Birds of New Zealand

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Jul 092014

Click for full size flyer

Not meadows, or about Monmouthshire, but a friend of our group and an event that will either remind people of some wonderful New Zealand holidays or encourage them to go!

Adventures of a Kiwi Birder is an illustrated talk by Brent Stephenson, co-author of Birds of New Zealand: a Photographic Guide, to be held on Monday 4th August at Bridges Community Centre in Monmouth at 7pm.  Tickets are just £4.00 (and that includes tea/coffee).  The event is priced to cover costs – any surplus will be donated to charity.

There’s more information on the flyer.

To book phone David Loughlin on 01600 713396 or email

For more information about Brent see:,, and his pictures on

Keep Wales Tidy

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Jul 092014

KWT_logo_2014_154Keep Wales Tidy is much more than just a litter picking organisation.  They focus on protecting our environment and preserving the natural landscape, and they support other initiatives, such as the Eco Schools initiative and the Green Flag Awards scheme.  MMG has received fantastic support from them too.

This year they are one of the sponsors of the World Alternative Games in Llanwrtyd Wells (8th – 25th August) and they are holding their own event in these games, the Tidy Triathlon, on 22nd August.  You can enter your own team (3-5 members) or just go and watch – details here.

In September they are organising a week- long, nationwide clean-up of littered black spots in Tidy Wales Week, 15 – 21 September.   Last year over 2,000 people joined in, resulting over a thousand of bags of litter being recovered by volunteers.  This year they are encouraging groups – neighbours, schools, local businesses – to sign up and join in.  Register on by emailing or see their web site for information


Jun 192014
Keeping back the Bracken

Keeping back the Bracken can be hard work

Bracken is the scourge of meadows. It spreads via spores and underground stems and can out-compete other plants, dominating the field. Grazing animals will avoid it as it contains toxins.

To control Bracken it is helpful to use a Bracken-bruiser, a sort of roller usually towed by a quad bike or tractor. This bruises the Bracken and weakens it but you need to do this at least three years running, ideally in July.

A novel way on steep hills where the use of a tractor would be difficult would be to hire Kate Mobbs-Morgan’s two Ardenne horses which pull a Bracken-bruiser. Kate is based near The Hendre and she would not charge mileage to take one or more horses to your field but she does charge a day rate of £195.

Kate's Ardenne horse Kipp crushing bracken

Kate’s Ardenne horse Kipp crushing Bracken

If you are interested do let us know because if several people are in the same area, that would make life easier.

Contact Stephanie Tyler at MMG if you are interested, and have a look at Kate’s web site for more information on the Ardennes.

May 182014

SEWBReC logoSouth East Wales Biodiversity Recorders Centre (SEWBReC) produce the Gwent-Glamorgan Recorders’ Newsletter which usually has several items of interest to Meadows Group members. The latest issue May 2014 (pdf) includes a report from Steph Tyler and Elsa Wood (Monmouthshire’s Botanical Recorders) on their highlights from 2013, and an article by GWT’s Andy Karran on Local Wildlife Sites along with articles on, among other things, water voles at Magor Marsh, bats in Newport and butterflies in Silent Valley.

You can download back copies of their newsletters from their web site.

Apr 112014
JH In the Meadow

Picture: Jeremy Harris

MMG photographic competition is to encourage amateur photographers, young and old, to capture images of flowers, insects, landscapes, or people enjoying our lovely meadows.

The aim is to celebrate the value and beauty of local meadows (including road verges, garden mini-meadows and other similar areas of wildflower-rich grasslands).

Anyone can enter by sending in digital pictures taken this year in Monmouthshire and the surrounding area, which reflect the value of meadows and the aims of MMG.  The winning pictures will be chosen based on interest value rather than technical expertise, so everyone can take part whether you are using an expensive SLR camera or your mobile phone!

The competition will be judged in three age groups:

  • 10 years and under
  • 11 to 16 years
  • Adult – 17 and over

Winners will receive a copy of their picture printed and framed, as well as a certificate.  The pictures will be displayed on the MMG web site.

You can start sending in entries as soon as you like and we will display some of them on the web site to show examples of pictures as they are received.  

