We kicked off Outdoor learning week 7th April with an Enchanted Woodland Open Day. With wonderful walks within our woodland the chance of spotting a fairy door to a magical wildflower fairy world was possible and perhaps a wish from the wishing log too.
A chance to expolre were a wildflower fairy might live matched to their own special door.
We have wildflower spotter sheet activity and a super leaf dial to see which leaf belongs to what tree.
The Woodland Trust (the national woodland charity) is giving away hundreds of thousands of trees over the next 2 years to schools, communities and woodland trusts like ours.
We were very fortunate to receive a free pack of 420 saplings, a mix of hawthrorn, hazel, rowan, oak, holly, blackthorn, elder, dogwood, crab apple and willow. After a stirling effort by our team of volunteers we’ve planted nearly all of them (1 or 2 more final sessions next week). Most planting has been along the main path by our dormouse area to replace the naturally decayed dead hedging.
When fully grown the hedging will provide safe corridors and food for the new and visiting wildlife on the site.
Sunday 10th Feb, our team cleared some small scrub and thick bramble away from an interesting geological feature at the far south-west corner of our site.
Our resident geologist, Ben Evans of the British Institute for Geological Conservation (BIGC), gave us an informed summary of the spot, an exposed part of the geological sequence that would be in the region of the Cefn Coed Marine band and the Lower Pentre Coal Seam. The geology here dips away at about 550 towards the north west and the centre of the Coalfield.
“The prominent hard yellow looking layer is in fact an ironstone band where ironstone nodules have grown together to form hard brick like layers, directly above and below there are typical coal measures mudstones, probably containing fossil plant remains”
Somewhere in this bank, if the algae and surrounding soil was removed, you would probably find the Cefn Coed Marine band itself, I would expect this to be a thin particularly dark layer of sediment that might contain fish scales or small shellfish. This marine band represents a time during the Carboniferous period where the coal swamp was flooded with salt water, either as a result of sea level rise or as a result of the coal swamp delta slumping subsiding.
Towards the top of the picture and to the right, just behind that little tree you can see harder rocks that might be silt stones or fine sandstones, which would have been deposited by streams or river systems that meandered through the coal swamp.
stage we’ll try and excavate a bit more of the top soil away to show more of
this exciting feature – as you may know, because of its unique geology our
woodlands has Site of Special Scientific Interest status.
We are delighted to announce that naturalist, broadcaster and author Iolo Williams has joined us as our Patron.
Iolo Williams is a Welsh naturalist, tv and radio broadcaster, public speaker and author who’s worked in conservation for over 30 years, from red kites to mountain gorillas and hen harriers to grizzly bears, he’s been fortunate enough to work with them all.
He is widely known as a popular member of Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch and presenting other tv series such as Wild Wales, Rugged Wales and Great Welsh Parks for BBC2 as well as being President of Wildlife Trusts Wales. Prior to this he spent 15 years working within the RSPB a true champion for wildlife and wild places.
“I am thrilled to have been asked to act as Patron to this wonderful Charity. This group of volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve this valuable woodland rescued from the threat of becoming landfill. They have been looking after this amazing space, Coed y Werin, since 2002 with little outside help other than a dedicated bunch of hard working, enthusiastic, visionary volunteers and it’s fantastic to see what they have achieved”.
Vernon, a woodlands trust volunteer and trustee, and his family took a relaxed walk along our woodlands paths on the last day of term.
“There’s no better way to release the energy of stir crazy youngsters and their parents than a meandering walk around our woodlands on a beautiful day, looking at the beautiful colours, in such a beautiful environment”,
Here are a few of the pictures taken that day.
I’m sure you’ll agree we have a little piece of heaven just here in our midst called Coed y Werin.
Today, in our work session, we planted new trees in our woodland around the heather banking.
We planted hazel, crab apple, hawthorn and dog rose.
But did you know that trees clean our air, purify our soil and are the nurturing home to rare species that live there. But there are also other tangible health benefits for being in the forests and woods too.
The scientifically proven benefits include boosted immune system, reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, increased ability to focus, accelerated recovery from surgery or illness, increased energy level and improved sleep are just some of the known benefits.
It’s also a place to recover the mind and soul, to contemplate and just sit a while.
Another successful working month where students from travel and tourism of Coleg y Cymoedd, Ystrad gave their all in clearing the area around the heather bank, cutting back bramble behind the lovely bench, tidying the hedgerows around the Long Pond, clearing silt from the streams and cutting back generally along the paths. The group found some great discoveries along the way which is always a joy and we hope to capture those in our gallery for our records. Far right a pink waxcap found just along the bridal path. right and below pictures of the group hard at work.
Ebb and Flow – Clearing the Silt for better flow. In nature ponds gradually silt up and need a little bit of management.
Every year we have to get to grips with it. Silt is primarily formed from the breakdown of dead plant leaves and similar material at the bottom of the pond
Clearing the bridal paths sensitively. Its important to make sure the vegetation does not encroach onto the route from the sides or above bearing in mind the difference clearances needed of different types of routed for users such as horse riders.
Don’t stay in the dark like a mushroom. We in Wales have a short timeframe to change the way we manage our land, otherwise the nature we rely on will crash.
Our economy, health and wellbeing all depend on a healthy natural environment, so we can’t afford to miss this opportunity.
Tell Welsh Government you want a new system that restores nature and benefits society, where people who work on the land, like our farmers, are incentivised to provide these benefits, or it just won’t happen.
What a great start to the working season with perfect weather to tackle the overgrowth and the challenges the summer months had mustered up for us.
Additional heathers were added to the ‘Guideling Bank’ in 2015 and we last tried to clear brambles and ferns about 18 months ago. We interfere as little as possible with nature but the heathers offer an attractive diverse flora to this area of the site.
Said Vernon – Trustee and active volunteer.
Heather is also called ‘Ling’. You can find it on heaths, moors and bogs, where its delicate, loosely arranged pink flowers attract all kinds of nectar-loving insects.
Abundant in woodlands with acidic or peat soils, it’s delicate pink flowers appear from August to October and are a contrast to the tough, wiry, sprawling stems they grow upon. Plants grow tightly packed together and can live for up to 40 years or more.
We also felled some trees that became unsafe during the odd weather we had this summer.
If you’d like to join us to help we are at Coed y Werin every Sunday morning between 10 and 12 (weather permitting) come and say hello!
Join us for an enchanted journey through our woods and learn a little about nature and it’s treasures.
On Sunday 26 August 2018 the Trust will be holding an open event aimed at encouraging children young and not so young to get outdoors and learn more about our Woodland and countryside, the natural seasons for our Woods and it’s inhabitants.
Our free event the ‘Enchanted Woods’ will take place in Coed y Werin and whilst children, accompanied by their parents, are searching for the fairies, elves and perhaps the odd dragon that live within the Woods, they’ll also be learning about our diverse native Woodland species that live amongst the wildflowers, fungi, fruits, seeds and most importantly nature’s intricate ever perpetuating cycle of life.
It’ll be an opportunity for young and not so young to find out how to get involved in volunteering and supporting this great Trust.