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Future Events

The newsletter which will be with you shortly, will give you more details of future events but here are some dates for your diary.

Thursday October 7th Southwood  Walk. Meet at Maidenhall car park for 10am. Grid reference SM 85786 20118. Bookings from September 30th with Pat Morgan. Give your name and contact number. Email themorganhouse@btinternet.com. or Phone/text 07866242924 .

Talk: Thursday November 4th 2.30pm in Crundale Village Hall.Our Speaker will be Ian Meopham National Park Ranger, who will talk about ‘Tourism- the benefits and challenges it brings” If you would like to book your seat, please contact Annie Weaver either by email.  annielweaver@gmail.com or by phone 07890756063.  There will be no charge for this talk.

AGM/Lunch. Thursday November 18th at the Wolfscastle Country Hotel. More details of the times and lunch menu etc will be in the newsletter.

Dates for future talks will be in the newsletter.

Evening walk and talk Thursday 15th July at Stackpole.

Haydn Garlick describes the smokehouse.

We met at Lodge Park Wood car park on a beautiful evening. Our walk leader was Haydn Garlick, Lead Ranger for Stackpole Estate. Haydn started his talk by explaining that the Lodge Park Wood was the nearest wood to Stackpole Mansion and was originally laid out as an Arboretum of predominantly Beech, Home Oak and Scots Pine trees within which were several paths and seating areas for the family and visitors to enjoy.
From the car park we made our way to the main drive of the mansion and stopped at The One Arched Bridge. There was a pond on one side, but this was being taken over by a large reed bed. The other side was completely overgrown. Haydn feels that a major regeneration programme is needed to reinstate the lake system originally designed by John Campbell who had also worked for other estates in Pembrokeshire e.g., Picton and Slebech.

Walking further along the drive we came to the road. Haydn pointed out that the hill straight ahead used to be the main road to Pembroke although nothing remains of it now. The first Deer Park was also in this vicinity.
We crossed the road and walked up what was quite a steep track known as the Army Path. Walking along members noticed several trees with large red painted dots on them. Haydn explained these trees have Ash Dieback Disease and will need to be taken down. A tree is identified as having the disease if it has 50% or less foliage, it is a fungal disease and Pembrokeshire is one of the worst areas for it. Approximately 500 trees need to be felled on the estate. Evidence of coppicing was also seen as we continued on through Castle Dock wood.
Reaching the top of the path we came to the Belvedere. The Cawdors had a tower built here and used to entertain guests to tea and it enabled them to show off their large estate. The view was spectacular looking across to the sea, Stackpole Village and several farms. This is where the seat sponsored by the PNTA to celebrate The National Trust’s 125 Anniversary will be placed. It is being made by Anthony Griffiths from Stackpole Village.
Starting our return journey through the woods we passed Hill Lodge, previously a gate lodge on the main drive, now privately owned. A short detour was made to the smoke house where fish from the estate were smoked. Haydn explained that The Cawdors used Stackpole as a shooting lodge while their main estate was in Scotland although at one time, they were also the largest landowners in Wales with a motto “Be Mindful”. Unfortunately, after the mansion was sold on, use by the American forces in WW 11 it fell into disrepair, and it was eventually demolished except for the stable block which has been converted into accommodation.
Continuing our return journey we came into Caroline Grove named after John Campbell’s wife who was Caroline Howard and had been brought up at Castle Howard.  We saw  a large arch and a grotto made from Karstic  weathered limestone with an unusual local name of”Babaluobie”. The last feature we came to was The Hidden Bridge. This acts as an over flow bridge for the lake system and if people are seen walking along it from The One Arched Bridge where we stopped at the start of our walk it appears they are walking on water !!
We arrived back at the car park where members thanked Haydn for a most interesting and enjoyable evening and wished him and his team well in continuing with the huge task they are undertaking for The National Trust.

Pat Morgan

Haydn points out features of the landscape. The memorial bench, soon to be put in place, will have a similar view.

A tour of the restored walled garden, at Picton, with Head Gardener, Roddy Milne. 30th June 2021.

Roddy Milne points out that the bulk of the south wall was stable, and only to top part required repair. At the foot of the wall the border has plants of South African origin.

Eleven members of PNTA were taken on a guided tour by Roddy Milne, Head Gardener at Picton Castle.

For twenty years there have been plans to restore the walled garden. After many written applications for funding sources, with ever changing criteria, Heritage Lottery Fund provided great support.

