councillor(s) and give them your views.                          
December workday                             
Hedges and Edges.
The December workday saw a crowd of helpers, fuelled by mulled wine and mince pies, cut back the high hedge behind the noticeboard in the old carpark of Llanishen Reservoir. In our  millennium booklet there is a picture of the noticeboard way back in 1999 and it shows a neat young hedge behind it, newly pleached. Pleaching is a traditional method of hedge laying. It involves part-cutting the hedging plant close to its base (pleaching) and bending it over and weaving it through hazel poles which are hammered in , on a diagonal  in the opposite direction to the living hedge stems. Hedges like this not only provide boundary edges but give a wonderful habitat for birds, field mice and other small creatures like spiders and insects. So one of the principle tasks this winter is to continue with the cutting and laying of this hedge which has become quite overgrown in recent years.


NEWSLETTER November 2014


BIODIVERSITY

1. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales
In June this year we were approached by Laura Dell, the Wildlife Sites Officer for the Trust, who was seeking out Local Wildlife Sites where they could offer their expertise to aid the management of the area for the benefit of wildlife.  So we are now deemed to be the land owners” of a Wildlife Site and have already been given some useful advice about the control of bracken, brambles and creeping thistle, as well as suggestions for improving the biodiversity of the Meadows. Jane Williams and Rhian Jones attended a land owners” meeting in October and found it was a helpful forum for the sharing of good practice.
2. A Focus on the Nant Fawr Meadows
The two Plantlife Wild Flower surveys held in June and August this year, and the visit of Laura Dell of the Wildlife Trust, showed that we have a wide variety of flower species in our meadows and it also highlighted the individuality of the different meadow habitats - there are dry slopes, boggy bits and shady areas.  However, there are ways to further improve the biodiversity. One aim, shared with the other organisations in Cardiff who meet in the Biodiversity Partnership, is to increase the number of pollinators. Pollination starts with the flower so the plan is to develop the meadows flora over the next few years. So far, we have concentrated on Yellow Rattle, collecting its seed and scattering it around other parts of the meadow. This plant inhibits the growth of grasses around it allowing more room for other wild flowers to establish. But there are other possibilities to consider, too, such as encouraging the spread of Red Bartsia and making more scrapes in which to sow native wild flower seeds.
We hope to involve the local schools in these activities.
  
GEOCACHING CATCHES ON
Geocaching is like a treasure hunt  - you are given details of various locations and have to find the spot where the caches are hidden.   Earlier this year 5 geocaches were placed in the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands and they have proved to be a success over the summer with many people exploring the area for the first time using the geocaches to plot their walk.   Sadly, some of the ‘treasures were vandalised in July, but the mindless acts of a few have not stopped the enjoyment of many. The damaged ones have now been replaced and all are being checked on a regular basis.
 If you are at a loose end why not try a bit of geocaching yourself?   All is explained on the website https://www.geocaching.com/
                                                        
MORE FAMILY ACTIVITIES
The resources that we have developed to encourage school parties to learn about the wildlife in the woodlands are free for anyone to download from our website www.nantfawr.org.uk
So if you want to turn a family walk into an adventure, try these activities.
First of all there is The Explorer Trail.  The online map and accompanying booklet will guide you around a series of posts and give some information to read about the plants and animals found in the area. It is mainly directed to children of primary school age but there is an extension activity for slightly older children too.
Next is a Scavenger Hunt.  There are two versions to download of the Scavenger Hunt, one for Summer and one for Winter. All you need to supply is a plastic bag to gather treasures, a pencil and a piece of paper. This activity will appeal to anyone in the family with a competitive streak! 
                                                      
 TIME FOR NEW NOTICEBOARDS
The three noticeboards we have are now looking rather tired and need some renovation. There are grants available (from £3,000 - £100,000) from the Heritage Lottery Fund for projects like this so we will apply for funding. However there are certain criteria to fulfil  - the project must show that it helps to conserve our heritage and that it will encourage community involvement.
We are already helping to conserve the ancient semi natural woodlandthat is Woods Covert and are enhancing the wild flower Meadows (as mentioned above) and we want to encourage local people to enjoy being outdoors whether it be geocaching, blackberry picking or just walking the dog. So the aim is to have some new noticeboards with space to show maps and other useful information which will describe the countryside to be found around the Nant Fawr, here in the heart of suburbia.
We are wondering if any of our members have any skills to offer in digital design? We need to think about attractive displays and new maps for the new noticeboards.
If you can help in any way please email us via the website.

Newsletter Autumn 2014

The Annual Hayrake - takes place on Sunday 28th September
The Hayrake is always a popular event - regardless of what the weather might have in store for us. One of the places where we are encouraging a wild flower meadow is on the land between the back of Cardiff High School and the path beside the Nant Fawr. The tall grasses will have been cut and our task is to rake up the mowings and scatter them at the sides so that the soil is left without extra nourishment. (This allows the wild flower seeds to grow and bloom the following year)
It is a case of many hands making light work and appeals to all age groups.
It is thirsty work, however, and we shall be offering Cider and Welsh Cakes as refreshments.
 Meet at Heol Esgyn Bridge.              Time: 10 am - 12 noon.
  
