The annual Christmas tea party took place last December in the stunning setting, once again, of St Bride’s Castle, with the kind permission of the Holiday Property Bond. More than fifty people – Friends, their guests, and those staying at the castle, – gathered in the castle library. Christmas decorations and the beautiful tree all brought about a festive ambience, and the tea table groaned with delights and delicacies, provided by those who came. This event is the most popular Friends’ event throughout the year, and it gives members the opportunity to meet and catch up, as well as to enjoy the wonderful surroundings of the National Park at the start of the Christmas season.
For the first time, the beautiful, heated, indoor swimming pool was made available by the Holiday Property Bond for the Friends to use. Several were brave enough, despite the cold outside, to take full advantage of this unique opportunity, and after all that exercise, doubtless felt able to fill their plates at the tea party with clear consciences!
The annual Carol Service followed the tea party and was held, as usual, in the nearby, candlelit St. Bridget’s Church, beside the beautiful, sandy cove of St Bride’s Haven. John Potter, who played the organ, organised a series of readings and carols. Father Andrew Johnson, rector of St Bridget’s, presided, and welcomed everyone to his ancient and historic church, which was full. The singing was magnificent and the readings were delivered with clarity and confidence by members of the congregation. The generous retiring collection amounted to almost two hundred pounds for the church funds. Many thanks to all those involved with supplying the food for the tea party, and for taking part in the Service, making this event such a special part of the Christmas celebrations.
The response on behalf of the Friends supports the ambition to restore and regenerate Blackpool Mill and its immediate environment, but concludes that the impact on the wider landscape, and effects of associated traffic and transport, would adversely affect the quality and special character of the National Park. Read the full response here.
Consultations have been underway for some time about the future of the A487 at Newgale, as the natural movement of the shingle bank and the potential for increased flooding means that the existing road may become unviable. There is a great deal of information about options for rerouting the road, and for the future of Newgale village, on the Pembrokeshire County Council website – click here to open in a new window.
There is a consultation period on the latest plans running from 03/02/2017 to 20/03/2017 – click here for information on public meetings and the chance to have your say.
The work party kicked off the year with a hearty breakfast at Thirty Five café in Solva to mark their achievements in 2016 and to prepare for the new year ahead. They were joined by members of the Friends Executive Committee and National Park.
The work party undertakes tasks within the Park including repairing footpaths and structures, painting, litter picking and clearing vegetation. Highlights for 2016 included clearing gorse at Lydstep Haven, restoration of a Lime Kiln at East Hook, clearing coppiced woods, path repairs and meadow scything at Stackpole and clearing and rebuilding listed church walls at Llanwnda.
Alan Mason the work party leader said “The breakfast is a great opportunity for the group to meet up with wardens and leaders from the National Park and discuss projects for the year ahead. Already we have projects involving constructing a new footpath through woodland in Dale and are looking at assisting with the possible construction of a footbridge on the outskirts of Solva.”
Locations and dates were agreed with tasks over the next three months allocated at Dale, Stackpole, Aberhigian, Aberfforest and Garn Fawr. During the late Spring/Summer the group will turn their attention to tackling Himalayan Balsam in the Gwaun Valley with one Tuesday a month allocated to that task.
In 2016 the work party completed the equivalent of more than 300 person days improving and enhancing the park and are looking to better this in 2017. The group often works in idyllic locations and is always looking for new members to join.
The work party meets on Tuesdays, 10am – 3pm, and carries out conservation and enhancement work within the National Park. If you would like try out a session with the work party please use the contact form.