The pineapples on the entrance pillars are copies of the originals, but the aim overall was to avoid the structures appearing “new”.

Ecology has been respected. Creating holes in the walls has been rewarded by a pied flycatcher nest. In the yard beyond the fernery, where wilder areas were being reconstructed, reptiles were trapped and transferred to similar habitat elsewhere on the estate. Lizards need to be caught early in the day, before they have warmed up, otherwise they move too fast!

The present walled garden was always used for show and prestige. (Fruit and veg were grown in another walled garden, that is now outside the area controlled by the Picton Castle Trust.) The records of the plants grown rely heavily on flower competition certificates, featuring mainly chrysanthemums.

Now visitor numbers to Picton are increasing, enabling the appointment of more staff to the gardening team. The work of 6-8 volunteers on one day a week remains invaluable.

Some beds remain the same, particularly the rose borders, where the bushes have been carefully chosen for their ability to cope with the Pembrokeshire climate.

Other themed borders have been newly planted. The Mediterranean section had a five inch layer of sand spread across the surface, then dug in, to give excellent drainage.

On the outer side of the southern wall, a South African border has been created, featuring 30 varieties of agapanthus, in addition to red hot pokers et al.

Herbs have been moved to an area beyond northern wall, near the fernery. This zone has not yet been opened to visitors, but it will be used for education, with teaching rooms and information displays.  The restored green house has an aluminium frame on a brick base, with excellent ventilation to avoid excessive temperatures.

Roddy was thanked for giving such an informative tour, and members were then free to enjoy lunch at Maria’s and explore more of the castle grounds.

Report by Andrew Weaver

Beyond the fernery is the future education zone. Rooms on the left provide teaching space. Herbs are displayed in the raised beds, near the restored greenhouse.
The borders at the centre of the walled garden remain little changed. Here astrantia give colour. In the distance you may just make out one of the pineapples on the entrance pillars.

Geology Walk at Amroth beach, with Chris Evans. 17th June 2021.

Chris Evans, astride the limestone pavement, points out the marker beds and the iron nodules on Amroth beach. Photo by Andrew Weaver.

This walk proved very popular, and was fully booked within 24 hours.

PNTA members were treated on a sunny day to a short walk across Amroth beach that allowed us to see many geological features, within a short distance. These were highlighted and clearly explained by our walk leader, Chris Evans, a retired teacher and volunteer at Colby NT.

Coal seams, sunken forest, limestone pavements and iron deposits were seen, with rock faults and folds explained. The band of the marker bed, which occurs across the world, was visible in the cliff and at our feet. (See photos.)

The lighter band of the marker bed can be seen in the lower part of the Amroth cliff. Photo by Chris Evans.
Freshwater bivalve shell marker bed. Photo by Chris Evans.

Chris Evans has kindly written a more detailed report on the walks that can be seen by clicking below.

Our thanks to Pat Morgan for organising the walk and to Chris Evans for sharing his knowledge, with clarity.

The Kilgetty Vein or coal seam. Photo by Chris Evans.
Two iron nodule boulders. Photo by Chris Evans.
Chris Evans points out a tree stump in the sunken forest. Photo by Andrew Weaver

This post is by Andrew Weaver.

PNTA donation to Pembrokeshire National Trust – 16th June 2021

Andrew Weaver, Chairman of PNTA, makes a socially distanced handover of a cheque to Rhian Sula, Leader for the Visitor Team for Pembrokeshire National Trust. Photo by Annie Weaver.

Funds raised from Pembrokeshire National Trust events, before Coronavirus restrictions, enabled a donation of £2500 to Pembrokeshire National Trust.

The funds will be used as follows.

 At Stackpole, a bench to commemorate 125 years of the National Trust will be constructed. An extra picnic bench will be provided for Stackpole Quay. Tenby Tudor Merchant’s House will have a flame effect fire basket for the kitchen. At Colby Woodland Gardens the money will be used to buy backpacks. When filled with equipment and information sheets the packs can be loaned out to help younger visitors find out more about trees, while visiting the estate.

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

Visit to Bishop’s Palace, St Davids

Monday 13th September : A member of CADW staff will lead a tour. Entrance fee of £4:00 to be paid on the day.

Contact Andrew (details as above.)

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

IMG_6813 Steve Whitehead shows us a capped mineshaft at Colby 800
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

IMG_6222 St Davids Cathedral by ajw 900
St Davids – the area of Richard Fenton’s early life.