Saturday, 20 April 2013

Blaen Bran Community Woodland, Cwmbran

I have lived in Cwmbran since 1978 and never knew Blaen Bran  woodland existed.  It is being developed at the moment and today there was an event being held there.  It is a beautiful place to walk although somewhat hilly.  There were lots of different demonstrations of tree felling, logging, milling, log splitting,and chainsaw sculpture were just a few.
I was already breathless by the time we walked from the car park, obviously not very fit at the moment.  Maybe I need to go walking here regularly.
There is a small brook going through the woodland with a beautiful waterfall.

It is quite bare at the moment as spring is late arriving this year, but I could see bluebells coming through under the brambles.

Stuart said he would like to watch the tree felling demonstration.  There is a large area of very tall larch trees which are being thinned out as part of the woodland management plan.  We were trying to estimate the height of them but it was very difficult.  Assuming the man up the tree was about 6 foot it was many times taller than that. Possible somewhere between 80 and 100 feet.  The first job was to saw of the side branches.  He was climbing the tree using spikes on his feet which he dug into the sides of the trunk and he had a belt around himself and the trunk which he moved up as he went. 

  The next 2 pictures show him coming down again by abseiling

Next he cut a V shape out of one side of the trunk so that the tree would fall in that direction.  Then he sawed the other side and TIMBER!

Next there was a demonstration  of horse logging by a beautiful 9 year old Ardennes horse called Kip.   

Lovely walk back to the stalls down some steep rustic steps.

Two tree carvings by Simon O'Rourke

He was going to give a demonstration later but we didn't stay for that.  Stuart wanted to try the wood fired pizza and he said it was very good. Peperoni and Blaenavon cheese.  

This is the wood fired oven that was used to bake the pizza

and here is Stuart enjoying his pizza. 

Unfortunately it was a bit misty so the view of the town from up on the mountain wasn't as good as it could have been. 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

More of Easter Monday

I forgot 2 photos from Easter Monday.  Stuart and Jasmine couldn't resist this slope.  Luckily the ground was quite dry.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Easter Monday.

Another cold day but the children still wanted to be out somewhere so we decided to visit Caerleon which is the site of a Roman legionary fortress and only 5 or 6 miles from where I live.  First we visited the ruins of the amphitheatre.  These spectacular ruins date to about 90AD.


  Jasmine explored with her mum

 whilst the boys were running round imagining that they were Roman soldiers. 
 We thought the structure below might be an oven but the red brick arch above was not covered in soot like I would have expected it to be if there had been a fire below it. 

Next we went over the stile to the ruins of the Roman barracks where, according to the boys, the soldiers were stored.  


Below Jasmine is exploring the communal latrines at the barracks.  We learned that the soldiers cleaned themselves with sponges that were soaked in vinegar, which the children found very amusing. 

The adults were feeling very cold by now so we decided a visit to the
Museum was next on the agenda. Lots of Roman relics from the archeological sites we had visited and also from other sites nearby. These included a part skeleton in a stone coffin which had been dug up by a man with a JCB whilst he was working on the nearby college extension in the 1990s. Must have been a shock to him finding that.  
The boys enjoyed dressing up in Roman armour in the museum.
The shield was rather large .

Next we had lunch and then visited the Ffwrwm Arts & Crafts centre.  The children were pleased to find that there was an egg hunt going on there.  

Stuart relaxing

 Egg find on the dragon, Jakob looks like he is ready for a sleep. 

 Jasmine found the one by the otter
But didn't have a good view of this one.

They all had a prize of chocolate or eggs, as if they didn't have enough already.  Then we went home and I think they had all enjoyed their day. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Easter Sunday.

Very cold weekend but children were getting a bit bored indoors so we went to the boating lake playground which has recently been extended with the addition of new attractions.  

Jasmine likes to climb.  

 She found this new climbing apparatus a bit difficult though and went on to her old favourite

She also tried out the new zip wire but Jakob declined as it was rather low and he was worried about scraping his rear end on the ground

The new swing was very popular

But Jasmine didn't like going too fast so left Jakob to try it alone. He thought that was great fun and didn't even feel dizzy when he got off it. 

Easter Saturday

Busy this weekend with grandchildren all visiting.  Saturday morning Stuart was showing Zach how to play football.  He was a quick learner. 

Zach also enjoyed playing with the duplo and constructed a zoo for his animals