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Plenty of fun at Cardigan Castle

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Host of event to look forward to: Cardigan Castle

Host of event to look forward to: Cardigan Castle

THERE’S something for everyone in a packed line up of events at Cardigan Castle this summer, as Theatr Mwldan announced the crowd-pleasing Three Welsh Tenors supported by popular local choir, Ar Ol Tri will be headlining an open air concert at the castle on July 9.

The is the first of three open air concert performances organised by Theatr Mwldan during the summer – details of another two will be released later this month along with other open air performances.

The castle’s own community events group is also organising special evenings with Welsh group Bandana performing on Barley Saturday and popular comic, ‘The Welsh Whisperer’ doing a turn in the pavilion on May 28. The castle is also continuing its close association with Gwyl Fawr Aberteifi with the proclamation of the town eisteddfod being held in the castle on June 25.

Children will have lots to do at the castle kicking off with an Easter Egg hunt in the castle grounds on Easter Saturday , there will be free entry for children that day, with just a £2 fee to enter the hunt and claim a chocolate egg prize.

Castle staff will also be running weekly children’s craft workshops during the school holidays where kid can make their own dragons as well as knight and princess puppets. Again it will be free entry for children on craft days with just £2 fee for the workshops – booking is essential.

A pottery workshop is also being held on March 31 (only three spaces left!).

Former royal harpist Claire Jones is running a harp school on site at the beginning of April culminating in an afternoon harp concert on April 8. The castle’s harp classes will also be repeating their popular end of term concert on May 21.

Prospective brides and grooms can take a look at the castle’s wedding offer with a free wedding event at the castle on April 17 (noon to 6pm) and there will be a castle wedding fair (again free entry) complete with scores of stalls on Sunday, September 25.

The castle’s first medieval day since re-opening will be held on Sunday, June 19, with free entry all day plus lots of craft stalls, puppet shows from Small World Theatre, plus medieval fun and games.

For the more daring, Cardigan Bay Active outdoor activities company are staging an abseil down the castle walls during the River and Food Festival Weekend, August 6-7. The event is part of Visit Wales Year of Adventure. Cost is just £10 per person including castle entry. Booking is essential.

Historic literary fans will enjoy a talk by renowned author Elizabeth Chadwick who will be giving a talk on the medieval personalities – including ones connected to the castle – who have influenced her work on May 27 in the pavilion at 7pm.

In the autumn, there are plans for a three day Welsh literary festival, more ghostly Halloween tours and a two-day Christmas Fair on December 10/11.

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Communities in Carmarthenshire invited to inform next steps to shape Commemorative Woodland

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COMMUNITIES surrounding the Tywi valley in Carmarthenshire, are being invited by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to inform the next steps in shaping the design for the commemorative woodland at Brownhill.

NRW has today (23 June) launched a second consultation to seek people’s feedback on how they will achieve the proposed objectives for the site.

The next round follows on from the feedback received from the first round of public consultation which ran from 1 March – 26 April earlier this year.

Having listened to the responses from first round of public consultation, NRW has set out a proposal for the site. This includes three distinct areas that will prioritise different objectives: a conservation space for wildlife to flourish, a woodland space for commemoration that is fully accessible, and a growing space to deliver sustainable opportunities for food, trees, and nature.

The new woodland will form part of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, which is managed by NRW on behalf of Welsh Government and the National Forest for Wales.

Residents will also have an opportunity to join staff from NRW at a drop in event 14 of July at Llansadwrn reading room, in Carmarthenshire, to share their feedback.

Miriam Jones-Walters, Specialist Advisor Land Stewardship at Natural Resources Wales said: “We were pleased to be able to engage with so many residents through our initial on-line consultation and community drop-in session at Llangadog in March earlier this year, and have the opportunity to listen to people’s views and ideas on the proposals for Brownhill. 

“It’s crucial for us to provide people living and working in this area with every opportunity to share their views on plans for this site. We have already received some fantastic suggestions about what people would like to see from the site. As a result we have been able to divide it into three main areas, setting out objectives for each.