Update on the WILD FLOWER SURVEY 2014
This summer saw our first Wild Flower Survey (run under the auspices of Plantlife). We did 2 counts, the first one in June and the second one at the end of August. We did both a path survey, recording the different plants to be found within a 2m strip from the path and a plot survey, detailing the abundance of the plants in a specific square, measuring 5m by 5m.
Our path, 1km long, started at the Iron Bridge in Rhydypenau Park and ended at the Bird-viewing Platform.We divided this walk into three sections and examined a plot (5m by 5m) in each.
1.  a Woodland part - through Rhydypenau Woods along Cliff’s Path
2.   a Dry Meadow area - the Top Meadow behind Rhydypenau Road
3.   a Boggy Meadow section - the meadow behind Black Oak Road
The count revealed 114 different species, and it was interesting to note the variations in the flora growing in the three different habitats - Water MintWater Pepper and Water Bittercress (as befits their name) were present only in the boggy meadow. Large colonies of Common Spotted Orchids and Bird’s Foot Trefoil were found in the Top Meadow and Black Oak Meadow respectively.
    We have discovered that Yellow Rattle is found in only one area of the Top Meadow. It is a plant that inhibits the growth of grass so we are starting to collect the seed and encourage its spread in the other meadows. And Red Bartsia (similar to Yellow Rattle in that it controls grass growth and allows wild flowers to grow) was found in Rhydyblewin meadow, so we have plans target that plant and encourage its growth elsewhere.
We feel we now have a useful base to monitor the biodiversity of the meadows.It will be helpful for planning future projects. Rhian Jones, who has masterminded the survey and submitted the paperwork to Plantlife has also updated  the website with the results. So if you want to look at the new species list and see pictures of the teams at work look under the  heading “Flora Survey 2014”
                                                    
The KEW GROW WILD PROJECT 
Grow Wild is a 4-year national campaign to bring people together to sow UK native wild flowers. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and organised by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, with the aim of improving the diversity of wild flowers and encouraging bees and butterflies. Kew gives advice and provides the seeds suitable for the area in which they are to be sown. We decided earlier this summer to take part in this experiment and sowed three small areas in Rhydyblewin Meadow. The top soil was scraped off and the seeds sown directly on the less fertile subsoil.
Two of the three scrapes sown grew extremely well - you can look at the photos on our website - and we had a very colourful collection of corn chamomile, poppy, cornflower, corn marigold, common knapweed, corn cockle and red campion on show. The third area failed, possibly because the soil was too waterlogged.
We hope to extend the experiment next year by scraping an even larger area around the successful test beds and sowing more seed. Watch this space.



NEWSLETTER - AUGUST 2014


WILD FLOWER SURVEY (PART 2)  takes place on SUNDAY 31st AUGUST from 10 - 12noon.


We do not normally send out a newsletter in August, but 2014 is a special year as we have embarked on a WILD FLOWER SURVEY of the flora (which includes grasses and trees) to be found in the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands. We are are doing this as part of a nationwide survey of Wild Flowers, organised by Plantlife UK. Also, at a local level, we are submitting the data to Cardiff Biodiversity Partnership who are interested in increasing the number of pollinators 

in the open spaces around Cardiff.

The first count took place on 14th June and we were able to identify the early summer flowers. By doing a second survey in August we can look for the plants at the end of the flowering season. 

There is also the opportunity to collect seed at this time of year. For example Yellow rattle is a useful plant to have in a wild flower meadow as it inhibits the growth of grasses, so seeds collected from established colonies can be used to improve other parts of our Meadows. In particular we are hoping to improve the wild flower meadow by Cardiff High School.

The August survey will be organized in the same way as the one in June. The area we are looking at (a 1km square) lies between the Iron Bridge in Rhydypenau Park and the Bird Platform.

We are required to do both a path survey, recording the different plants to be found within a 2m strip from the path and a plot survey, detailing the abundance of the plants in a very specific area.

In June we divided the 1 km walk into three and allocated a team of Volunteers to each section.

  • a) a Woodland walk - through Rhydypenau Woods
  • b) a Dry Meadow area - the meadows behind Rhydypenau Road
  • c) a Boggy Meadow section - in the meadows behind Black Oak Road 

We were well armed with identification guides and books on wild flowers and between us managed to chart accurately most of the flora we found, though a few plants required an expert opinion.

A special note of thanks goes to Rhian Jones who has not only planned and coordinated the Survey BUT ALSO has spent many hours at the computer putting all the data on the Plantlife site and updating our website. Have a look at the splendid pictures posted on our website of the three groups at work on the flower count on a beautiful sunny June morning.


SUNDAY 31st AUGUST is also a normal WORKDAY when we shall be painting the kissing gates (weather permitting) and clearing the drainage channels in advance of the autumn rains. We also need to tidy up the footpaths by cutting back the encroaching vegetation.

You don’t have to be an expert to take part in the wild flower count. Come and join us!

For both events the meeting place is:-

The Old Car Park of Llanishen Reservoir (off Rhydypenau Road) Time 10am - 12noon 

 *********************

ADVANCE NOTICE

The Annual Hayrake takes place on Sunday 28th September


Meet at Heol Esgyn Bridge. Time: 10 am - 12 noon.



