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In Search of Birdsong, in Minwear Woods, with Richard Ellis. 13th May 2021

Thirteen members of PNTA joined Richard Ellis, former Head Warden for Pembrokeshire National Trust and wildlife enthusiast, for a gentle stroll in Minwear Woods. Richard coaxed us to listen out for the variety of birdsong.

Here are Richard’s notes on the findings:-

“We gathered at the picnic site in Minwear Wood. Plenty of birdsong greeted us: mistle thrush, song thrush, blackbird, robin and blackcap were all in good voice where we were parked. Chiffchaff and willow warbler – similar species told apart by their songs – sang in the young coppice woodland along the road, the monotonous “chiff-chaff” of the former, and the liquid cascade of the latter. Great tit, wren, woodpigeon and nuthatch sang or called from the wood, raven and long-tailed tit flew over. We then walked up into the tall beech woodland on the south side of the road, and after a few hundred yards found the bird we were looking for – a wood warbler, who put on a fine performance for us near the track. This specialist of beech and western oak woodland, with not many sites in Pembrokeshire, sings and feeds in the canopy, the two elements of his song being a shivering trill and a ringing “pew pew pew”. Further along a surprise bonus – two spotted flycatchers feeding high up. Not everyone saw these, but nice to know they were there. Back to the road and into the woodland on the north side, and another wood warbler. We walked further west and down past the limekiln to the shore, where we added to our total with shelduck, a pair of Canada geese, buzzard, lesser black-backed gull and mallard. Back through the wood and up the steps to the road, clocking up yet another wood warbler and a great spotted woodpecker. We saw or heard around 25 species in all.”

Our grateful thanks to Richard for leading the walk and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm. Thanks also to Pat Morgan for arranging the event.

A wood warbler in Minwear Woods. Photo by Richard Ellis.

Summer walks and Talks

A booking system remains in place. The maximum number of members who will be able to attend each walk has been set at 20 and because of this they will be strictly for members only. When booking your place you will need to give your name and a telephone contact number to enable pre or post walk contact if necessary. Your place will be confirmed. Please ensure you cancel if you subsequently find you are unable to attend. If you do not receive confirmation your name will be placed on a reserve list and should a cancellation occur you will be contacted. Members who turn up on the day without booking will not be able to join the walk. 

For those who have not been on our walks before they are not arduous and seek to inform as much as exercise us. You may like to bring a picnic chair and light refreshments to enjoy some time together after the walks. 

The booking contact for both walks
is :-Pat Morgan
Email themorganhouse@btinternet.com or Phone/text 07866242924 . 

Thursday June 17th 3pm to 4:30 pm(approx)
The Pembrokeshire Coalfield and the Amroth coal seams with Chris Evans . Chris ,a knowledgeable and enthusiastic geologist will lead a walk in the Amroth area.His walk will take us on a stroll along Amroth beach to the west side and include facts on the Amroth coal seams, the rocks of the western cliffs, their fossils and faults, and evidence associated with The Colby Estate. 

We will meet at the roadside car park opposite the Templebar and Smugglers Pubs/ restaurants at 3pm. Booking for this walk opens on Thursday June 10th. 

Thursday July 15th 7pm to 8:30pm(approx)
A visit to Stackpole Estate with Lead Ranger Haydn Garlick.
Haydn will lead us from Lodge Park Wood to the Belvedere where the new seat sponsored by the PNTA is being sited. Work has started on the seat so it may be in situ for us to see. We will return by walking through Castle Dock Wood.
We will meet at Lodge Park Wood car park at 7pm. Booking for this walk opens on Thursday July 8th. 

Please note the following guidance.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you must not attend the guided walk, When attending a guided walk you may wish to bring your own alcohol based hand sanitiser, face covering and basic first aid kit. Please always follow the Welsh Government’s guidelines on physical distancing. You are encouraged not to share food, drink or equipment such as walking poles. If you develop symptoms of possible Covid within 10 days of the walk, please let the organiser know, and arrange a Covid test. 

Visit to Picton Castle Gardens 

10:30am on Wednesday 30th June.

Roddy Milne, the head gardener at Picton Castle is willing to do a special tour for PNTA members about the renovation of the walled garden. 

Although many projects came to a grinding halt due to the Covid crisis, the renovation work made good progress.
All being well, the tour will start at the walled garden at The cost will be £6 for the tour per person, plus the cost of admission to the grounds for those who are not Picton season ticket holders, or RHS, Historic Houses or Art Fund members. Pay at the entrance hut. The grounds open at 10am, and it will take time to pay and stroll to the meeting place. 

Places would need to be booked in advance. We will need a minimum number of 10 to make it viable, and Picton would prefer a maximum of 16, to enable social distancing.
If the weather forecast is bad, there may need to be a last minute postponement, but a bit of rain won’t necessarily stop play. Following the tour, you will be free to explore the grounds. 

Maria’s cafe offers tasty food if you want to linger for lunch, or it is fine to bring a picnic. 

The advice about booking and attending is the same as for the walks, but please book with Andrew by contacting him on 

andrew.pnta@gmail.com or Andrew Weaver, Larks Rising, Kiln Park, Burton

Milford Haven SA73 1NY

Bookings are  being taken now.

Nature Walk with Richard Ellis : Marloes Mere to Deer Park. 1st October 2020.