“We think this is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership (with, for example, a community group, a young farmer or someone else) to test out and demonstrate land use proposals to tackle the climate and nature emergencies,  integrated with productive agriculture.”

“We’re keen to hear people’s feedback on the objectives and would encourage people to come along on the 14 July and talk to us, or take part in our online consultation and have their say.”

The consultation opens on 23 June and closes on 28 July. 

The community drop-in event will be held 12:00 – 7:00pm  on 14 of July at Llansadwrn reading room, SA19 8HH in Carmarthenshire. 

To find out more about the plans for the woodland and have your say please visit:

Commemorative woodland at Brownhill – next phase of consultation – Natural Resources Wales Citizen Space – Citizen Space (cyfoethnaturiol.cymru)

Alternatively, residents can call 0300 065 3000 to request a hard copy of the consultation.

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Ceredigion man runs Cardiff half marathon as thank you to Wales Air Ambulance

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A CEREDIGION man has raised just under £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance as a thank you after its crews flew to the aid of him and his brother-in-law following an accident in 2014.

Jason Jarrams from Llwyncelyn was involved in a road traffic collision outside Llanarth, which resulted in him and his brother-in-law Jordan Wilson, being cut out of the wreckage.

Two air ambulances were sent to the scene and both patients were treated by the Wales Air Ambulance medics. Jordan was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff due to his head injuries and Jason went to hospital via a road ambulance. It is believed that Jordan was the first Wales Air Ambulance patient to receive a general anaesthetic at the roadside.

As a thank you – Jason, 34, set himself the huge challenge of running the Cardiff Half Marathon for the lifesaving Charity, whilst also trying to lose weight.

Jason, who now lives in Llangeler said: “I’ve run the Cardiff half for the air ambulance because unfortunately their services were required when we had two of their amazing choppers loaded with the best crews there are at our road traffic collision. My brother-in-law required extensive medical care at the roadside with slipped discs in his back, broken ribs, broken eye socket and with loads of cuts and bruises. I suffered with a broken fibula and tibia which required surgery to correct and two broken ribs on the sternum.”

Jason spent 11 days in hospital and Jordan was discharged after four days, Jason said: “Jordan was flown to the University Hospital of Wales due to his head injuries, it took less than half an hour to get there by air ambulance which to me is hard to get my head around.

“This service in Wales is absolutely critical to access remote areas and the speed in which the patient can get to the required specialist hospital is critical. Every second counts and I’m glad to say we can count on Wales Air Ambulance.” 

After the accident Jason lost an incredible six stone and then set his eyes on completing the virtual Cardiff half marathon, which he did in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

He added: “I had two friends run it with me and I set a very respectable time and found it fairly easy. The other two who took part with me are not much short of athletes with one just retired from rugby and the other training to swim the Chanel this year for charity, I kept up well and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Jason is grateful to everyone who contributed to his fundraiser or supported him with his training or during the virtual Cardiff half Marathon and the recent Cardiff half marathon. He ran the last race by himself.

The utilities operator said: “The support I’ve had from everyone has been nothing shy of incredible, my amazing other half has been with me all the way fully supporting what I’m doing and listening to me rant about my bad runs. My family have been totally amazing with my mum, sister and my other half all coming to Cardiff for the event to watch me start and finish, they all said it was very emotional to see me finally complete the event that had been on my lips for over a year.” 

The Wales Air Ambulance celebrated its 21st anniversary on St David’s Day 2022. Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters flying and its RRV’s on the road.

Jason’s employer Volac facilitated £1,000 from a charity fund set up by the company’s founder he added: “I was totally taken aback by it and respect the company I work for doing this.”

Katie Macro, Campaigns Manager for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “It is always heartwarming when we hear stories of former patients who go on to fundraise for the Charity after they’ve experienced how essential our service is. A huge thank you to Jason for completing the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of our lifesaving Charity and to everyone, especially his employers, who have supported him in his fundraising and weight loss journey. Donations like this one will help us to continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most, whether that is by air or via our rapid response vehicles. Your support is much appreciated.”

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’.