FRIENDS OF NANT FAWR COMMUNITY WOODLANDS

Newsletter June 2014


Our first WILD FLOWER SURVEY  takes place on Saturday 14th June
We will be part of a nationwide survey of Wild Flowers (organised by Plantlife UK) and we are seeking volunteers to record the flora in our part of the Nant Fawr corridor. This will involve a 1km walk from the bottom of Rhydypenau Park to the Bird Platform (making general observations regarding species distribution) followed by a more detailed study of specific areas.
There will be identification guides  provided and you will be part of a small group working together - you don’t have to be an expert to take part!
Normally we expect helpers to just turn up for a workday but, as this is a new venture, it would be useful to know in advance the likely number of volunteers. So, if you have email and plan to come, please contact Rhian Jones, the organiser, on nantfawrcommunity@gmail.com. The more the merrier of course - and it is fine to just turn up on 14th too.
We shall be meeting at 10 am in  the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance is off upper end of Rhydypenau Rd.) and should be finished by 12 noon.
SUMMER WALKS
Our last Walk took place on 10th May. It was billed as a “Spring Walk” but  the weather was inclement with showers, strong gusting winds and it was very muddy underfoot! Nevertheless  there were 38 people who turned up, undaunted, to walk the Nant Fawr Trail between Cefn Onn and Roath Park and it was good to enjoy the company of our neighbouring Friends Groups (Cefn Onn, Coed y Felin, and Roath Park) and learn about their work.

Hopefully there will be better weather for the next walk on Saturday 28th June.
It is  entitled “NANT FAWR -  PAST AND PRESENT
This walk, led by the Community Park Rangers, is an easy stroll (and suitable for those in a wheelchair). The interesting theme will explore how history affects the landscapes and wildlife that we see today, and the Rangers will explain how the Parks Department and the Friends of Nant Fawr currently manage the woods and meadows in their care.
 Meet  at the entrance adjacent to Cardiff High School.  Time: 2pm - 4pm

The WILDLIFE EXPLORER TRAIL is now officially open.
It was late spring and a  beautiful sunny morning on 21st May for the opening of the new Explorer Trail by Councillor Kate Lloyd. She had happy memories of playing in the woods near her childhood home and wished the same for the present generation of primary school children here in Cardiff. The pupils present from the 3 local primary schools, Coed Glas, Lakeside and Rhydypenau formed into small groups and thoroughly enjoyed their morning in Rhydypenau Woods. They used a map to find the 12 posts, each topped with a metal plaque with different wildlife picture on it. They then made a rubbing of it in their special books which contained a matching picture and gave an explanation.  “Much better than being in school” was the verdict at the end of the morning!
There are some colourful pictures on our website which capture the excitement of the day.

ACTIVITIES  FOR CHILDREN
There are a couple of events arranged for this summer that should particularly appeal to children (and the child within all of us!).  So if you are short of ideas to interest the children or grandchildren in the school holidays remember to put these dates in your diary.

On Saturday morning, July 19th, there is the STREAM SHUFFLE from 10 - 12noon
This is an event which has proved very popular for a number of years, and allows the children to explore the underwater life of the Nant Fawr. With the help of students from Cardiff University and the Ranger service the little creatures that are captured in the stream can be examined in close-up with a microscope.  All children must be accompanied by an adult and wellies are essential gear!
 Meet at the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (entrance at the top end of Rhydypenau Rd).

In the following week on the Sunday morning, 27th July, there is the chance to STREAM CLEAN the Nant Fawr (that is if those wellies have dried out!). This is one of the activities taking place during the Workday morning taking place in Woods Covert. See full details of the workday below

And how about a Treasure Hunt? Have you heard of Geocaching?
Very simply, geocaching is a  treasure hunt and it seems to be catching on not just in Cardiff but worldwide. It uses GPS (Global Positioning System) which provides Location and Time information so once your mobile phone has been GPS-enabled you can go out and about with it to seek and find places knowing only their co-ordinates.
The Friends  have placed 3 Geocaches in the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands (and there are more located in Roath Park). Containers holding a notepad and pencil are hidden and the GPS co-ordinates of these are posted on  the geocaching website.
To start, first register (it’s free) at http://www.geocaching.com  Jot down the co-ordinates of the the places you wish to find. Clues are provided for some of the more difficult sites. When you find the container, sign the notepad and report back on the geocaching website.
We’ve been told that geocaching is addictive - so be warned!

Newsletter May 2014


The LAUNCH of the WILDLIFE EXPLORER TRAIL

Wednesday 21st May. Meet at the top of Rhydypenau Park beside the Play Area  at 10.30 am
The new Explorer Trail will have its official opening  on Wednesday 21st May at 10.30am. As the course is designed for younger children we have invited some pupils from the 3 local primary schools, Coed Glas, Lakeside and Rhydypenau to attend and Cllr. Kate Lloyd has the honour of opening the trail.  The trail consists of 12 posts scattered around Rhydypenau Woods. Each post has a metal plaque with a raised picture of a plant, animal, insect or bird that might be seen in the woodlands. The children are given a special booklet and when they find a plaque have to match it to a picture. Then they take a crayon and make a rubbing in their booklet alongside that picture.
The Friends welcome members, parents, and volunteers to the opening ceremony, which  promises to be a lively one, with the school children discovering the new trail for the first time


Our FIRST WILD FLOWER SURVEY  

This takes place on Saturday, 14th June
Earlier this year we registered with Plantlife (UK) to be part of their nationwide survey of Wild Flowers and now is the time to go out into the Nant Fawr corridor to collect the data.  There are 99 plants listed for the survey but we are going to extend this plant identification list so that we can include information relevant to the  SE Wales data base for indicator species which show the health (or otherwise) of our meadows. It is big task, but an exciting one, and we are looking for volunteers to take part in the Survey. We shall be meeting at 10.00 am in the Old Car Park at Llanishen Reservoir (off the upper end of Rhydypenau Road) and should be finished by 12.00 noon.
We have two dates arranged this year, one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday:-
       Saturday, June 14th (which falls, appropriately, in Wales Biodiversity Week)
       Sunday, August 31st (a normal Work Day)
The dates have been selected a few months apart in order to maximise the range of flowers spotted.
There will be identification guides provided and small groups will be working together – so you don’t have to be an expert to take part!  Future plans include improving the biodiversity in the meadows. To do this we need to collect seeds from desirable species. These will be sown, and plugs planted too, in the areas we wish to improve. So look forward to more Activity Days ahead!


