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Gate with a View: Reflections on being a Volunteer Warden with the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park in 2023

Gate with a View: Reflections on being a Volunteer Warden with the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park in 2023

Well, it’s been a busy year to be a volunteer warden with the Gate with a View team.

Now, our last work day has been completed (path clearing near Pengenfford), and we have very much enjoyed our Christmas outing, so it feels fitting to reflect on all that we have achieved.  We have done a lot of clearing of paths and bridleways; and lost count of the miles covered as we strim, lop, prune, chainsaw, and flailbot until our arms feel like they are going to drop off, and we wonder how many scratches we have accumulated. 

Ready for work (near Bwlch)

But, we have also completed lots of other work, such as replacing gates, and working on stiles and bridges where required.  Not to forget the other ways that we each support the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.  Andy has remained involved with the peatland restoration project, Mark and Rob have joined the Glanusk team, and Lorna has been drystone walling and supported the work of the Invasive Non-Native Species team.  On top of all of that we have welcomed new volunteers such as Gerry and Aly, joined corporate days, and enjoyed the Volunteer Celebration at the National Park Visitor Centre. 

Of course, where would a review of our year be without mention of cake!  It’s fair to say that the stakes continued to rise as the year progressed, and we have all evolved our baking skills to place the next creation on the gingham altar.  Rob’s millionaires shortbread is the bake of legends; Mark can always be relied on with his banana bread; Andy has expanded his repertoire most recently with a gorgeous chocolate and orange cake; and Lorna regularly experiments with plant-based bakes such as carrot and coconut traybake or fruit crumble bars.  Not a soggy bottom in sight – well not in terms of the cakes anyway! 

Festive (mincemeat, apple & cranberry) crumble bars

It is so rewarding to see the fruits of our labours as we journey round the Park – whether it’s admiring a new gate or stile while on a walk or driving past; seeing others enjoy a path or bridleway that we have cleared; or noting how the environment is being restored and enhanced such as following peatland work on Pen Trumau, the removal of Invasive Non-Native Species from Llanthony or along the canal, or the continued repair of the walls on The Allt.  We all benefit in so many ways individually and collectively from our continued adventures and cannot wait to see what 2024 will bring.  But for now, Nadolig Llawen and Blwyddyn Newydd Dda pawb!

Lorna, Andy, Mark, Rob.


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