Himalayan Balsam

Today we cleared a few paths through the Himalayan Balsam to provide easier access to the beach between the Halfpenny Bridge and Long Bridge. This area is well used by fishermen and families and the amount of Balsam removed was negligible. While dealing with these plants we saw that the seeds are ripe and ready for eating. Please do your bit to control this invasive by collecting and eating these delicious seeds. There’ll still be plenty of flowers for the bees!

Dead animal in river

Some of you may have noticed the rotting carcass of a calf caught by a log in the river just below the Halfpenny bridge.  We called the Environment Agency Hotline and their response was that they don’t come out for only 1 animal!  Apparently you must need a whole herd of dead cattle in the water before they will respond.  They suggested we notify the town council who suggested that we wait for a good rain.


While surveying my patch I was lucky enough to spot a family of 5 goosanders diving for fish a little way upstream from the pumphouse. This group was not as large as that observed by Sally or Russ and may possibly be a different family. Other birds seen and/or heard clearly in a space of under 2 hours were buzzard 1 young bird calling, blackbird 3, blackcap blue tit 1, carrion crow 1, coal tit 1, chiff chaff 4, chaffinch 4, dipper 1, dunnock 1, goldfinch 1, longtailed tit 3, magpie 1, nuthatch 2 calling to each other, robin 5, song thrush 1, swallows 5, woodpigeon 2, and wrens 10 heard in separate areas competing with each other!

We would welcome volunteers to cover from Halfpenny bridge to the pumphouse, and the East side of the river from Trehafren to Mochdre Brook. Thanks for your help.


Kingfisher back

After a couple of years when I have not seen the kingfisher in this area, I was delighted to see one today skimming over our pond just next to the river. I wlll keep an eye out for him more regularly now. The heron has been a regular visitor in the last month (and I doubt we have many fish left) and the male Goosander has been here a few times as well, so it is good to see the water birds here.

Parson’s Bridge

There used to be a footbridge (near the ford) leading from the Gro on the right bank of the river to Llanllwchaiarn Church on the left bank.  It was washed away on a number of occasions during flooding, most recently in 1946, see photo.  There is some interest in re-building this bridge as a foot/cycle bridge which would make access across the river easier for the people of Llanllwchaiarn and also provide some interesting circular paths, being developed by Walking Newtown, which would avoid the busy road bridges in the town.  With the current flood defences such a bridge should not be prone to flood water in future.

Your views would be welcome together with any information you may have on the history or use of this bridge, or on access on both sides of the river at the former site of this bridge.

Parsons Bridge sm

Giant Hogweed

Today Joan Avery and I tackled the Giant Hogweed growing on the left bank downstream of the Halfpenny Bridge. We must have destroyed about a dozen, some of them 8 or 9 ft high in full flower. I know, there’ll be more to come but at least these particular ones are no longer a danger.  Our new digging tools, courtesy of Severn Rivers Trust, worked well in getting the roots out, particularly on young plants.

We also saw some very healthy stands of Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam, but declined to deal with them.