A New Campaign - GROW WILD

Grow Wild is a four-year campaign to bring people together to sow UK native wild flowers. It has been funded by Big Lottery Fund and is led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
BBC1's Countryfile programme is working with Grow Wild and they have produced 230,000 free packs of native wild flower seeds.  We applied for some packs and we were fortunate to receive 16 boxes, each containing 5 packets of seeds native specifically to Wales (as well as a "build yourself" bee house!). We have distributed 2 boxes to each of the five schools that we have been working with and their Ecogroups will use these in their school grounds.The remaining boxes of seeds are to be used in the meadows to supplement the species present already. We hope that this will improve biodiversity in general and, especially, bring in more pollinators. 

                                                          
A SUMMER WALK entitled NANT FAWR -  PAST AND PRESENT

Saturday 28th June.  Meet  at the entrance adjacent to Cardiff High School.  Time: 2pm - 4pm
This walk, led by the Community Park Rangers, is an easy stroll (and suitable for those in a wheelchair). The interesting theme will explore how history affects the landscapes and wildlife that we see today, and the Rangers will explain how the Parks Department and the Friends of Nant Fawr currently manage the woods and meadows in their care.

                                                            
REMINDER - Subscriptions are now due for 2014
A big Thank You to those who have paid promptly and a REMINDER for those for whom it is still on the “To Do” list!  It still costs only £3 for annual membership for a household or an individual.
It is  very good value for money to ensure the well being of the woods and meadows of the Nant Fawr.   (A Membership Renewal Form is attached to the end of this newsletter.)

                                                                   IAG May 14




Newsletter March  2014


AGM 

The  Annual General meeting takes place on Wednesday 30th AprilIt will be held in Park End Church, Rhydypenau Crossroads (Llandennis Rd, Cardiff, CF23 6EG) at 7.30 pm

This year, to make the evening more interesting, we shall be combining the AGM with having a Speaker and Richard Cowie, one of our members, has agreed to come along. His talk will be entitled “Wildlife of the Nant Fawr Green Corridor”. Please make an effort to come along and hear what he has to say. It will be a chance, too, to find out more about what The Friends are doing as there will be the usual displays of photographs. Refreshments will be provided.

Everyone is welcome!

Subscriptions are now due for 2014

It still costs only £3 for annual membership for a household or an individual.
Surely very good value for money to ensure the well being of the woods and meadows of the Nant Fawr.   Please e-mail for a Membership Renewal Form, and prompt payment would be appreciated.

The Leaflet - a New Version

Last year we produced a leaflet for publicity purposes. It displayed a map of our woodlands and meadows which stretch all the way from Llandennis Oval to Lisvane Reservoir and showed some photos of the lovely scenery found along the route.  Some 2000 copies were distributed locally (thanks mainly to the footwork of Jane Williams and Rhian Jones) and the extra publicity has given a boost to our membership with about 20 new households joining.
The committee decided to make a new leaflet this year to include the Explorer Trail. So a further 2000 copies are being printed and we shall continue with  the street by street leaflet-drop around Cyncoed, Lakeside, Llanishen and Lisvane.  If you would like to help in any way with the delivery of the leaflet please contact  Jane Williams on 029  20755138.

 The Orienteering Course

 A working party from The Friends joined Mr. Rob Griffiths and his Eco group from Cardiff High School on February 10th and installed 10 marker posts in Woods Covert. The posts were recycled ones!  During the recent building works at the school the Eco group lost their garden but they were able to dismantle the wooden posts.  Then in their free time a few Year 8 boys prepared them, together with the plastic signs, ready to be used for the new orienteering course.

So the orienteering course, starting from Cardiff High School and using all of Woods Covert, is now complete. For those not familiar with orienteering the idea is that participants are issued with a map, compass and set of instructions and have to follow a route to find certain marker posts in a set time.   There are 10 different posts (all numbered and lettered) and it is possible to prepare courses of different lengths, times and complexity.  Huw Lewis, from the PE Department, is busy preparing the various courses for the pupils to attempt.

Following up their work on the posts the Ecogroup are now building bird and bat boxes for placing in different areas of the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands.

The Explorer Trail

The long awaited Explorer Trail, for younger children, is now up and running. The posts (all 12 of them) were installed over the January and February Work Days. Each post has a metal plaque on top with a raised picture of a plant, animal, insect or bird that might be seen in and around the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands. The children are given a special booklet and when they find a plaque have to match it to a picture. Then they take a pencil or crayon and make a rubbing in their booklet alongside that picture. (Editor’s favourite is the Woodlouse plaque, conveniently placed beside a pile of rotting logs!). The official launch is planned for Wednesday 21st May, when we hope to be joined by the Ecogroups from three local primary schools, Lakeside, Coed Glas and Rhydypenau.


Newsletter January  2014


Links with the schools

The projects include:-
  • Creating outdoor work experience for pupils engaged in the Welsh Baccalaureate 
  • Establishing an Orienteering course
  • Creating an Explorer trail designed for younger children



The response has been slow  for developing the Community Service element of the Welsh Baccalaureate but there is some interest at last.

However the Orienteering Course in Woods Covert is still ‘on track’ to be ready this spring. Pupils, belonging to the ECO group at Cardiff High School, are busy producing the posts and working with The Friends to establish a suitable route.

