2018 Open Meadows

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May 142018

Open Meadow 2017 at Llanllowell House

Instead of holding a one-day event, this year we are planning afternoon and evening Open Meadows, to which MMG members and supporters, their family and friends are invited. As always, we are very grateful to our hosts who allow us to come on to their land to enjoy the results of their hard work.

The first is on the afternoon of Saturday 9th June at Blaentrothy Farm, Grosmont, NP7 8HN. This extensive site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), owned by MMG members Ruaridh and Caroline MacDonald. Meet at 2.30pm for a walk in the meadows, which will be open until 5pm.

Cathy Clarke, a regular visitor to Blaentrothy Meadows, has made a short film about the history of the SSSI which can be viewed at on YouTube here.

On the evening of Friday 29th June, Sheelagh Kerry and Peter Smith will be welcoming people at their home at Ty Major, Forest Coal Pit, near Abergavenny, from 4.30pm.  There will be a flower walk, tea and cake.


Download Directions to Blaentrothy Farm (pdf)

Download Directions to Ty Major (pdf)

Spring 2018 Newsletter

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Apr 072018

Our latest newsletter is available to download here.  It includes our latest news, upcoming events and articles including:

    • An update from our chair, Steph Tyler, on recent activities
    • Our Spring Social and plans for Open Meadows this year
    • Meadow Butterflies: A Personal View by Dr Rupert Perkins
    • How Old is Your Meadow?
    • Managing Trellech Wet Meadow
    • Monmouthshire Botany Group
    • Dates for your Diary: activities of interest this spring and summer

We welcome items for inclusion in our newsletters, especially pictures of your First Sightings, and longer pieces of interest to our members.  Contributions should be sent to Marilyn Dunkelman, who can be contacted via our online form

Spring 2018 AGM and Social

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Mar 132018

Wednesday 25th April, 7pm at Llanishen Village Hall

Our Annual General Meeting and Spring Social is once again at Llanishen, and will be the usual great opportunity to meet fellow meadow enthusiasts and catch up on MMG activities.

This year our speaker is Colin Cheesman, Programme Director of Plantlife Cymru, the Welsh section of the national plant charity.  Colin will talk on the work of Plantlife in Wales, particularly concentrating on grasslands, and will show a short film by Trevor Dines, Plantlife’s Botanical Specialist, on creating a meadow

As usual there will be a buffet supper after the talk.


Llanishen Village Hall is situated on Church Road East in the village of Lanishen, just off the B4293 between Chepstow and Monmouth, post code NP16 6QE.  There is a map on the hall’s web site www.llanishenhall.org.uk


Please book in advance as we need to know how many people to cater for.  You can book online (form below) or contact  Marilyn Dunkelman, 01600 860031 or by email using our Contact Us form.

You can send payment by cheque, made payable to Monmouthshire Meadows Group, to Marilyn at The Beeches, The Narth, Monmouth NP25 4QL.  If you prefer to pay using Internet banking we’ll send details of our account when we receive your booking.

Please contact one of the committee if you need to arrange a lift.

Booking Form
  • Wednesday 25th April Llanishen Village Hall
  • Costs include refreshments and a glass of wine or you can come to the meeting only
    Members: £14.00 each
    Non-members: £17.00 each
    Meeting only: £2.00 non-members (members free)
    For internet banking please use the reference 'AGM2018' - bank details will be sent to you
  •   Bank Transfer (details will be sent by email)

Local Wildlife Site Landowners Morning 18th February

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Jan 212018

All MMG members are invited to a morning of talks and informal wildlife discussion for Local Wildlife Site owners at Llanishen Village Hall, Sunday 18th February 2018, 9.30am – 13.00pm, organised by Gwent Wildlife Trust

If you would like to attend please let Andy Karran know as soon as possible – e-mail akarran@gwentwildlife.org or call 01600 740600

The programme

9.30-10.00am Arrival and tea/coffee

10.00am Welcome/Introduction: Andy Karran – Wildlife Sites Officer – GWT.  A brief talk about the current survey work updating Local Wildlife Site grassland surveys and our plans for the future. Also a look at today’s programme. Continue reading »

Autumn 2017 Newsletter

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Oct 172017

Our latest newsletter is available to download here.  It includes our latest news, upcoming events and articles including:

  • An update from our chair, Steph Tyler, on recent activities
  • Details of our new book Grassland Fungi: A Field Guide
  • A school visit to Trellech Wet Meadow
  • An article by bee recorder Roger Ruston on bees in Monmouthshire’s meadows
  • An update on the Long Forest Project
  • Wake-up Call, an article by Ray Armstrong on the state of nature in our area
  • Pictures of our summer events and news of upcoming events

We welcome items for inclusion in our newsletters, especially pictures of your First Sightings, and longer pieces of interest to our members.  Contributions should be sent to Marilyn Dunkelman, who can be contacted via our online form

Grassland Fungi: A Field Guide

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Oct 082017

Now available from NHBS

Published in October 2017 by Monmouthshire Meadows Group and compiled by Elsa Wood and Jon Dunkelman, this field guide is the result of 2½ years surveying grassland sites in the Lower Wye Valley.  Elsa and Jon were accompanied by photographers Malcolm Schuyl and Keith Moseley and assisted by production editor Marilyn Dunkelman.  Cover design is by Gemma Wood, and the book was printed in Bristol by Whitehall Printing Company.

It contains descriptions of 177 species of fungi, with over 800 photographs, selected to illustrate the key identification points. There is an overview of the process of identifying fungi in the field, and while technical terms are kept to a minimum, those used are explained in the glossary. The format is A5, 336 pages.

The book can be purchased from the distributors NHBS using this link www.nhbs.com for a retail price of £19.99.  It will be available for sale to members at a special price at MMG events.

Sample pages (click image for larger view)

MMG would like to thank the funders who have made the publication possible: New Grove Trust; Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust; the Sustainable Development Fund, a Welsh Government initiative in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); and members of the meadows groups in the Lower Wye Valley who have made personal donations.   We are also grateful to all the landowners who gave us access to their land for the survey.

Autumn Get-together, Tuesday 31 October

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Sep 032017

Common Blue (Jon Dunkelman)

This year’s Autumn Social will be at the Centenary Hall in Usk on Tuesday 31st October, starting at 7pm.

The evening will feature a talk from Dr Rupert Perkins of Cardiff University on meadow butterflies, followed by a buffet supper.

Dr Perkins is a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and outside work he has a passion for butterflies and moths and is an excellent photographer.  His talk will feature a comparison of meadow butterflies in the UK and Spain. Continue reading »

Monmouthshire Open Meadows 18 June 2017

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Apr 272017

GWT Reserve at Springdale Farm, April 2017

This year we are working with Gwent Wildlife Trust to give people the opportunity to walk around some of the county’s most beautiful meadows and to get a feel for how the Monmouthshire landscape would have looked before intensive farming methods were adopted.

Download the leaflet

Four meadows are open on Sunday 18th June where there will be hosts to point out the paths and help identify species. Continue reading »

Gardens in the Wild, 24/25 June

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Apr 272017

Gardens in the Wild is an annual garden festival and this year will be held at Whitfield Estate, Herefordshire HR2 0BA on 24/25 June.

There will be stalls, events, guided walks, delicious food and talks from a terrific line up of garden experts including Noel Kingsbury and Caroline Hanks who will share their expertise on meadows.
Seven very special local gardens will be opening exclusively for the festival in the afternoons. A weekend Rover ticket gives access to all the gardens.

Visitors will also be free to explore the gardens and parkland of Whitfield during the weekend and there will be supper and music in the barn on the Saturday evening.

Full details on their web site www.gardensinthewild.org

Biodiversity Day at Llanllywel (Usk) Sunday 7 May

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Apr 272017

Usk Civic Society is organising a Biodiversity Day to raise funds for the Alfred Russel Wallace Memorial.  The event starts at 12 noon at Llanllywel House.  There will be walks in the wildflower meadow, the woodland and hillside.  Bring a picnic, stout shoes and anorak. Tea, coffee, water and soft drinks will be available.  There will be activities including butter making, outdoor cooking, clay modelling and more.

It is free to enter and visitors will be asked to make cash donations to the fund (as these can be gift-aided).  Monmouthshire Meadows Group will have a stall and Gwent Wildlife Trust will also be there.  The house is next to their reserve at Springdale Farm.

Ty Llanllywel, Llanllowell Lane, NP15 1LL, (grid reference ST 404 992), on the left travelling west to east towards Springdale Farm.

For more information contact Stella Collard, 01291 673655