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29 January 2012

Academic Year 2011/2012: Semester One Tasks

First of all Happy New Year to everyone,hope 2012 is a brilliant year!
 We're sure that 2012 is going to be a fantastic year for ACV with exciting events,projects and tasks planned , but first we'll report how the first semester of the academic year went.
 After a fantastic response at Fresher's Fayre and a rather  successful BBQ welcoming members new and old to(or back to) Aberystwyth we began our tasks of the semester.

8/10/11 Green Phoenix Nature Reserve
For the first task of the year ACV went to Green Phoenix Nature Reserve in the Cambrian uplands of Wales the site is in the process of being from a low diversity forest plantation into native woodland with a mosaic of wildlife habitats.
 The  aims of the task were to build a boardwalk (in very muddy conditions) and carry out some dead hedging.Dead hedging  is creating a barrier from cut branches , seedlings and foliage which creates a shelter for small animals especially birds, hence it is very important in conservation and restoration ecology.

The task team
The team persevere through the typically Welsh weather.


15/10/11 and 22/10/11 Parc Natur Penglais
For the second and third tasks of the years ACV went dry stone walling in Park Natur Penglais, a local Nature Reserve situated in Penglais woods. It may seem like a smaller group than the previous task, but due to the nature of the task,  only a few people are able to attend in order to ensure the coordinator can help everyone
Dry stone walling involves careful selecting interlocking stones to produce a strong and stable wall.
Selecting the stones
Busy at work.

The team (Photos L.Godfrey)

22-23/10/11 Residential at Felin Uchaf
ACV went on a joint residential with student volunteers from Bangor University to Felin Uchaf on the Llyn Peninsula.  Various tasks were carried out such as cobbing ( a building technique using clay,water and hay),digging over vegetable patched for the winter and willow weaving.
Felin Uchaf is a project aiming to transform an old Welsh farmhouse and the surrounding land into a community enterprise. The buildings are eco friendly and built by volunteers; we slept in a round house,built by previous volunteers. Find out more here
 Making and throwing the cob balls
The joint Aberystwyth-Bangor team. (Photos A.Foster)
5/11/11 Hafod Estate
The Hafod estate is mostly owned by the Forestry Commission who, in partnership with the Hafod trust, is managing a restoration and conservation project. The tasks carried out were planting gorse and heather and clearing rhododendron and other trees which were blocking a foot path. At the end we even did something completely new for ACV - herding cows!
Digging and planting heather and gorse to stabilise the slope.

Herding the cows.
12-13/11/11 Second Residential at Old Chapel Farm

The second residential of semester one took place at Old Chapel Farm a small community on a smallholding which aims to connect people to the land and live a sustainable ,creative lifestyle. They have many volunteers and woofers and have had for many years, They manage their own woodland and the task for the ACV team this week was to build some steps.

Working hard

The end result
Warming up around the fire (Photos L.Godfrey)

Old Chapel produce most of their own vegetable,meat and milk and uses alternative energy and produces some of it's own electricity. You can find out more by visiting the website .
12/11/11 Mentro Lluest
Mentro Lluest is an organisation near Aberystwyth where individuals from all works of life and abilities work together on agriculture and horticulture activities on the 5 acre site.
We carried out a variety of tasks such as  taking bird boxes down for the winter,clearance of willow and bramble and carrying it to the fire pit and digging a hole for an interpretive sign.

Clearing some willow.
The team .
Occupant of one of the birdhouses.

Digging the hole for the interpretive sign. (Photos A.Foster)

19/11/11 Penglais Gorse Clearance

We went back to Parc Natur Penglais to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the date the Park was opened.The task was  gorse clearance and burning.

26/11/11  Ynyslas Dunes.
ACV worked with the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) at Ynyslas Sand dunes. They are an important habitat for a variety of wildlife . This weeks task involved cutting down grey willow so that the dune slacks would re wet.
Cutting the willow.

The team at the end of the day (Photos A.Foster)

3/12/11 Longwood
Longwood Community woodland is a community co operative near Lampeter.If you'd like to find out more about the site and their upcoming events the website is
. the task at Longwood was to cut down Leylandii a fast growing evergreen tree used frequently in horticulture. It grows fast out shadowing other trees and so it was cleared so the other species of  trees that had been planted could grow.

10/12/11 Mentro Lluest and Tanyblwchvh
The last tasks of term took involved two teams of ACV members working at different locations in the Aberystwyth Area.
 One group went to Mentro Lluest and helped with the first stages of the forest garden by moving apple trees and planting a raspberry hedge.

Digging and planting apple trees

Team photo in a hole.

Raspberry hedge

Digging and planting the raspberry hedge.(Photos A.Foster)

The second group went to Tanybwlch beach and cleared and burnt Rosehip
Fire warming up the volunteers on a cold December day.

So that brings us to the last task of term. For those of you that joined us on task, thank you and well done for all your hard work. If you'd like to get involved with the society e-mail us on You have to be an Aberystwyth University Student with a Board of Society card (which can be bought from the Guild) to join us on tasks.
Though out semester one we also carried out work on creating a campus garden, so the progress of that will be up here soon for you to read.
We're looking forward to further progression of the campus garden in semester 2 and many good tasks. Dates of the semester two tasks will be posted up here along with the organisations we are working with. Details of what we will be doing on task will be e-mailed in the usual e-mail sent at the beginning of each week.

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