The ExplorerTrail, designed for primary school-aged children, is now well advanced and the next couple of workdays will see some posts being installed in Rhydypenau Woods. These posts will have raised plaques for rubbings on them, showing the trees and wildlife to be searched for in the  woods.  An booklet about the trail is now ready and copies will be circulated to the primary schools in the area. We hope to launch the Explorer Trail formally - it will gain some publicity for the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands  and the conservation work we do there. 

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THE NEXT PROJECT            The Wildflowers Count     March - September 2014


 Newsletter - November 2013

Welcome to our new members.
The new Leaflet describing our Community Woodlands is being distributed widely around streets in Cyncoed, Lisvane and Llanishen and in places such as shops, libraries, schools, churches. This has been successful in that we are attracting new members so the publicity generated is paying off.
We extend a warm welcome to our new members (16 households and still counting).

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Forging links with the schools
One of our members, who has recently retired from teaching biology, and our ranger, Kevin Date, have been doing sterling work over the summer months making links with the local schools enabling them to utilise that wonderful resource which is on their doorstep - the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands.
The projects include:-
            Creating outdoor work experience for pupils engaged in the Welsh Baccalaureate
            Establishing a temporary Orienteering course with Cardiff High School
            Creating Explorer trails designed for younger children

The Welsh Baccalaureate
This is a new initiative launched by the Welsh Assembly to widen the experiences of 14-18 year old pupils. Part of the brief is called COMMUNITY  PARTICIPATION which involves candidates spending time outside the classroom as volunteers  working  in community projects. The 17-18 year old age group need to clock up some 30 hours of such work.
We felt that the Friends of Nant Fawr were in an ideal position to offer outdoor work as one of the suggested activities is “working to improve the environment”.   After all we have been seeking volunteers for our work days since we started in 1994!  But our 2-hour monthly workdays do not add up to 30 hours a year.  So we have liaised with the other Friends’ Groups in this area namely Roath Park, Heath Park and Cathays Cemetery. Now there is a summary of all the work days available through these Friends’ Groups. This list will give the pupils a choice of venue and dates in order to complete 30 hours of community service improving their local environment.  A leaflet has been produced to advertise the opportunities and Cardiff and Llanishen High Schools have agreed to pilot the project. So, hopefully, we may see some younger faces appearing on our work days!
The Orienteering Course
A trial run was made this summer by the ECO group of Cardiff High School pupils, aged 13-14. using the woods in Woods Covert, adjacent to their school. This project is in the early stage of development and the need to respect the area is being reinforced by the teachers.

The Explorers’ Trail
The Friends are working with the Council to produce a trail in Rhydypenau Woods designed for younger children of Primary School age. This involves using a map to find different posts. These posts are mounted with raised logos to make rubbings of plants and animals. There will also be an explanatory booklet which the council will provide. Initially we shall be working with the Junior schools who took part in the Jubilee tree planting.

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The Cardiff Biodiversity Partnership
The Friends of Nant Fawr have now joined the Cardiff Biodiversity Partnership, an umbrella group for the different organisations involved in conservation in and around the city. Not only is there a local Action Plan for Cardiff, but we are also recording what we already do to aid conservation.
All the information collected creates a nationwide database of which there are  3 main sections:
  1. Species conservation eg our monitoring of dormice population
  2. Habitat action plans - the procedures used to maintain and improve habitats                                    eg how we manage our wild flower meadows
  3. Raising public awareness - eg our new leaflet, links with schools


The main focus in Wales at the moment  is about Pollinators (is there a lack of them?). New research will depend on establishing baseline data about the flora and fauna in each locality. Much of the data required for this and other projects will need to be gathered and recorded by groups such as the Friends of Nant Fawr.  So watch this space ......... details about our plans for 2014 will appear in the next newsletter.               
                                 
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Please have a look at our website (or rather “blogspot”)which Martyn Wyatt has been busy setting up recently. You will find further details of the work Rhian has done with the schools and with the Biodiversity partnership. Also there is a picture of Ivor Lippett with the pottery plate we presented to him for his many years of service to the Friends. And even more photos....                                                
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A WALK THROUGH NANT FAWR WOODLANDS
on SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER at 2pm

Kevin Date, our Ranger, has kindly agreed to lead a joint walk for the Friends of Nant Fawr, Friends of Bute Park and  Friends of Roath Park  to show the work that has been done in the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands. over the last 20 years
Please meet at  at the entrance next to Cardiff High School at 2pm
See our Calendar page!
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Workdays

SUNDAY 17th NOVEMBER
See our Calendar page!

SUNDAY 8th DECEMBER
See our Calendar page!

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                                                                                                                                     IAG March 2013

NEWSLETTER - AUGUST 2013

Looking Ahead

Our new chairperson is Jane Williams who was elected at the AGM in April.  The committee met in June to hold a‘Strategic Planning Workshop’ to discuss what we wished to achieve in the next 5 years.  It was a productive meeting with lots of ideas and discussion about strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and problems.  It has given us a framework and some new projects to plan which you will be hearing about in more detail later.  In a nutshell we are seeking better publicity (new maps and leaflets, an improved website and proper links with the council websites). We also wish to promote biodiversity (nature trails, orienteering, bird and mammal nesting boxes, community orchard). And we aim for more community involvement(in particular working regularly with schools and colleges e.g. providing field work for baccalaureate course).
                                   
