Usk Reservoir closure

Due to tree felling operations, part of the Usk reservoir trail will be closed from Friday 14th August. The operation is located on the far west side of the reservoir and will clear the storm damaged trees as well as the larch trees.  Due to the location of the operation it will mean that a circular loop will not be able to be maintained around the reservoir. The trail will be closed between SN819 275 and SN 805 280 other sections of the trail are not affected. It is expected to take around 10 weeks to complete the work.

Usk Reservoir walk

Community meeting to gather local information, anecdotes & images.

There is a meeting on Tuesday 23rd June at The White House in Sennybridge from 7pm to which all of the local and wider community are welcome.

The purpose of this meeting is for collecting information, stories, anecdotes and pictures of rural life in the local community. The information gathered will be used to help with the development of some walking leaflets showing the history of this area being produced by Meinter Brycheiniog.

The Upper Usk Valley Group are specifically also looking for any memorabilia etc from the flooding of the Usk Valley when the Usk Reservoir was built  60 years ago as they are hoping to hold a commemoration service at Traianglas Church in the week of August 7th with a display for visitors to peruse.

The meeting is on Tuesday 23rd June at The White House in Sennybridge from 7pm.

 

Success for the Trecastle Dark Skies event

The pop-up planetarium and planet trail was a real hit at Trecastle Dark Skies event

With four planets in alignment and the Lyrid meteor shower on display – the Trecastle Dark Skies event on April 24th was a real hit for star gazers and astronomers across Wales on Friday evening – despite the cloudy weather.

With support through Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Rural Alliances project, the Upper Usk Valley teamed up with Dark Sky Wales to host a free informative star gazing event at Trecastle Community Hall and chapel for locals and visitors to learn more about the sky over ahead. There was a pop-up planetarium, a planet quiz trail and informative talks on the Herschel Family and their huge contribution to astronomy. Such was the anticipation of the event that all the free tickets were booked weeks in advance, even the additional session which was added thanks to the demand.

Sharon Millar, a Dark Skies National Park Ambassador and secretary of the Upper Usk Valley group said “Even though the sky was cloudy, the turnout has been wonderful with adults and children alike learning more about our dark skies. As well as local residents attending visitors from further afield made a dedicated visit to the event.”

The alliance would like to give thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the event a success in particular Eddie Mahoney and his soldiers from Sennybridge camp who turned up early on Thursday morning to assemble the marquee behind Trecastle community hall and also to David and Nathan for laying a floor for the pop up planetarium.

The Upper Usk Valley is both scenically beautiful during the day and during the night. Well known locally for being the perfect location to look up at the stars, it has the ideal combination of being easy to travel to and away from the intrusive glare of light pollution.  This was confirmed recently when the Usk reservoir was declared a Dark Sky discovery site making the Upper Usk Valley officially one of the darkest places in the park with two Dark Skies discovery sites in the area, the second being Crai village.

The Upper Usk Valley Rural Alliance is formed of local volunteers who are dedicated to the promotion of social, economic, cultural and environmental vibrancy within the Upper Usk Valley, an area which encompasses Trecastle, Sennybridge, Defynnog, Crai, Heol Senni, Llandeilo’r Fân and Pentrebach. As well as this event the group have created a series of walking leaflets giving historical information about the villages and will also be holding an event as part of the Agincourt 600 Cymru event. New members are always welcome therefore please keep an eye on the About Us part of this website for future meeting dates and don’t forget to follow the Upper Usk Valley on facebook.

The event has been made possible with funding from the Rural Alliances project which is 50% funded by the ERDF Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme and the Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund. The project contributes to a more cohesive EU society as it derives from a co-operation of people from different countries working on common issues that touch the lives of EU citizens. The transnational project involves twelve different partners from Wales, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.

Talks in Trecastle Chapel from Andy Burns about The Herschel Family – Trecastle Dark Skies Festival

At our Dark Skies event on 24th April 2015, you can also hear Andy Burns, expert on the Herschel Family, talk about their massive contribution to astronomy. William Frederick Herschel (1738–1822) must be placed in the top ten of anyone’s list of the world’s great astronomers, for two main reasons.

herschel family talks 1
First, about 200 years ago, he almost single-handedly transformed astronomy from the restricted study of our near neighbourhood—the Sun and its attendant family of planets—into a consideration of the much more distant stellar and nebular universe and essentially the cosmos as a whole. Second, he did this by building and using his own telescopes. Needless to say, these were not just any old telescopes. They were a succession of the most optically precise telescopes of the day. These instruments were
much better than the prized instruments of the national observatories such as those at Greenwich and Paris. Herschel thus revealed that some stars that were seen as confused blobs in other instruments were actually double stars, many of which were orbiting their common centre of mass. He also transformed the contemporary view of the sky’s nebulous objects. At the time, many perceived them as mere hindrances to the more important task of discovering new comets. Herschel made them bodies worthy of a lifetime of study—places of possible star formation and even remote galaxies just like ours.

herschel family talks 2And Herschel (because shop-bought telescopes were ‘beyond his purse’), cast the telescope mirrors, ground them and mounted the instruments, all in his kitchen workshop in Bath.
se’), cast the telescope mirrors,
ground them and mounted the instruments, all in his kitchen workshop in Bath.

Sennybridge Show – what a fantastic tradition.

