dates for your diary

In addition to the River Severn Custodians there are a number of other groups in the area dedicated to improving the health and accessibility of our local rivers.  The charity, Severn Rivers Trust is coordinating much of the work of these diverse volunteer groups, such as the Custodians, and helping us to obtain funding and to  be more effective.  There are a number of upcoming events involving our group and some of the other groups that you might wish to attend.

June 8th – River Severn Custodians  has a stand at the Newtown Carnival

June 12th – Severn Rivers Trust holding a meeting to set up a group for the River Vyrnwy, 7pm at Pontrobert Community Centre.

August 10th – Cain Valley Group at the Llanfyllin Show.

August 26th – Cain Valley Group at the Llanfechain Show

September 7th/8th – River Severn Custodians at the Newtown Food Festival.

Invasive species clearance

With the river being very low, I took a hoe with me at the weekend and attempted to eradicate as much Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed as I could find, between the Halfpenny Bridge and the end of Trehafren.
By standing on the exposed ‘beaches’, I was able to get at some very large Hogweeds that would have been difficult to reach from on the bank itself and in all I managed to remove about 25/30 plants of varying sizes and 2 small clumps of Knotweed as well.
It’s surprising how plants can be missed when they are in the undergrowth on the very edge of the river bank.
Encouragingly, I came across a lady from Trehafren – (not our new member) – who had done a little bit of litter picking and perhaps she can inspire more people to do the same.
I also managed to pull a chunk of iron out of the river which looked like the support from one of the Council bins.
Disappointingly however, the Hogweed is still infesting the Mochdre Brook area and we will need to have another go at it, after the Carnival event is out of the way and before the river starts to fill up again.

On the river this month

Since the tree canopy is getting quite thick now and the birds are busy raising their young, I have not made many actual sightings of the birds that are usually seen on the river.
Goosanders. The males have now disappeared off the river, leaving the females to raise their families.
Dippers. The pair at the Mochdre end of the river now have fledglings.
Swallows and Swifts. Numerous on the river during the wet weather.
Mistle Thrush. Have made appearances in Trehafren.

Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch and Wren have been spotted, but not in any great numbers.

In view of the fact that there is not a lot to report, I have added this video of a little Wren that was singing from the top of a Bullrush at Pwll Penarth.
I hope it brightens your day – given the terrible weather that we are having recently.

More Hogweed

Posted on behalf of Joan Avery.

I took my trusty spade on the dog walk this morning as I had noticed Hog weed down on the ‘beach’. There had been one nasty specimen near the halfpenny bridge last year that was impossible to get to. Unfortunately it has spread countless seedlings where I thought there were a few. There are too many for me to tackle so I thought the 2 young volunteers (Abbie and Jasmine) that came out with you last week might be able to come with me at their convenience. Could they please contact me when they are free if they are willing to help

Joan Avery


On a brighter note

On a brighter note to my last post, I must admit that its not all doom and gloom out there.
On Sunday afternoon there was light rain in the air and as I walked from the Long Bridge to the Halfpenny Bridge, the river was alive with masses of Swallows and quite a few Swifts as well.
By the Long Bridge a Dipper appeared and sped down the river and as I watched it go, I spotted a pair of Goldfinches feeding on the riverbank adjacent to St. Marys Church.
As I came around the bend in the river, there was a Pied Wagtail feeding on the stone beach and a female Goosander feeding lesuirely in the middle of the river.
By the Halfpenny Bridge, a mother Mallard Duck was proudly tending her 8 ducklings and was being watched by a Gull, who unfortunately had its eye on a late supper.
All of this was ended with the appearance of what I think were 3 Starlings which were feeding on their own with no others in sight and this could indicate that they are resident birds, as opposed to the migratory ones that you encounter in large flocks.
All this in such a short distance – and I probably missed a lot as well!

Another week of vandalism

Hi folks – this just shows what we are up against, in spite of the fantastic work carried out by the RSC Team last week!  (I’ve included OS map refs where available).


 This supermarket trolley has been dumped at Vaynor in a location favoured by the Otters and where they have been seen feeding, in the past.  (Ref: SO-09357-90952)

The settee has now been pushed into the river at Trehafren. (Ref: SO-09644-91173)
Most of the carrier bags of rubbish which were at the original location have been thrown down the bank, with some of them ending up in the river.

The pile of tins were created and left by 3 youths fishing at Trehafren last weekend. There were more tins than this, but most of them have been kicked into the river.

This tent was pitched in Vaynor playing field when we went to clear the Giant Hogweed. My best bet is that it will probably end up in the river.

New Video – Kingfishers

A new video of Kingfishers has been added to the Video Gallery/Wildlife section.
They were filmed at Pwll Penarth by Russ Edwards, but the Kingfishers are actually catching fish in the river around the Penarth Weir area, as there are no suitable fish in the Pwll Penarth waters.
It endorses the important work that the RSC is carrying out to protect the river environment for these birds and our other wildlife.

Hate Hogweed May 4th 2013

Today a dedicated RSC team tackled the Giant Hogweed near the Mochdre Brook.  This is the area that we tackled twice last year and it’s good to report that we are making progress.  The infestation is definitely less this time.  The proof will be when we re-visit the area later in the year.  We were glad to welcome two new members, Abbie and Jasmine, to this event.  They joined in wholeheartedly to tackle this dangerous invasive plant.

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River clean up

Following Russ Edwards’ sterling solo effort on May 1st, RSC and Keep Wales Tidy did 2 more days of rubbish retrieval from the river between the Halfpenny Bridge and the Dolerw Park Bridge.  Concentrating only on rubbish actually in the river we took out over 1.5 tons including bikes, scooters, many long metal bars, sleeping bag, car battery, Argos catalogues, and sundry other items.

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After finishing the Friday clean up, crossing the Halfpenny Bridge, we noticed that another childs’ scooter had taken the place of the wheelbarrow taken out the day before.

River clean up at Trehafren

Since the planned cleanup at the Halfpenny Bridge had been postponed, I decided to tackle the rubbish in the river at Trehafren and managed to retrieve a burnt out litter bin, child’s buggy and a large settee cushion from the river, as shown in the photos below.

Trehafren-Litter-2 Trehafren-Litter-1

Annoyingly, at the spot where the buggy was found, there were numerous tin cans and other rubbish littering the river bed and I have had to leave them there for the time being.
Thanks to Sue Newham, who is arranging for the Council to remove this rubbish before it once again ends up in the river!

On the plus side however, I did meet a lady from Trehafren who was interested in helping with litter picking in the area and I will be contacting her again to persue this. Perhaps she could be helpful in finding other people in the Trehafren area who would like to join the RSC.