Presentation to Ivor Lippett

Ivor joined the Friends in 1994 and, since then, has been a very active member of the committee, first as Project Manager overseeing the major path laying work we did in the early years and the subsequent maintenance . Latterly he took on the role of chairman, resigning at the start of this year due to ill health. We are glad to say that, following surgery, Ivor’s health is much improved and he is back again as committee member and Leader of the workdays.
The committee decided it would be appropriate to thank him for his many years of service so we commissioned a colourful wall plaque from local potter Molly Curley. It has the Friends of Nant Fawr logo on the front and was presented to Ivor by Jane Williams at the committee meeting in June.


The first NEW LEAFLET

Not many local people know exactly where the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands are located. We are, after all, a rather straggly piece of open space within an urban setting. So for publicity purposes we have produced a leaflet with a map showing the main habitats and a description of the work that The Friends do to maintain and conserve the woodlands and meadows. Our thanks go to Rhian and Peter Jones who have spearheaded the project by creating a new map and assembling the text and photographs.  If you can help to distribute the leaflet (e.g. handing a copy to friends or doing a leaflet drop in your neighbourhood) please get in touch with
Jane Williams  Tel: 029 20755138  or by emailcatrincardiff2008@yahoo.co.uk


Enjoy a  SUMMER WALK  led by the community Ranger Service




NEWSLETTER - Spring 2013


PLEASE NOTE THAT YOUR SUBSCRIPTION FOR 2013 IS NOW DUE  

The subscription is still only £3.00 per household. Prompt payment is much appreciated.


The Jubilee Tree Planting Project

The Jubilee Tree Planting project of 2012 was considered a great success by the participating schoolchildren and their teachers who thoroughly enjoyed their time in the Nant Fawr Woodlands planting trees. Our thanks go to Ranger Kevin Date, who arranged the buying of the saplings and supervised the planting sessions and to Jane Williams who liaised with the local schools (5 in all).  The wet winter has proved to be an advantage as it appears that most of  the 500 or so saplings have taken well. So it will be interesting to follow the progress of the blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, Crab-apple and wild pear trees that have been planted to provide an autumn “hedgerow harvest”.
One of our first projects, which took place in February 1995 in Rhydypenau Park, was planting some trees to soften the straight line that formed the boundary to the park on the reservoir side. Those trees are now well over 10 feet in height and fast becoming well established so it is pleasing to think of today's schoolchildren coming back in 10 or 20 years time and saying “I helped to plant those trees in Jubilee year”.

The Grazing Saga

The preferred way of managing the meadows, to allow wild flowers to flourish, is to cut at the end of the growing season and introduce some grazing animals to keep the grass down. However we are in a built up area and there are urban problems such as antisocial behaviour and incidents of dog attacks that makes a farmer unwilling to take the chance of grazing his cattle in the meadows. This is what happened here last year - the farmer pulled out at the last minute. So despite the gates and fences in place there were no cows to graze the land.
The next best method of management is to mow the fields and remove the cuttings. So this is the scheme we shall now adopt. Cutting will be carried out on a 3-year rolling plan - i.e. a third of the  meadow land will be cut each year with the mowings taken away (at a cost of about £500 a time). Allowing some grass to remain uncut gives small creatures like voles and fieldmice an area they can migrate to. The cutting will be timed after the nesting season.

Links with local schools

We are grateful to Rhian Jones who has been liaising with the local co-ordinator of the Welsh Baccalaureate to see what sort of field work we can offer pupils to fulfill their 30 hours of community service.  In co-operation with other Friends’ Groups nearby (Heath Park, Roath Park and Cathays Cemetery) there is now a comprehensive list of workdays to choose from.  Its a great way for the pupils to become involved with their community and gain an awareness of the local ecology.                                 


Promoting the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands

*We are working on the design of a new leaflet to advertise the whereabouts of the Nant Fawr Community Woodlands. The woods and meadows form a very long and straggly open space and not enough people in Llanishen, Lisvane and Cyncoed know where we are and how to access the area. The leaflet will be distributed in places like Roath Park conservatory, libraries and even door to door.  It will show a map and give a brief description of the different sections of our part of the Nant Fawr trail plus our contact details.  All this ties in with having an up-to-date website and blog and that is work in progress too.
*The environmental group at Cardiff High School, led by Rob Griffiths, are keen to have a project to work on and we have given them the task of giving us some design options for the leaflet. (The pupils are far less ‘technically-challenged’ than your committee members!)
*We are grateful to Geoff Roberts who as our Press Officer has recently submitted some articles to the local paper and directories to publicise the work of the Friends of Nant Fawr.


  IAG March 2013

NEWSLETTER - Winter 2012



THE DIAMOND JUBILEE TREE PLANTING
In February, as part of our Diamond Jubilee Project, children from Coed Glas Primary and Llanishen High School planted small trees and shrubs in different corners of Rhydypenau Park.
At the end of November it was the turn of 3 more schools to be involved in the tree planting. Fortune favoured us and we had dry weather for each session and about 300 little saplings (or whips as they are known in the trade) were duly planted by teams of enthusiastic children. Using spades they were shown how to create a T- shape in the ground, lift the earth and insert the whip in the hole created. Rhydypenau School made their planting opposite the playground in Rhydypenau Park while the Ecology group from Cardiff School used the area adjoining their school fence. Meanwhile, the Lakeside school children went to a corner near Rhydyblewin Farm.
The trees and shrubs chosen included blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, crabapple and wild pear. They will add colour and interest, and also provide a hedgerow harvest of berries and nuts - great food for wildlife. And perhaps in 10 or 20 years time a child will return and say “I planted that tree!”
So the tree planting has been a great success thanks to the enthusiastic participation of all the pupils and their teachers, and the active involvment of the Friends. We are indebted to Jane Williams for liaising with the schools and arranging dates, and to Kevin Date, our Ranger, for ordering the saplings and lending his expertise.


