Issue 51 – Summer 2014

Brecon Beacons – a volume of natural riches

Regional volumes in the New Naturalist Library are few and far between, and each one is a landmark for its locality. It is ten years since a volume was devoted to a National Park, and eight years since this author’s volume on Gower. Regular contributor JONATHAN MULLARD describes the realisation of his major new work up, and the rules that guided him in its writing.

Wentwood: an ancient forest back from the brink

Restoring a large area of a once-great forest from commercial plantation to a continuous canopy of native broad-leaves, ensuring that the rich assemblage of plants and animals associated with ancient woodland can once more thrive, is an ambitious task. It is also one likely to catch the public imagination. And, as BARRY EMBLING explains, it could help to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of a different, environmentally sensitive approach to forest management.

A riddle in the cliffs

Walking the coast offers the chance to wonder at the close connections between land and sea which once characterised earlier human society. One puzzle which intrigued IVOR and JANE REES were the ramps which had been constructed in remote places; as they describe here, the people who built them were winning prosperity from the sea.

A green coastline – too green?

IWAN EDGAR on changes to the landscape in his native Llŷn that agricultural policy has encouraged farmers to implement.

This article is written in Welsh. You can read a translation here.

Gobies: a guide

Photographs showing diagnostic characteristics are at last making identification of the full range of gobies found in Welsh waters possible. This guide will help anyone interested in these attractive small fishes put a name to a species, although there is still much to find out about Welsh gobies, as PAUL KAY and LIN BALDOCK explain.

Waters from the deep: Taff’s Well thermal spring

After a chequered past, the Welsh natural wonder that is Taff’s Well is again attracting scientists, historians and the general public. It is a geological-cum-hydrological curiosity, with an intriguing social history, as GARETH FARR explains.

Shakespeare’s Meadow: enhancing Radnorshire’s Willow Globe Theatre

In rural mid-Wales there exists a remarkable theatre, in a magical setting, made of willow, and staging Shakespeare plays. Yet the wild meadow flowers that the playwright would have been familiar with more than four centuries ago were missing. So a community project was started to enrich the theatre’s surroundings with a meadow, as URSULA BOWEN explains.

Turning tides and turbulence – a sea-change is needed

Earlier this year the 5th Marine Energy seminar was held in Pembrokeshire, followed by the annual Cymru Renewable UK conference in Cardiff City Hall. These conferences were packed out and generated a buzz, as they discussed technical solutions to deliver renewable energy. Can this be done without harming our environment? VICKY MOLLER argues that this is a challenge that environmentalists must engage with.

Discoveries in science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

New diatom species described from Wales
Ingrid Jüttner


Book reviews

Feasting, Fowling and Feathers. A History of the Exploitation of Wild Birds by Michael Shrubb
Bird Atlas 2007-2011 by Balmer et al.
Brecon Beacons by Jonathan Mullard
Dros y Don: Blwyddlyfr Enlli / Across the sound: Bardsey Yearbook by the Bardsey Island Trust

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

GeoMôn launches geoboards and rock trail on Anglesey
Stewart Campbell and Margaret Wood

Recording nature

Pembrokeshire’s Seabird Islands: past, present and future prospects
Conference report

Lizzie Wilberforce
South & West Wales Wildlife Trust

Nature at large

Habitat management on coastal grassland
Ivy Denham

Marine Matters

Expanding responsibilities at sea
Ivor Rees

From the garden

It’s all happening at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Volunteers join a survey of birds and bumblebees, meadows, mammals and moths

Colin Miles

Mammals round-up

Mammal news and sightings in Wales

Plotting the path of the polecat
Lizzie Croose, Vincent Wildlife Trust

Mapping American mink: an invasive menace
Lorna Bagget
South & West Wales Wildlife Trust

Tribute to Rob Strachan

Huw Jones