Four Acres Meadow: Work Party 31st January

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Jan 042016
Four Acres meadow on our Open Meadows day June 2015

Four Acres meadow on our Open Meadows day June 2015

Our first event of 2016 will be a clearing up task force on Four Acres meadow in Maryland, The Narth, on Sunday 31st January, from 10.30am to about 12.30pm.

This is the part of Ida Dunn’s property which is being given to Monmouthshire Meadows Group by her beneficiaries, and many of you will have visited on one of the open meadows days we have held there to view the beautiful butterfly orchids.  We are now fully responsible for its maintenance (a task we have been doing for some time on behalf of Ida until her sad death in 2014).  In particular we would welcome help from anyone living near The Narth who would also like to join the small sub-committee we are forming.

The work party on 31st is to clear small overhanging branches, including willow and hazel, and to do some general clearing up, so bring saws and appropriate tools if you can.  The post code of the site is NP25 4QJ and it is shown on this map (done for last year’s open day).  Please park in the woodland car park opposite the turn into Maryland. If you need other directions or information please contact Marilyn via the web form.


Our Spring 2015 Newsletter

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Apr 082015

MMGNewsletterSpring2015CoverNow available here as a high resolution download (2 MB pdf):

As well as news about our spring and summer events, and of course our Kingcoed appeal, contents include

  • An update on Bee Friendly Monmouthshire and how the council’s Pollinator Policy is doing
  • Our upcoming project, in collaboration with Parish Grasslands Project, to produce a guide to fungi of our Lower Wye Valley grasslands
  • News of a new meadows group in Carmarthenshire
  • Why we should be worried about the Welsh Government’s new Planning Bill
  • An article about Monmouthshire’s GreenWeb
  • The National Plant Monitoring Scheme
  • Advice from Plantlife on creating a mini-meadow in your garden
  • and a list of meadows-related events in our area over the coming months

Bee Friendly Verges: Improving but Still Could Do Better!

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Mar 252015

beefriendlymonmouthshire_logoMonmouthshire County Council’s decision last year to adopt a Pollinator Policy was a major step forward for the wildflowers, bees and other pollinators.  The county-wide displays of wildflowers were admired by everyone and were a major step forward.

Link to How you Can Help

There is still some way to go, however, before the Council’s plan is fully implemented.  Part of the plan was to change their cutting regime so verges were cut just twice a year at the appropriate time, in order to allow wild flowers to establish and seed (with the obvious exceptions where safety was a concern).

Bee Friendly Monmouth has been monitoring this and, as far as they can tell, one year on from the implementation of the policy there has been only a 4% reduction in such verge cutting, and in many places the old regime has just continued as before.

To comply fully with their own Pollinator Policy, in the coming year Bee Friendly Monmouthshire wants the Council to –

  1.  Aim for a reduction of at least 20% in verge cutting
  2.  Make all verges a protected area
  3.  Abolish all use of herbicides/pesticides on verges

Then we really will be on our way to a more bee-friendly county.

How You can Help

Get in touch with your County Councillor and ask them to ensure the verge cutting element of their Pollinator Policy is properly carried out.  You can mention the three points above and explain that cutting verges at the appropriate times, allowing the wildflowers to flourish and seed first, is an important part of protecting the biodiversity of our countryside and improving bee populations.

Contact details for your Councillor can be found on the MCC web site.

You can use this Pro forma letter to Councillors if you wish (Word document)

There has been a dramatic decline in bee and other pollinator numbers in recent years, yet these insects are vital links in our food chain as well a maintaining the ecological balance.  It is very important that the Council continues its good work in order to protect them.

Road Verge

Verges can be a haven for wildflowers if they are managed well


Hay for Sale from Gwent Wildlife Trust

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Feb 252015
Picture: bales of hay by alegri from

Picture: bales of hay by alegri from

Gwent Wildlife Trust has 300 small bales of hay for sale, located at Pentwyn Farm, Penallt.

It is certified organic and is made from their SSSI hay meadows.

£3.50 buyer collects.

