Sep 052014

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our photography competition.  We have three age groups and here are the winning pictures from each.  Congratulations to the winners, who will be presented with their prizes at our Autumn Meeting on 8th October in Usk.

Click the images to enlarge them.

Holly's picture of orchids at our Crwys open day in June

Holly’s picture of orchids at our Crwys open day in June

Ten years and under

Holly Ayling

Holly, aged 7, took her picture of orchids at our Meadows Open Day at Crws on 8th June 2014.





Helen’s picture of a Small Copper taken on Abergavenny Castle Meadow

11 to 16 years

Helen Ackerman

Helen’s picture of a Small Copper butterfly on a grass stem was taken in Abergaenny Castle Meadows during a bioblitz on 17th May this year



Jon's picture of Ox-eye Daisies at New Grove meadows

Jon’s picture of Ox-eye Daisies at New Grove meadows


Jon Dunkelman

Jon’s picture of Ox-eye Daisies was taken in June at New Grove Meadows

Aug 152014



Wales Biodiversity Partnership is an umbrella group open to all organisations and individuals who have an interest in biodiversity and ecosystems conservation and enhancement.

This year’s conference will be in Cardiff on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th September, and it is entitled ‘Nature Recovery Planning in Wales – implementation approach to 2020’
The conference is free and individuals are welcome as well as people representing conservation groups. Booking closes on 3rd September and places are limited.

The Nature Recovery Plan for Wales (aka Biodiversity Strategy) is due to be launched at the conference.

For more information see their conference web site

Learn more about the partnership on their web site

Wildflower Seeds

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Jul 242014

PlantWildAt MMG we always advocate leaving your grassland to see what grows naturally, but often it does need a bit of help.  If you are going to plant seeds, please make sure they are of local provenance.  We can provide some Yellow Rattle seeds each year, and we hope to have some seed harvested by Gwent Wildlife Trust at all our stalls through the summer (see our Events page).

If you want to buy seeds that you know are local we suggest PlantWild in Herefordshire:  They collect seeds from around this area and will provide local seed for sowing this autumn.  This year they have harvested from Shirenewton and Maryland, including from some MMG members’ land. They also have an MG5 mix from South Herefordshire and an MG4* from Llandrindod as well as a little Welsh upland seed from last year, harvested near Abergavenny.

*MG5 and MG4 are classes of grassland under the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) system

  • MG5 – Unimproved neutral grassland, including traditional hay meadows
  • MG4 - Floodplain meadows.  These would have been found throughout Britain’s river valleys 100 years ago

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

Entries are now closed.  The winning picture can be seen here.

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.

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.