Full details including rules and how to submit your pictures can be Downloaded here.  If you have any queries email 

Get snapping!

Mar 102014

Click to download newsletter pdf

Our Spring newsletter – issue number 20 – has just been published and sent to members by email.

As well as our usual summary of activities and coming events, we have articles on

  • The Glastir Scheme as experienced by MMG member Carla Edmonds
  • St Mary’s Churchyard in Tintern, written by Diane Parker
  • The County Pollinator Policy – how Monmouthshire plans to let wildflowers flourish in our roadside verges
  • A report of the talks given at our Autumn meeting by Elsa Wood on Autumn meadow fungi, Sheelagh Kerry on Abergavenny Community Orchard and making hay with their hand baler, and Anne Wareham on her garden meadow at Veddw
  • Plantlife’s Say No to the Mow campaign
  • The Wye Valley AONB 5-year management plan
  • A review of a new book from the Gwent Ornithological Society – Birdwatching Walks in Gwent

The higher resolution version can be downloaded here, or members can request a hard copy by contacting us.

Jan 302014

bees_for_development2It’s not too late to support the County Pollinator Policy.  Below is an email circulated to MMG members from Bees for Development who have set up a petition to support the Council proposal to reduce verge cutting. MMG has been supporting the reduction in roadside cutting together with Plantlife and other wildflower conservation groups.  If you haven’t already please consider signing the online petition.

Monmouthshire County Council Proposed Pollinator Policy

An excellent proposal is being considered by our local Council to reduce roadside verge cutting and to create more bee and pollinator friendly planting schemes.  Road safety will always remain their first consideration.  At a Council meeting last week, a petition with 120 signatures against the Proposed Pollinator Policy was presented.

Bees for Development is backing the policy and requests your support to ensure that the Policy is implemented.  Please help in one of these ways:

1.      Sign our online petition:

2.     Send an e-mail, individually or on behalf of your organisation, to Councillor Phil Hobson.   e-mail is

You can read the proposed policy and download a letter in PDF at

There is a possibility that this Proposal will not go ahead, so please express your support and encourage other people in your network to do so.

Monmouthshire has a real chance to prove its commitment to caring for pollinators.  We hope that other local authorities will follow their good example.

Thank you

Nicola Bradbear
Director, Bees for Development
1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth NP25 3DZ
United Kingdom Tel  +44 (0)1600 714848

The Bees for Development Trust UK Registered Charity 1078803
We help vulnerable communities in poor countries to achieve self-sufficiency through beekeeping.

Local Dexter Beef

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Nov 252013

Members John and Sandra Lee have their delicious Dexter beef for sale in packs ready for the freezer. Please contact them on or phone 01600 860933.

Nov 252013

MMG Member Paula Chalinder has eight miniature ponies needing a good home – six mares and two geldings. If you interested in buying these lovely ponies please contact Paula on 01873 855083.

Jacob sheep, picture by Amanda Copp

Another member, Amanda Copp, has sheep for sale, as she is cutting down on her livestock.   Amanda says “Our flock started with 2004 born Jacobs X Texel and we still have some of the originals. Over the years we have mainly used pedigree Jacob rams plus one year using a Badger faced ram.

We have about 6 retired ‘pet’ ewes and because we only breed about 7 each year we have several 3 and 4 year olds that we haven’t bred from. The pets would make ideal lawnmowers for anyone who didn’t want to breed – I am not in a hurry to see them go but if a really good home came along I’d be happy to see them settled.

I have 5 ewe lambs born April this year – all Jacobs – includes one very friendly hand reared who is ideal for anyone looking for an easy to handle ewe and also 5 ewes born May 2012 – all Jacobs, some black and white and some all black”

To find out more, contact Amanda on or tel.01600 861856.

Oct 092013

SEWBReC have produced an annual newsletter for the Gwent recording community since 2005, and in October 2008, the first joint Gwent-Glamorgan Recorders’ Newsletter was produced.  Packed full of articles from recorders, the 9th edition has just been published and it is well worth a look.

Download it here from the SEWBReC web site (pdf)

Back issues are also available 

SEWBReC (South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre) is the centre for the collation, management and dissemination of biodiversity data for South East Wales.