Pity the poor hedgehog, the gardener’s ally whose life is in almost constant peril – especially if it gets too close to an otherwise harmless cattle grid. Simon Rose, area ranger for the Brecon Beacons, has been bearing our spiny friends in mind.
There are two cattle grids on the way up to Parc Lodge farm near Abergavenny’s Sugar Loaf mountain. Time and money had been spent repairing both of them over the years but they were losing strength and not really stopping the livestock, so it was decided they had reached the point where they needed to be replaced. What’s more, there was no escape route for wildlife that fell into the old grids.
Simon Rose writes: “I decided to go for 2 x 50 ton-rated grids. Graham, the tenant, agreed to make a financial contribution for the new stronger grids, as well as helping out and making his tractors available to move everything around.
“There were a few logistical problems; this is the only road access and it is used by another property as well as the farm. Choosing days to close off the road that suited everyone, and sticking to them with the weather, proved difficult!”
The old ones were made of reinforced cast concrete which was hard work to break up, but we got there in the end. The opportunity was also taken to widen the grids so that three-metre wide farm machinery could fit over them.
We’re also happy to report that they also came with drainage holes and hedgehog escape ladders as standard.
Wales is renowned the world over as a land full of myth and legend. This walk on the edge of the Brecon Beacons is described as moderate and encompasses the hill known as Ysgyryd Fawr, or Skirrid Fawr.
The hill is also known as the Holy Mountain or the Sacred Hill. Ysgyryd is a word describing the hill’s shape, meaning something that has shivered or been shattered. According to legend, part of the mountain is said to have been broken off at the moment of the crucifixion of Jesus.
The truth of this we shall never know, but the walk takes you past the site of a medieval church and one of our “outdoor classrooms” used by school visitors to learn about countryside conservation.
Robert Reith is the Lead Ranger for Brecon Beacons & Monmouthshire. “I practically like this walk because of the historical interest surrounding the routes, from iron age hill fort to Catholic church, to the remains of a farmstead, charcoal pits, quarry pits. When you look around you, do not take the landscape as natural.”
For more details of this and other walks in the area, click here.
For ‘Father’s Day in the Forest’, our rangers will be leading a fun-filled day in the woods. Meeting at the Pont-ar-Daf car park, gateway to the Brecon Beacons, children will have the chance to tick off some of their 50 things to do before you’re 11¾, like taking part in a scavenger hunt, cooking over a camp fire and dressing up as a forester.
Entry is £3 per adult and £1 each for children. Dads get to go free.
‘Father’s Day in the Forest’ is Sunday 15th June, 10am-4pm and booking is essential. Click here for more details.