Work Season 2019/20 A Flying Start

Royal Welsh Show Summer 2019

After a busy Summer with Trustees Kath & Jayne attending and co hosting Llais y Goedwig’s community woodland network for Wales stand at the Royal Welsh Show on behalf of CWT and after successfully gaining funding for works and promotion of our Woodland our new season now begins.

We have lots to do this season with a heavy schedule ahead now we have funding to dredge the pond and survey its contents. This task hasn’t been done for many years, not since our management plan was produced so now’s the time to review and update our monitoring.

We also have a lot of tree planting to do so if you are looking for a productive Sunday activity feel free to join our group of volunteers. Jokes about ‘Tree Huggers’ aside there is a lot to be said for putting on a pair of wellies and getting away from it all getting back to nature breathing healthy gulps of really fresh air into our lungs.

Much of the wildlife within our woodland now relies on active management to provide a mix of different habitats, from piles of dead wood which can help beetles and fungi to open glades which help butterflies

Some areas are managed by coppicing and maintaining open areas, some areas are left to go wild. Often this work is mimicking natural processes like wind and storm damage or grazing by larger animals like deer that would have once lived in our woodlands. Without some form of management our woodlands will become dark, over-shaded and dominated by big mature trees without any variation in structure, age or cover. Ultimately this reduces the amount of wildlife that can live in them so we aim for a mix of habitats in our woodland.

Caerphilly Woodlands Trust Wins Green Flag Award 3rd Year Running

We are thrilled to announce that for the third year running Coed y Werin has been successful in achieving the Green Flag status.  This is a great accolade to the Trust and proof that the hard work and determination, often in all weathers, by Trustees and Volunteers has paid off in once again achieving this award

The land (23 acres) was saved from being developed as landfill by the local community who in 2002 got together to purchase it with a grant from the Local Authority. The Charity ‘Caerphilly Woodlands Trust’ was set up where Trustees were appointed and a strategic management plan, with the help from ecology and geology specialists, was put in place.

Work soon began putting in routes for equestrian, cyclist and disabled access as well as the rebuilding of the once important historical feature, the brick bridge traversing the narrow gauge track. 

Over these past 17 years the dedicated team of trustees and volunteers have tirelessly continued their work with, from time to time, help from local youth groups, schools and businesses turning the woods, now known as ‘Coed y Werin’ the ‘People’s Woods’ into the tranquil wooded haven that it is today.  

Within Coed y Werin is an area that is a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the unique geology, dating back to the carboniferous period, some 350 million years. The rest of Coed y Werin is a Site of Important Nature Conservation (SINC) with an ancient woodland, dating back to 600AD.  We can confidently boast that over 80% of ancient woodland flowers can be found on our site.

“It goes without saying that if not for the help of Trustees and volunteers, we would not have achieved this prestigious award, a recognition of their hard work and dedication” 

said Avril – Chair,

Caerphilly Woodlands Trust

Over these past 17 years, guided by our management plan, we have gradually removed conifers and reintroduced indigenous broadleaf species of trees.  This work, opening up the tree canopy and forest floor, has provided greater creation of the natural biodiversity.

If you are interested in joining the Caerphilly Woodland Trust or helping out as a volunteer please contact us via our Facebook Page or through our contact information on our Webpage.

How much carbon can a tree absorb?

A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can capture 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.

The increase in greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere is considered to be one of the main causes of global warming. Trees and woodlands play an important role in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Trees remove air pollution, and this has health benefits to society that can be valued. Values vary due to levels of pollution, population density, and other factors but the net result is trees save society money.

Last season we planted over 500 tress in our woodland and this season we plan to plant more.

Woodlands improve the quality of our environment making us feel better and they are essential to life.

Wooded catchments help protect the quality of our drinking water supplies and can moderate flood events

Trees capture harmful pollutants in our atmosphere and improve our air quality, especially in and around towns and cities

Tree canopies provide shade, shelter and absorb sound.

Soils, animals and humans can be protected from the extremes our weather and climate throw at us

Woodlands help to stabilise soils, reducing erosion and slips.

They can protect against pollution by providing a buffer between source and receptor, or help the recovery of contaminated land

Trees need pollination too and woodlands offer a rich habitat for our wild pollinators. The most familiar feature of the oak is its fruit, the acorn. Oak trees pollinate through a long cluster of flowers called catkins. Catkins develop before any leaves on the tree, giving the tree a greater chance for pollination.