The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

There’s still time to show your support to Jason by donating to his Just Giving page Jason Jarrams www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-jarrams

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Wildflower meadows and sustainable grasslands start to blossom at Aberglasney

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ABERGLASNEY has been working on an exciting rewilding project that has seen the Gardens move away from conventional amenity lawns in favour of sustainable grasslands and wild meadows. Visitors this summer will see for themselves the annual Wildflower meadow at its best. 

Turf grass is known to have little environmental and ecological benefit so the team of gardeners at Aberglasney have instead created meadowlands which are essential in supporting and maintaining healthy ecosystems. 

The project, which was started ten years ago, has led to the development of wildflower meadows, spring bulb meadows and evolution meadows in parts of the gardens where manicured lawns existed before. This has significantly reduced the amount of traditional mowing and strimming needed across the site.  

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said, “Individually, and in combination, the rewilded areas support a much greater level of biodiversity than traditional amenity grass ever could. The most notable changes have been that honeybees and bumblebees are far more common and honey crop has improved. Mammals such as field mice and invertebrate pollinators are also spotted more frequently since wildflower species have recolonised in the grasslands.” 

The remarkable results of the project can be seen across the Gardens as a whole, but most notably in the following new areas:    

The Annual Meadow 

A more traditional-style meadow of annual British native wildflowers can be found at the top of the Gardens and produces wonderful displays from June to October. A natural seedbank has begun forming here after five years of growth and development, meaning that in time it will no longer require annual seeding. It is cut with a flail mower in autumn to remove organic matter and stimulate harvesting. Corn Chamomile, Corn cockle, annual Corn Flower, Corn marigold, Corn poppy and White Campion have colonised this meadow, along with local natives such as Ladies Smock.  

The Woodland Meadows  

Aberglasney’s woodlands comprise mainly oak and beech trees in an area that is quite open and sunny. The implementation of woodland pasture management promotes biodiversity in the woodland’s understory by flail mowing it in July and November without removing cuttings. Doing so reduces grasses, brambles and nettles, but encourages Celandine, Bluebell and Wood Anemone. Brambles and other taller plants are allowed to persist around the edges of the meadow to create a diversity of habitats.  

Long Grass Areas  

These were the standard amenity grass areas that are similar to those typically found in towns and roadsides. Pasture management has replaced regular strimming and mowing – which doesn’t allow plants to flower – so that grass can grow wild before it’s cut in July and, if possible, the process is repeated in November. Doing so creates the perfect conditions for Narcissus which have been planted in large drifts and are thriving in these areas. Pasture management has also been great for wildflowers since the removal of organic matter impoverishes the soil and creates a more favourable environment for them.  

The Evolution Meadow 

This is an interesting area that is a mini arboretum of Birch Magnolia and other cultivated trees. A different approach from conventional meadow management is taken here: the gardeners simply cut the grass once in October but don’t remove it. This procedure favours woodland plants such as Bluebells, which have already colonised the area very quickly. Over time, as the trees grow and shade the ground, the site will evolve into more of a woodland with new species arriving year on year.  

Spring Bulb Meadows 

Aberglasney’s Stream Garden was traditionally a combination of long grass with Snakes head fritillaries and amenity grass. Over time, traditional meadow management has been introduced, allowing the grass to grow wild and wildflowers and bulbs to set their seeds before it gets mowed in July and November. The result has been the successful establishment of Narcissus bulbicodium and Fritillaria meleagris – both of which are thriving. In addition to these treasures, separate drifts of Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia cuisickii have been introduced along with the more recent additions of Leucojum aesetivum ‘Gravetye Giant’. Wildflowers such as Ladies smock or Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) are also recolonising in this area and produce wonderful spring shows. 

Jim concluded, “The aim of this project has been to create sustainable grasslands and wildflower meadows without compromising visitor experience and the team are very happy with the results in all cases. The public have been supportive of what we’re doing and there seems to have been a positive change in opinion with people welcoming biodiversity areas, long grasses and wildflower meadows. We hope the work and results will inspire others to start rewilding their own gardens and green spaces.” 

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