News

We have been busy for the last fortnight, and though we have twittered, facebooked and emailed I have not quite had time (due to personal reasons) for filling you in, but those on our mailing list will be au fait with what is going on.

Sunday 9th we had HB pulling.  Saturday 15th weeding around the hedge.  We will let you know via Twitter, Facebook and email if we are going to be HB pulling on the 23rd July.    Presumably we will be, as till the HB starts setting its seeds to be so ripe they start to pop when we pull, we will carry on.  Glad to say that the species of plants in the areas we clear are more varied than they were, from Campions to Mallows, Herb Robert to Foxgloves, to the more prickly species of the lovely thistle and the fruitful bramble which feeds and shelters all our littler species of birds and animals.

 

 

Dean Kirby a Northern Correspondent has written an article in the newspaper he works for on what austerity cuts have forced the Newcastle Upon Tyne to do in relation to local parks.  We cannot supply a link to this article and the copyright of this article belongs to Dean Kirby.

 

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Future Events

Himalayan Balsam Pulling on

Sunday 2nd July.  Keep an eye on the emails, Facebook page and Twitter as well as this web site..

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How fast it grows.

 

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Feedback to Events

We have pulled a few since then, one being the 25th June as mentioned in our News.

Himalayan Balsam Pulling 14th May 2017

We all enjoyed it.  A couple of new people joined us, but they were old hands since they had volunteered at Fforest Farm and Hailey Park.  One of our newest volunteers is doing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, so our best wishes go for the completion of that.

One of the piles of Himalayan Balsam we made.

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Himalayan Balsam Pulling 7th May 2017.

Went very well.  Enjoyed by all and they decided to do another pull 
on the 14th May

Himalayan Balsam Pulling 30th April.

Went very well. Loads of HB where we were pulling but we are making a difference, especially looking at what it was like when we started.    We are very fortunate in our volunteers, once they get the bug, most come back again and again.  So satisfying, social and keeps us fit.

Himalayan Balsam Pulling last Sunday 23rd April.

This didn't quite go to plan as we were hijacked first off to help out 
with the Bat Groups Wild Flower Meadows Project, but my trusty 
group of volunteers were happy to help tromp the seeds into the 
ground so they had more contact with it, and break up the hard soil a 
little bit more.  Then the group took some wild flowers out of their 
plant pots and dug those into the ground, then gave them a 
good watering.  Hopefully they will survive the lovely weather we've 
been having and thrive and provide a lovely sight to humans and a 
good source of insect food to Bats.  Personally I am on the side of the 
insects, but its a Bat eat Insect World.  
Very proud of our stalwart volunteers because after having a go at the 
wild flower meadow, they continued with the project they had gathered
 at the Secret Garden Café for, and went and pulled up Himalayan 
Balsam in order to  give other flowers a chance at thriving and feeding 
the bees, and preventing a monoculture developing which could end in 
disaster.  As I said I am very proud of our volunteers for their 
dedication and hard work. 
  

19th April.

Dawn Chorus heard and/or saw these:  May have missed a few but generally this was it:

Cormorant, heron, mute swan, mallard, goosander (loved the 3 males flying past), tawny owl, wood pigeon, feral rock dove, green woodpecker, greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, robin, treecreeper, jay, magpie, crow, jackdaw, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler, goldfinch, chaffinch, coal tit, blue tit, great tit, dipper, wren, goldcrest  =  33

(hedge sparrow)

15th April.  Spoilt for choice.  Mike’s History Walk and/or Otters at the Bridge.  Which one did you go for?

 

Saturday 1st April 11am met for a WOODLAND WANDER to observe the wild flowers popping up and to look for nesting birds.

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Conservation – Saturday 25 March

Dead hedged to save some of the ever widening path destroying the Blackweir Woods.  Ongoing project, so more helpers needed.

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Saturday 25th at 10:30 to plant the wild flower bulbs in Blackweir Woods.   Lovely job .  Well done.

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Saturday 18 Feb – Planted some more whips to continue the creation of our wild life hedge, and planted wild flower bulbs in the Hazel copse we coppiced before Christmas. This went really well and we had a couple of very good diggers of the hedging, and a few determined bulb planters, so that went really well.

 

Monday 23rd January   Removing epicormic growth (the suckers and shoots formed at the base of trees – especially limes).   This went very well.  There are some fabulous photos on the Facebook page.