A FRESH APPROACH TO PUBLICITY
At our November meeting the committee decided we needed to take a fresh approach to publicity as we wish to attract younger members of the community and more families to our work days and other events. We came up with several ideas.
Foster links with local schools.
New member, Rhian Jones, has been liaising with staff at Cardiff High School. As part of the Welsh Baccalaureate, senior pupils have to do 30 hours of community service. We could offer field work for their community service. This would be of particular interest to those studying geography and biology as undertaking practical tasks in the woodlands would complement their academic studies.
Co-operation with with neighbouring Friends Groups
Our nearest Friends’ Groups are those at Heath Park, Roath Park and Cathays Cemetery.
Co-operation with them will provide opportunities for publicising workdays and other activities. Indeed a Joint Walk is planned for next summer.
Spreading Information
We plan to design a leaflet to give out information about Nant Fawr Community Woodlands and distribute it locally - perhaps by leaflet drop or at places like libraries and Roath Park conservatory. The leaflet would show, for example, a map and a description of the pathways, details of the activities/workdays on offer.
Promoting Friends of Nant Fawr on web.
We need to join 21st century and sell ourselves via a Website and Blog!
We are fortunate in having the expertise of Martyn Wyatt who has created a blogspot for us.



NEWSLETTER - AUTUMN 2012






TREE PLANTING UPDATE


The Fruit Trees which were planted round the perimeter of the Paddock earlier in the year are surviving. After a promising start with blossom and fruit starting to set they suffered in the wind and rain this summer and have produced no fruit this year - but these are early days. The older trees planted 2 years ago have fared a bit better - they are on drier ground and have been well protected by a hedge of brambles.


Diamond Jubilee Project In February the children from Coed Glas Primary School and Llanishen High School planted small trees and shrubs around the boundaries of Rhydypenau Park to provide colour and interest in the hedgerows. This work is being continued this autumn with further plantings taking place in November. This time it is with the help of pupils from Cardiff High, Lakeside Primary and Rhydypenau Schools.


We are indebted to Jane Williams and Kevin Date for organising the events.





THE GRAZING PROJECT


Meadows are a man-made habitat and as such have to be managed somehow else they would quickly revert to woodland. Allowing some grazing to take place is the preferred way of managing our meadows to produce a wild flower haven and this summer saw some of us on the workdays busy pulling ragwort from the fenced off fields of the Top Meadow. This was in anticipation of the cattle coming to graze this autumn as ragwort is a plant poisonous to them.


Sadly, however, we have to inform you that the cattle will not be arriving this time as the farmer has pulled out. He had concerns about the risk to his cattle (e.g. being attacked by a dog, also the possibility of antisocial behaviour such as people deliberately leaving the gates open). The grasses have to be kept short so the Council will be cutting the meadows and taking away the mowings this autumn instead.


This is a disappointing setback but there is some good news to be had. Apparently the Top Meadow has colonies of yellow rattle - this is a good plant to have in a wild flower meadow as it inhibits the growth of grass, allowing other wild flowers to take a hold.










PLEASE NOTE!
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET RENEWED YOUR
MEMBERSHIP FOR 2012
PLEASE DO SO NOW


.


The rate is still only £3 per household so it is excellent value and an easy way of showing that you care about the conservation of the woodlands.


Summer Newsletter    August 
2012 



Pond dipping

A group did some Pond Dipping in the new pond which was dug in the Middle Meadow.
The survey gave interesting results and we found the following creatures, which are an indication of
a healthy habitat. We learned, too, that a pond which dries out in the summer is still a valuable
habitat as many of the pond creatures only need the water for breeding purposes.
  • Smooth Newt both adults and Eft's ( young newts with gills )
  • Common Frog Tadpole with back legs forming
  • Waterflea ( Daphnia ) the base of the foodchain
  • Damselfly Nymph
  • Freshwater Shrimp
  • Greater Pond Snail
  • Beetle Larvae
  • Lesser Water Boatman
  • Water Spider - Dolomedes fimbriatus
  • Water Mite

The Diamond Jubilee Tree Planting Project



The Fruit Trees which were planted in the Paddock area earlier in the year seem to be growing well. All the trees have flowered and some have set fruit. The small trees and shrubs which were planted around the boundaries of Rhydypenau Park by the children of Coed Glas Primary School and Llanishen High School as part of the Diamond Jubilee Project have also taken well. (Perhaps we should be thankful for all that rain!)


Update on the Grazing project

Allowing some grazing to take place is the preferred way of managing our meadows to produce awild flower haven. The fences are in place, the objections that the countryside Council for Wales raised have been overcome and the council hopes to introduce some cattle this autumn. Numbers will be small, probably less than 10 and they will be put to graze for a few weeks. During the time
the animals are on the site walkers will need to take the paths around the fields. Apparently the Top Meadow has colonies of yellow rattle - this is a good plant to have in a wild flower meadow as it inhibits the growth of grass, allowing other wild flowers to take a hold.



Winter Newsletter    
February 2012 


The Diamond Jubilee tree planting Project


The Woodland Trust has come up with a scheme to plant a million trees to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and wishes to involve schools and community groups all over the country. We thought it sounded a good idea and so Jane Williams has contacted several local schools of whom five have expressed an interest in participating with The Friends. However, rather than create more woodland  (we already have a fair number of large trees on our patch) it is more appropriate to enhance various corners and edges of the Nant Fawr Woodlands by using  hedging plants i.e. saplings of hawthorn, hazel, field maple, dog rose, crabapple, spindle and guelder rose.  As they grow and mature, the small trees and shrubs will make an excellent habitat for wildlife. The berried fruits and nuts in the autumn will provide a hedgerow harvest as well as giving colour and interest.  