The Upper Usk Valley group were in attendance at the 2014 Sennybridge Show with a well dressed stand which won 2nd place and a smart blue rosette – well done team! The newly reprinted leaflets were available in Welsh and English and attracted a lot of interest. Interesting displays on the Defynnog Yew Tree and local Dark Sky Discovery Sites and a map showing the UUV area all helped to show what a vibrant community we live in.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so  the following images can speak for themselves about what a fabulous day it was yesterday at the Sennybridge Show.

Show 1 Show 2 Show 3 Show 4 Show 6 Show 8 Show 9 Show 10

April 2014 Community Walk

Upper Usk Valley

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

Upper Usk Walking Group

Our next walk takes place on Sunday 27th April from Trecastle Community Hall.

Please meet at 2.00pm, parking in the layby opposite the Hall, near the red phone box, or slightly further down the road beyond the Antiques Centre

The route takes in some of the ancient track ways around Trecastle, taking in the old roman road, bridleways around the village, crossing the River Usk and heading through old woodlands.

Spring is here, so there are plenty of opportunities to see the bird life and wild flowers en route.

The route is suitable for all ages, dogs on a short lead are welcome, though please ensure they are kept on a lead as there are young lambs in the fields on the route.

Some areas may be wet and muddy and the weather forecast suggests a possibility of heavy showers, so please arrive prepared for these.

 

Your invitation to the launch of the Upper Usk Rural Alliance

The newly formed Upper Usk Rural Alliance invite all members of the communities of Sennybridge, Trecastle, Crai and Defynnog to come to their launch event on Wednesday 30th April between 2 – 8 pm. Find out what’s happening in the local area and meet other local residents and businesses. Be amongst the first to see the wonderful new local guide leaflets highlighting local walks and history in each community. Refreshments served all afternoon and drinks & nibbles served before evening entertainment from your local YFC. Everyone welcome, drop in or stay throughout!    Invite to the launch of UUV

March 2014 Community Walk

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

Spring is officially here, so perhaps we may be blessed with some reasonable weather for the next Community Walk?

Sunday 30th March 2014 – meet at 2.00pm: Crai Village Hall

Continuing our tour of the Upper Usk Valley area, the next walk is based from Crai, taking in Fforest Fach hill and the Crai Valley.

Starting from Crai Village Hall, the route will take us along ancient bridleways and tracks, above the old Neath to Brecon railway, the embankments and bridge foundations of which are clearly visible as you turn into Crai. The Fforest Fach hill itself, sits above Cwm Crai and Cwm Treweryn, which both show evidence of glacial formation.

The Northern summit of Fforest Fach overlooks Sennybridge and Defynnog and offer’s views of the Crai, Senni and of course Usk Valley itself. Please follow the Facebook Page Upper Usk Valley for updates.

Cray - Google Maps

Crai and Fforest Fach Google Satellite View

Community Walks 2014

Usk Reservoir Car Park

Car Park next to the Usk Reservoir

The next Community Walk is on Sunday 23rd February 2014, starting from the Usk Reservoir Car Park and Picnic area at 2.00pm.

Sunday 23rd February – Meet at 2.00pm

Usk Reservoir Car Park

This month’s route takes us out on to Mynydd Myddfai, exploring the wilder side of the Upper Usk Valley area, with stunning panoramic views over the Towy and Usk Valley’s as well as tempting glances towards the Carmarthen Fans and the source of the Usk itself.

Dropping down off the common, we will enter the shelter of the forestry surrounding the Usk Reservoir, stumbling across the hidden Physician’s Well, the renowned healing water’s used the Physician’s of Myddfai, before trekking back through the forestry above the reservoir, quietly enjoying the peace and hopefully seeing woodcock, jay’s and woodpeckers on our return to the Car Park.

Some of the route involves walking on open moorland, therefore boots or wellies are required, the open moorland can be cold, so wrapping up warm is advisable, you may also want to bring a small drinking vessels if you feel like braving the water’s of the Physician’s Well.

Post walk gathering will be at the Castle Coaching Inn, Trecastle, where they may be the opportunity to warm up next to the open fire.

These free walks are being organised by Trecastle based activity provider – Expeditions Wales who run walking and camping activities for well over a 1000 people a year – so you’re in safe hands!

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

Want to improve your garden? Join the Community Garden Club!

Snowdrops at Madog Barn, Cray, Upper Usk Valley Brecon Beacons

Snowdrops at Madog Barn Self Catering Holiday Cottage, Cray

 

Snowdrops at Madog Barn in Crai, Upper Usk Valley

Following the hugely successful appearance of 6 Crai gardens in the 2013 National Gardens Scheme ‘Garden Open’ programme, a small friendly garden club was born which now meets on the first Monday of each month in Crai Hall at 7.30pm. All Upper Usk Valley residents are invited to join this informal group. By no means all experts, members aim to share ideas and learn from each other. Topics covered so far are such as – which plants best suit our local climate, the contained garden and a discussion around good seed & plant catalogues and useful websites to view. In the summer months it is planned to hold meetings in each other’s gardens.

With an eye already on participation in the 2014 Gardens Open programme, the next meeting on Monday 3 March at 7.30pm will welcome Mr Gareth Davies  to give an illustrated talk on 25 years of gardens under the National Garden Scheme. Everyone welcome, refreshments available. £2 at the door.

Why not come along and see what we get up to?

Garden Club contact is Robert 01874 636194