For more information please contact Tim Green –

01600 740600

Work Parties on the Wye

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Feb 122015

The Wye & Usk Foundation have been coordinating litter and rubbish removal from the Wye for 10 years now, clearing 900 miles of river bank and shifting over 100 tons of rubbish so far! The various tributaries (Ithon, Irfon, Lugg, Arrow, Monnow and all the smaller ones) have been cleared and on the main river, the charity had worked its way down from the source to Luggsmouth by May 2014.

This year they are tackling the final stretch from Luggsmouth down to Chepstow and they are looking for local volunteers to help. Their aim is to find organisations that can take on a stretch, and Tom Ward-Jackson of Keep Wales Tidy is helping to coordinate volunteers.

They will be leading small groups of helpers at least twice a week most weeks between now and the end of April.  In February they are working their way down to Ross, and then on down towards the mouth of the Wye.  The dates for the Monmouthshire section have not yet been announced.

There’s more about the project on the Wye & Usk Foundation web site

For more information or to get involved, please contact Tony Norman


Forest of Dean Big Seed Swap 8 February

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Jan 272015

SeedSwopFeb15Dean Meadows Group has alerted us to this event on Sunday 8th February: a Forest-wide Big Seed Swap at 5pm at the Bailey Inn in Yorkley, GL15 4RP.

Bring your spare seeds, as well as seedling or bulbs, to swap and share. All will be free but please label your seed packets carefully with as much detail as possible – with the name and the specific variety, as well as the year they were harvested (or ‘the use by’ date if seeds were bought).  Any queries contact

More Grazing Options

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Jan 252015

Not the actual sheep but these Jacobs lambs are too cute to resist, and they are a good conservation grazing breed

Many MMG members have been looking for help with conservation grazing of their meadows, and we now have two more farmers with sheep they are willing to transport to members fields.

We’ve been contacted by James Edwards near Usk who has a small flock of sheep which are run on an extensive, minimal input system.  Some are currently grazed in the Trellech area.  James is interested in conservation grazing and is offering his animals to help out Meadows group members looking for grazing help.  He can transport the sheep and will keep an eye on them, and is willing to travel if the ground is suitable.  He says they are a hardy, calm group.  Email James on

We also have a farmer near Ross who has sheep available for grazing.  Please contact Glynis Laws if you would like him to contact you.

All our conservation grazing contacts are included in our Contractors list under ‘Stock for Grazing’.

Alpacas for Sale

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Jan 092015

Willow Farm AlpacasJanParkerAlpaca

MMG member Jan Parker has a pair of solid white, male alpacas for sale (in the picture)

They are BAS registered, 18 months old, with quality genetics

Fully vaccinated and wormed

Anyone interested please contact Jan on 01600 772891

Local Wildlife Sites – Landowner Morning 30 November

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Oct 302014
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary seen at Silent Valley Reserve 16 June 2014: Jon Dunkelman

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary seen at Silent Valley Reserve 16 June 2014: Jon Dunkelman

Following their enjoyable day in October when owners of Local Wildlife Sites met at Llanishen to share stories and enjoy a fungi walk in New Grove Meadows, GWT are hosting another event on Sunday 30 November in their beautiful Silent Valley Reserve.  Although it’s largely aimed at Local Wildlife Site owners, other members of MMG are welcome to attend, but GWT would appreciate advance notice.

There will be a guided walk looking at some of the land management issues on site.  The event will begin from the car-park at the reserve, Cendl Terrace, Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent at 10am and will run till approximately mid-day.

The event is free but numbers are limited; if you would like to attend (or have more details) please contact Andy Karran at GWT by the 31st October 2014 on or 01600 740600.

Location and reserve information on the GWT website

Habitat Management Toolkits from Gwent Wildlife Trust

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Oct 192014

Gwent Wildlife TrustGWT have produced a series of useful publications on habitat management, as part of the Local Wildlife Sites in SE Wales project.  These are available to download from the GWT web site as pdf’s (see below) or you can get hold of resilient printed copies at their Local Wildlife Site Owners Days.  There are 14 in total covering a range of habitat issues including managing different types of grassland, hedgerows, marshes, ponds and specific problems such as scrub and bracken control and unwanted invasive species.

Download the toolkits from (scroll down the page to the Downloads section)