Category Archives: Newborough Forest

Perhaps it’s “too darn hot”…

The cattle and the ponies on Newborough Warren are definitely finding things a little too hot. And they have a Catch 22 situation: if they go under the trees for a bit of shade, the horse flies are ferocious.

galloway_on_warren

One of the belted Galloway cattle on Newborough Warren.

Young broadleaved trees, especially the willows, birches and sycamores are showing marked drought stress.

scorched_willow

A scorched young willow behind the dunes of Penrhos Beach

Signs have been put up around the forest warning of the extreme risk of it going on fire. Mostly people are heeding these, but there are always exceptions and there have been some small fires, which have, thankfully, been controlled and put out before over much damage is done.

fire_risk_warning_sign

NRW Extreme Fire Risk warning sign, Newborough Forest

Over on the mainland things are worse, the smoke from the wildfire by Carmel, near Caernarfon, was clearly visible from Llanddwyn Beach this morning.

carmel_fire

Smoke from the gorse/mountain wildfire by Carmel seen from Llanddwyn Beach this morning.

There seems to be no rain likely in the near future. Things are going to get tougher. It seems churlish to wish this weather to end, but I do!

Advertisements

A swarm in June

It was a treat to see this swarm of bees on the edge of the forest this morning. They were resting on a small willow tree. The weight of the swarm was so great it had pulled the branch right down so it almost touched the ground.

beeswarm2

A swarm of honey bees on the edge of Newborough Forest

Trialling treelessness…

Towards the end of last year, Natural Resources Wales gave notice that they planned to fell a four hectare block of the forest in order to establish an area in which to conduct “hydrological monitoring”. Off and on through the winter that clearfelling and site “preparation” work has been ongoing. The major works have now finished, the machines have left and the site has been fenced off…

Newboroughclearfell3_042018

The area clearfelled on the edge of the forest for hydrological monitoring.

newborough_trial_sign

NRW information sign for the hydrology trial site

The management of the forest is always a controversial issue and this trial is no exception…

The plan is for the area to be grazed: clearly that can’t happen for a while as the surface has been scraped and raked clear of all the vegetation that was there.  That is why the smart new fencing has been put around the area (to contain the future grazing animals), even though the forest is a designated open access area…

And then, in four years time, the area may or may not be planted with some scrubby/shrubby trees like rowans, hawthorns, hazels and birches.

clearfell2042018

Newborough Forest clearfell coupe April 2018

A sign of irony?

Over the winter, new signs have sprung up along the Bike Quest trail at Newborough Forest.

NewboroughForestUnderAttacksign

The subheading of the sign is “our forests are under attack”…

This one is particularly ironic given that the main threat to Newborough Forest is probably Natural Resources Wales themselves.

The overblown tone of this sign is in keeping with the others. The previous one says “beware the bloodsuckers” and is about the medicinal leeches that are common in the forest’s ponds: it’s not really the kind of language that will help make people feel fondly towards the forest and its wildlife.

Orienteering Event

As well as the main footpaths and tracks throughout Newborough Forest, there are a lot of smaller orienteering routes waymarked. These trails take you into some of the nicest and less visited parts of the forest. On the weekend of 22nd and 23rd October 2016, there is going to be an open orienteering competition on these routes. See the poster below for more information:

1210orienteeringeventoct2016 021b.jpg

A tiny taste of the forest’s past

When Newborough Forest was first being established, it was renowned for the diversity of species included in the planting mix.

The recent diversion of the Commonweath Run trail now takes you through an area where fragments remain of the labels used to identify trial plantings of pines from different native origins.

 

old provenance label_s

An old label in a Pinus contorta trial area – this one from British Colombia

old provenance label2s

Another old lodgepole pine trial label – this one from Oregon

Sadly, they are only fragments – most of the marker posts no longer have labels – but it is a lovely reminder of a happier time for forestry in Wales.

seathruthetrees5s

One of the dwindling areas of shoreline pines

 

Sylvia’s bench

Sylvia was a Shiba Inu dog who became lost and then sadly drowned off Newborough Beach in January 2015.

In memory of Sylvia

In a gesture of gratitude to the local people who helped search for Sylvia, and as a lasting memorial to the little dog, her owner commissioned a new bench.

1505sylviasbench 004
The bench is now in place at the edge of the forest looking across the warren, to the mountains and the big forever beyond.

Sylvia's bench and the view across the warren to the mountains beyond

Sylvia’s bench and the view across the warren to the mountains beyond

You will find the bench about halfway along the path that leads from the Marram Grass car park (Llyn Rhos Ddu) to the edge of the forest and down to the sea.