CONSERVATION WORK Saturday, 14th January at 11am, Planted the native hedgerow whips near the ambulance station.  Keep an eye on our hedge as you go past, and see how it grows.  We all enjoyed ourselves and even dug up some modern archaeological finds.  2 to 3 inches below the surface we started seeing litter!  Presumably over time the mowing has buried these items under mown grass which has composted down into soil. We even uncovered a drain that was not on the maps. 

 

Saturday 26 November 12:00 – Conservation with the Rangers

A marvellous time was had by all.  Brief pit stop for mince pies and hot drinks, then we shouldered our tools and off we went to coppice some of the Hazels with Rangers Kevin and Jim.  Some of our hardy band sawed off the hazel trunks, while others crunched off the side shoots so that the gardeners could use the cut items for staking out plants. We might have a few of the hazels tied up into faggots and used to strengthen the river banks.   After sawing and clipping, we had a massive sort out of all the cut wood.  We piled up a load of branches in one corner as shelter for hedgehogs.  Well done also to those who sawed up some of the massive tree that had fallen down nearby.  Far too big to do in one go and most of it will be left there to provide food and shelter for nature.

 

Sunday 27 November 1am    Tree Walk led by Malcolm Frazer and Terry Davies.

This was a marvellous walk led by people who actually worked in the park and planted many of the trees we talked about.  Did you know the London Planes are not as old as you think?  At the most they will be 50 years old as  Malcolm Frazer and Terry Davies actually planted them!

Sat 15 October 11am         Glamorgan Fungus Group led a Fungus Walk.

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This went really well.  See some photos on our Gallery page.  Did you know that the park was full of hidden ecosystems?  Thanks to our Glamorgan Fungus Group friends for giving us a lovely walk through the Park and pointing out the hidden and the  unsuspected world of Fungi.

Last organised EVER, (for this year), Himalayan Balsam Event took place on the 28th August and the people involved did very well.  Well done!  We will start earlier next year, so if you see any peeping through in April/May that you think need to be pulled up quickly before the brambles and nettles grow, then please feel free to let us know.

 

Out of the Woods event on 20th August got a little damp.  A bit like last year, but thank you to everyone who went.

Tour of the Park walk went very well.

Himalayan Balsam pulling on the 28th August – thank you to all who turned up despite the confusion.  Very good job.

Himalayan Balsam pulling on the 21st August went great.  Really tackled some tough jobs.

Hamalayan Balsam Pulling on 14th August went very well.  All did a sterling job

Himalayan pulling on the 24th went well.  We did a very good job.

10th July .  Had a great time pulling the Balsam.  A lot of work got done.  Well done everyone.

 

 

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Well done to those who took part on the 26th June.  Did a really good job.  Also saw a Heron on the river and a Heron in the park by the feeder canal.  Also one of our Friends of Bute Park members spotted what we think was a pair of Scarlet Tiger Moths, but it has not been confirmed yet, but its amazing what you can find.

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Update Closure of Secret Garden Café

The Secret Garden Café  has re-opened and so the toilets are available thank goodness.  The new management have banned dogs from the café courtyard and tables near to the courtyard entrance, apparently due to inconsiderate dog owners washing their dogs paws in the toilets and leaving a mess, and also putting the dogs unhygenically upon the Counters and the table tops.  If anybody wishes to comment upon this, please contact Bute Parks own website.

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Friends Facebook Page

Unfortunately our Friends of Bute Park Facebook page has been hi-jacked by an unauthorised person. We therefore have had to abandon it and have created a new closed Facebook page called: Bute Park Friends Group. Please ask to join, as this is a closed group you cannot post or read posts until you have been accepted.

We apologise for the inconvenience but this has been out of our control. If you want to get in touch use our e-mail: friendsofbutepark@gmail.com

Jane Williams

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Previous Fungal Foray

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Last October or the year before, the Friends of Bute Park were treated to a fungal foray organised and led by members of the Glamorgan Fungus Group (see their Facebook page here). Looking forward to the next  walk this October 2016.

The attendees at that time received many useful tips, including how to differentiate between edible and poisonous mushrooms.

Here are some photographs of our finds at the time, but these represent only a few of the many. I have done my best to name the species but, if a mistake has been made, please do get in touch and corrections can be made.