We will be buying the bare-rooted saplings ourselves (and not seeking free packs from the Woodland Trust as it was difficult to arrange specific delivery dates with them).  The best times for planting are the months of February, March and November.  We have therefore arranged with Coed Glas Primary School and Llanishen High School to each send a class to dig and plant some 260 saplings on the morning (10am to 12) of Wednesday 29th February.  Two separate areas have been chosen in Rhydypenau Park near where it backs on to Llanishen Reservoir.  Kevin Date, our Ranger, is organising the day and making sure that there are enough spades and saplings to go round.
The other three schools who have expressed interest in the Diamond Jubilee planting  are Lakeside, Rhydypenau and Cardiff High. We shall arrange planting dates for them later on in November.


Grazing in the Meadows
 The fences and gates were put in place last year to allow cattle to be safely grazed in the meadows. This is now the preferred way of managing meadow land - the cattle keep the grasses short allowing the wild flowers to seed and flourish. It is easier than trying to mow and remove the cuttings.  However, last autumn the Countryside Council for Wales  (CCW) expressed concern that cattle could escape on to the reservoir site and thus trample on the banks which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest as they contain rare colonies of fungi (i.e. those colourful waxcaps which flourish there).  Having inspected the site, CCW has now given agreement for grazing to take place.  This will be for a few weeks at a time, in the spring and autumn. Hopefully it will start this spring. The cattle will be docile and numbers small - probably less than 10 - but it will require walkers to take the paths around the fields, thus giving them a reminder of yesteryear when Rhydyblewyn Farm was once a working farm.



The New Orchard  
On our last workday, held on January 29th,  a small but dedicated group of helpers planted eight more fruit trees ( 2 apple, 2 plum, 2 pear and 2 damson) in the Paddock.  Last March four apple and pear trees were planted in the brambly area between the Nant Fawr and the Paddock and they seem to have taken well.  However, this area is quite shaded, so the new fruit trees have been planted around the edges of the Paddock where there is more sunshine. The new fruit trees are all old varieties and we are grateful to Andrew Evans who made the journey to West Wales to collect them from a specialist supplier.


Winter 2011


CLIFF’S  PATH IS COMPLETED


The main project this year has been the construction of a new path in memory of our late Chairman, Cliff Mullins. It winds through Rhydypenau Woods to the right of the main path as you walk from the iron bridge towards the Noticeboard. At our last workday the final touches were completed with the erection of the sign posts (with a small memorial inset to the wooden posts).  We feel the new pathway makes a fitting tribute to Cliff  - a man who loved walking through these woods (and working in them on workdays)  throughout the seasons.




The Nant Fawr Trail


The Nant Fawr Trail has now been completed and is described as “A Gateway from Roath to the countryside”  and our footpath through the Nant Fawr Woodlands forms the middle part of the trail. Cardiff Council has produced a  Leaflet with a detailed map of the walk which is well signposted.




A NEW WEBSITE

The Friends of Nant Fawr have had a website domain for some years now, but it had been left to languish.  However we have a new member, Martyn Wyatt, who has offered to get  a new website up and running.  So soon you will be able to blog us and find out what is happening on our patch. Hopefully we shall attract newcomers too, who will discover the attractions of our  Community Woodlands through the blog. This is an exciting new project so ‘Watch this space’ (or you can check  out its progress on http://www.nantfawr.org.uk/)

        

The Community Orchard 
We are planning to extend the community orchard  which we started planting last March ( in the brambly area between the Nant Fawr and the Paddock). Eight more fruit trees have been ordered. Two of these are apple (an old Cardiff variety, Brith Mawr, and a St Cecilia) and these, along with two pear trees, will be planted alongside the existing ones on one of the winter workdays.
To give more variety two damson and two Victoria plum trees  will be also be planted but in the hedgerow area surrounding the Paddock.

The Future of the Paddock as a wild flower meadow.

We have been following a grassland management plan for the Paddock which has been to cut the grasses once a year in late summer and rake up the resulting hay to aid the germination of  the wildflowers.  This has only been partially successful as the Rangers have a tight work schedule and cannot always time the cutting to fit in with a spell of fine weather. Soggy hay raking over the past few years has led to over fertile soil and the wildflowers are not growing quite as exuberantly as expected. Also the young trees in the meadow are growing taller and give more shade.  So the site is less open than when we first cleared the site from the brambles some 15 years ago.  So our thoughts are now to let nature take its course  and let the Paddock become more of an orchard area with  grass cutting taking place twice a year (in spring and the end of summer).

A new site for a Wild Flower Meadow

However we do not wish to give up on the creation of a wild flower meadow in this part of the Nant Fawr Woodlands. The meadow land behind Cardiff High School - in particular the area near Heol Esgyn bridge - will lend itself to being managed in this way.  We certainly intend to continue with the popular Hayrake workday in the autumn.
This spot was chosen in March as the place where the “Hedgerow Harvest” saplings were planted.  Sadly not many of them have grown. This is due in part to the rather late date of planting and to the very dry spring which followed and not enough aftercare on our part. However, we intend to continue with this theme and plan to plant some more saplings (e.g. elder, dogrose, hazel) to create a wildlife-friendly hedge at the back of the grassy area.