Woodlands and their soils are important reserves of carbon

CWT Tree Charter Partners

We at Caerphilly Woodlands Trust are proud Tree Charter Partners and we had a great visit from Tree Charter programme delivery lead Sarah Shorley and communications officer Kirsten Manley. They came to confirm that we are meeting the principles of the Woodland Trust Tree Charter. They loved our Woodland so much what was only meant to be a short 15 minute visit turned out to be a two hour walk and chat with our Trustees and volunteers. They were also thrilled to note over 80% of ancient woodland wildflowers were spotted in our woods.

The Charter for Trees, Woods and People sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together. The Tree Charter was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.

1. Thriving habitats for diverse species

Urban and rural landscapes should have a rich diversity of trees, hedges and woods to provide homes, food and safe routes for our native wildlife. We want to make sure future generations can enjoy the animals, birds, insects, plants and fungi that depend upon diverse habitats.

2. Planting for the future

As the population of the UK expands, we need more woods, street trees, hedges and individual trees across the landscape. We want all planting to be environmentally and economically sustainable with the future needs of local people and wildlife in mind.

3. Celebrating the cultural impact of trees

Trees, woods and forests have shaped who we are. They are woven into our art, literature, folklore, place names and traditions. It’s our responsibility to preserve and nurture this rich heritage for future generations.

4. A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK

We want forestry in the UK to be more visible, understood and supported so that it can achieve its huge potential and provide jobs, environmental benefits and economic opportunities for all. Careers in woodland management, arboriculture and the wood supply chain should be attractive choices and provide development opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses.

5. Better protection for important trees and woods

Ancient woodland covers just 2% of the UK and there are currently more than 700 individual woods under threat from planning applications because sufficient protection is not in place. We want stronger legal protection for trees and woods that have special cultural, scientific or historic significance to prevent the loss of precious and irreplaceable ecosystems and living monuments.

6. Enhancing new developments with trees

We want new residential areas and developments to be balanced with green infrastructure, making space for trees. Planning regulations should support the inclusion of trees as natural solutions to drainage, cooling, air quality and water purification. Long term management should also be considered from the beginning to allow trees to mature safely in urban spaces.

7. Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees

Having trees nearby leads to improved childhood fitness, and evidence shows that people living in areas with high levels of greenery are 40% less likely to be overweight or obese. We believe that spending time among trees should be promoted as an essential part of a healthy physical and mental lifestyle and a key element of healthcare delivery.

8. Access to trees for everyone

Everyone should have access to trees irrespective of age, economic status, ethnicity or disability. Communities can be brought together in enjoying, celebrating and caring for the trees and woods in their neighbourhoods. Schoolchildren should be introduced to trees for learning, play and future careers.

9. Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management .

Good management of our woods and trees is essential to ensure healthy habitats and economic sustainability. We believe that more woods should be taken into management and plans should be based upon evidence of threats and the latest projections of climate change. Ongoing research into the causes of threats and solutions should be better promoted.

10. Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees.

Trees and woods capture carbon, lower flood risk, and supply us with clean air, clean water, shade, shelter, recreation opportunities and homes for wildlife. We believe that the government must adopt policies and encourage new markets which reflect the value of these ecosystem services instead of taking them for granted.

Iolo Williams – Patron Caerphilly Woodlands Trust

Caerphilly Woodlands Trust was thrilled to announce last year that we have a Patron to champion our activity protecting our Woodlands and the rare species that live within it. Avril Owen – Chair of CWT and Kathryn Butcher – Secretary of CWT caught up with Iolo before he went off to film on BBC Springwatch.

Iolo Williams, Naturalist, TV presenter, conservationist, author and inspirational wildlife speaker is passionate about protecting and encouraging areas such as ours. He is thrilled with the great work we do here at the Trust. He believes our woodland is fantastic for wildlife and a valuable green space essential for the wellbeing for our children and our childrens children in years to come because these places are becoming fewer and fewer therefore they need to be treasured.

Check out a short clip where iolo talks about the importance and value in joining our trust.

Outdoor Learning Week Enchanted Woodland

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.

The Wishing Log

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.

Sustain landscapes rich in wildlife

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.

Geology work session

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”

explained Ben

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.

At some 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.

Our New Patron – Iolo Williams

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”.

iolo williams

Naturalist, Author & TV presenter



Last day of term

Outdoor release

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”,

said Vernon

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.