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The Glamorgan Fungus Group were kind enough to send us a complete list of the species that we saw on the day, so if any of you are trying to identify a photo that you took- have a look at these:

Sycamore Tarspot Rhytisma acernium
Alder Tongue Taphrina alni
Southern Bracket Ganoderma australe
Stump Puffball Lycoperdon pyriforme
Glistening Inkcap Coprinellus micaceus
Beech Milkcap Lactarius blennis
Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae
The Deceiver Laccaria laccata
King Alfred’s Cakes/Cramp Balls Daldina concentrica
Purple Jellydisc Ascoryne sarcoidis or cylichnium
Oysterling Crepidotus
Oyster Mushrooms Pleurotus ostreatus
Lumpy Bracket Trametes gibbosa
Common Inkcap Coprinus atramentaria
Wolf’s Milk Lycogala terrestre or epidendron (Slime Mould Myxomycetes)
Orange Bonnet Mycena acicula
Crystal Brain Exidia nucleata
Clouded Agaric Clitocybe nebularis
Yellow Stainer Agaricus xanthodermus
Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon
Redlead Roundhead Stropharia aurantiaca
Blue Roundhead Stropharia caerulea
Beaked Earthstar Geastrum pectinatum

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Results of Himalayan balsam clearance!

ButeThis photograph was taken very recently by a Friend and shows Blackweir woods looking beautiful in the spring sunshine with wild garlic and bluebells growing in profusion. This lovely carpet of flowers is due to the hard work you have put in to clear the invasive Himalayan Balsam over the past two years. Thank you!

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Identification of Bulb Planting Task 2014

Throughout the Restoration Project, bulbs have been planted throughout the Park by various groups. Many of these plantings have not been based on any previously drawn plans or recorded after they were planted. This left a significant gap in the data Bute Park staff had about the park and made it difficult to plan future bulb planting as they did not know what they had already got and where it is. Volunteers were needed to gather information on various things so that they ended up with a reasonably accurate plan showing the distribution and type of bulbs planted in grass areas throughout the Park.

The project took place over a 12 month period (starting January 2014) and entailed volunteers:
· Walking the park every few weeks and recording the location of emerging bulbs
· Plotting the location and size of the groups on a plan with reasonable accuracy – within a couple of meters accuracy would be fine for most groups.
· Identifying main species groups – daffodils, crocus, mixed (with species) etc..
· Identifying variety if possible – we may have records of what was planted but not necessarily exactly where it was planted
· Making a note of the flowering time and period.
· Attending sessions to help plot the data into Bute Park auto cad and map info records

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Excavations at the Mill Leat Cardiff Castle: 24/25th October 2013

Dr Amelia Pannett of Archaeology Wales led the team of volunteers.  On the Thursday there were four volunteers from The Friends of Bute Park, and four students from Cardiff University Archaeology Department.

The excavation team had discovered a variety of items which could have belonged to people living in Cardiff Castle during the period ca.1580-1650.  There were also items from various industries close to Cardiff Castle.

There were many fragments of pottery, including necks of  drinking flagons, bowls, dishes with a variety of glazes, and cooking pottery.  There were also a number of clay tobacco pipe fragments – the bowls of the pipes were very small as tobacco was extremely expensive at this time.  The findings included some pretty pieces of  patterned Venetian glass. The volunteers also washed a large number of animal bones, including some (very large) teeth.

By way of change, we then washed lumps of slag which had been deposited in the river from the industries operating there at the time – these will be analysed for their metal contents. Metal objects had to be dry dusted, to prevent them from corroding, and included dress pins which were very fiddly to brush clean.

At the end of the session we agreed that we had all had an extremely interesting and enjoyable day, and would be happy to volunteer again.

Elizabeth Pengilly

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Visit to the Mill Leat – 27th September 2013

Mill Leat Site Visit

On Friday 27th September we were invited by Alun Griffiths – the contractors on the Mill Leat project – to visit the site.  This was a unique opportunity to see the work in progress before the Mill Leat, in front of the west wall of Cardiff Castle, is finally flooded. We were impressed by the care with which the masonry had been restored and by the efforts made to protect the trees around the site.  This is a major project costing over £800,000 and will restore the appearance of the Castle to that before the Mill Leat was drained in the 1970’s. We were interested in the remains of the old mill as well as the foundations for the piers of the Swiss Bridge that formerly linked the Castle and the Park; these had been revealed during the work.

Thanks to Gail Jones for organising the visit and to Christian the engineer who guided us around and answered our questions.”

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