Strolling towards Deer Park, with Skomer in view.

In the first PNTA activity since March 2020, a group of twelve gathered at Marloes, for a socially distanced stroll with Richard Ellis, former Head Warden for Pembrokeshire National Trust and wildlife enthusiast. Having seen numerous swallows flying over Marloes Mere, using it as a refuelling venue en route to Africa, we headed across the fields to join the coast path. There choughs made their appearance. Walking on to Deer Park we looked down on the beaches to see grey seal pups.

Thanks to Pat Morgan for organising the event. See below for her detailed account of the of the stroll and extra sightings.

Richard Ellis points towards the choughs.

“Mining the Colby Coalfield” – a talk by Steve Whitehead, NT Manager. 5th March 2020

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Steve Whitehead points out a capped mineshaft on a previous visit t Colby by PNTA.

With the benefits of many old maps and aerial photographs Steve Whitehead told the tale of Colby’s mining history and the scattering of mineshafts through the grounds that lead to an exit on Amroth Beach. The tough conditions for the miners, often children, were detailed.

Derek Brockway, in a recent TV programme ‘Weatherman Walking” featured volunteers at Colby with Steve, making areas of past mine workings visible, but safe.

To read Jim Price’s report on the talk click –>5 3 20 Talk Steve Whitehead on Colby Mining

 

“Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire – In the Footsteps of Richard Fenton” by Dr Robert Davies MBE. 6th February 2020.

Richard Fenton was born in 1747. Dr Davies described his  early years in St Davids, followed by education at Haverfordwest Grammar School and Oxford.

After a time in the legal profession in London, Richard Fenton was a circuit judge in Wales. An inheritance from his uncle enabled him to build a home in Lower Fishguard. He spent time on various tours of Pembrokeshire, usually on horseback. These he recorded in a book, and Dr Davies detailed some of these journeys, illustrated by some fine recent photographs of places visited.

For Jim Price’s more detailed report click —>Talk 06 02 20

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St Davids – the area of Richard Fenton’s early life.

 

 

“The Forgotten War” by David James

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David James with some of his books.

David is secretary of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society.

He talked about ships torpedoed off the Pembrokeshire coast in the final months of World War 1. A restored memorial at Angle Church has led to new links with Japan in recents years, both at ambassador and family level.

To see Jim Price’s more detailed report click –>Talk 02 01 20

Photo by Andrew Weaver
The new memorial at Angle Churchyard.

“Early Postal Services in Pembrokeshire” – a talk by Rev. Roger Antell. 5th Dec 19.

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Images courtesy of Rev. R.Antell.

This talk covered the evolution of Postal services from the 1600s to the middle of the 19th century, initially serving Government needs, then the well off, before the penny post made its use widespread. Pembrokeshire featured in the early postal service, as mail needed to get to Ireland, and Rev Antell showed maps of the evolving routes and photographs of envelopes with challenging limited address information.

To see Jim Price’s more detailed report on the presentation click –>Early Postal Services Talk 05 12 19

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18th Century postman.

PNTA Lunch on Saturday 9th November, at Wolfscastle Country Hotel, with guest speaker Chris Harding.

IMG_8185 Chris Harding tells nautical stories at PNTA lunch Nov 9th 2019 1200
Chris Harding tells nautical stories at the PNTA lunch

About 50 members and guests attended the lunch.

After the meal, Chris Harding entertained us with stories from his life at sea, rising through the ranks to become a Captain, in the Merchant Navy. His subsequent career was more local as a Pilot on the Milford Waterway.

A presentation was made to Arnold Williams, to say “thank you” for the many years he has served on PNTA committee, arranging many varied and entertaining talks in his valuable, long stint as Programme Secretary; a post that he has recently relinquished.

Jim Price was handed a badge and certificate to commemorate 20 years service on PNTA committee, having been there from the outset. His work as Vice Chairman, organiser of summer walks, and Newsletter compiler has been invaluable.

IMG_8322 Jim Price recieves his 20 yrs NT certificate 600
PNTA Chairman, Andrew Weaver congratulates and thanks Jim Price (on the right) for his 20 years and continuing service to the Association.

 

“Looking after our Special Landscapes and Seascapes” a talk by Edward Holdaway, on 7th October 2019.

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The coastal land near Stumble Head. Photo by Edward Holdaway.

Edward, who has previously worked for the National Trust, at Frensham Common, in Surrey, talked of the challenges that face National Parks.

He talked of the history, with USA declaring the first National Park at Yellowstone, in 1872.

He described the different structures across different countries. The UK is unusual in having so many private landowners within its National Parks.

To read Jim Price’s report on the presentation click –>Edward Holdaway Talk 07 11 19

 

“Natural Resources Wales and Nature Conservation Projects” – a talk by Paul Culyer. Saturday 12th October 2019.

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Ty Canol, National Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy of Paul Culyer.

Paul Culyer is the Senior Reserve Manager for NRW in Pembrokeshire.

After a brief description of the development and role of the Natural Resources Wales, he went on to look in more detail at the great variety of National Nature Reserves, across Pembrokeshire, and the integrated work with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the National Trust and RSPB.

Aerial photographs highlighted the challenges of establishing/ maintaining wildlife corridors in a county where the vast majority of land is managed primarily for agriculture.

For more detail please click on Jim Price’s summary of the talk –>Talk 121019 pdf