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Issue 27          March 2016


A newsletter for Volunteers and Friends of Monmouthshire Countryside Service

This is the first newsletter in 2016 and there is lots to look forward to. Increasingly, we are seeing groups 'doing it for themselves', and are delighted that walking festivals, pathcare groups and more are being arranged by groups outside the Countryside Service. 

If you have comments or questions or would like to contribute to future newsletters please contact Morag Sinton, Countryside Volunteer Coordinator on 01633 644663 or


The spring pathcare check is in progress at the moment, with lots of volunteers walking the various promoted routes in Monmouthshire and seeing how everything has stood up to another winter. Reports should be sent in by the end of April. If you require maps, forms, waymarks or anything else to complete your pathcare survey please let me know.

Pathcare Vacancies

There are vacancies for pathcare volunteers on the following routes. Please let Morag know if you are interested in taking anything on.
  • Wye Valley Walk, Chepstow to Brockweir
  • Wentwood and Gray Hill
  • Tregare and Penrhos

Pathcare Groups

The Llanbadoc Community Council Pathcare Group has been busy on the Llandegfedd Reservoir Trail, improving the route by reducing the amount of road walking.

Chepstow Walkers are Welcome will also be starting a pathcare group, initially looking at paths which are not promoted in their area.

GDAS (Gwent Drugs and Alcohol Service) have recently started a walking group. By using Monmouthshire pathcare routes as a basis for their programme, they will not only find a good range of walks, but will provide some extra help with vegetation clearance and reporting problems as they go. 

Bridge Surveys

We are very grateful to all the volunteer bridge surveyors who have begun the process of bringing the smaller wooden footbridges into a regular inspection regime. Over 300 bridges have been identified across the County for the initial survey, and each of these has to be checked and the information entered into the rights of way database.

If you are interested in joining the bridge surveyors, or entering data into the database, please let us know.

Volunteer Hours

Please remember to send in your time sheet for January to March 2016. This is part of our new system for collecting volunteer hours so that we can demonstrate more accurately the extent to which volunteers are helping us. 

Offa's Dyke Path National Trail

Google Trekker

As mentioned previously, over the next couple of years all the National Trails will be walked with a Google Trekker, a camera system which will record the whole route for Google StreetView. The North Downs Way has just gone live so you can experience it from the comfort of your armchair and perhaps be inspired to go and see the real thing. Although there is not a date for Offa's Dyke Path to be walked with the Google Trekker yet, if you are interested in helping please let Morag know. 


Offa’s Dyke Path has an easyfundraising page which will contribute to the National Trail each time supporters shop online. It is free to sign up to and money raised in this way will go to fund the National Trail website. The direct link to the site is

Walks, Walks and more Walks

Chepstow Walking Festival

6th - 10th April 2016
The Lower Wye Valley is stunning throughout the year, but particularly so in Spring and surely there is no better introduction to its landscape and heritage than to join one of the many walks on offer during the annual Chepstow Walking Festival. Specialists of the area, such as the Conservation Officers for Natural Resources Wales and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, a former Water Bailiff of the Wye, the National Trail Officer for Offa’s Dyke Path and Monmouthshire’s Countryside Wardens will be accompanying or leading many of the walks this year together with experienced local walk leaders sharing their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for the Lower Wye Valley. Walks vary in length between 2 and 20 miles 

For the full programme and booking online visit or call into Chepstow Museum, Bridge Street, Chepstow

Granny’s Store Cupboard

Castle Meadows Abergavenny
Saturday 16 April 2016, 10 am – 11.30 am
Fiona Ford is leading this walk looking at the myths, beliefs and uses of many of the plants growing around the meadows. The walk will be relatively flat but over the grass. It should last about 1½ hours.
Meet at the gate on to Castle Meadows from the Byefield Lane Car Park, Abergavenny

Saturday 16th April 2016: In Aid of Alzheimer’s Society
72 walks in 1 day using the unique Welsh Coastal Path & Offa’s Dyke
Participants are required to take part in this ambitious fundraiser. The inaugural event will raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Society. All walks led by volunteer leaders from Mountain Guide, Scout, Rambler communities & other brilliant individuals!
To get involved, sign up via our website. A £25.00 registration donation is payable in advance and we ask if you could raise a further minimum of £25.00 through sponsorship.

Volunteering Opportunities at Cefn Ila

Coed Cadw/The Woodland Trust is asking for support to restore and improve its site Cefn Ila near Usk. If you fancy yourself as a ranger, events volunteer, gardener, conservation volunteer or have something else in mind then this is the chance. There is already a very active volunteer group to join at Cefn Ila who meet 2 or 3 times a month to do the practical work needed to help this site reach its potential. A diverse site there is something for everyone. The walled garden needs tlc, the orchard hosts an annual Apple Day and the arboretum is being repopulated. There is lots of support from the trust and the chance to learn and meet new people. So if you have some time and would like to volunteer in some way do get in touch with Amelia on

Websites and the Internet

Some forms for volunteers (expenses claim, timesheet, pathcare survey form) are now available to download directly from the MCC website here

You can also view a working copy of our definitive map of public rights of way at, download pages to print off and report problems you have come across. 

You can still download information and documents from the Monmouthshire Countryside website - although much of the content of this site will be moving to the VisitMonmouthshire website at soon.
Copyright © 2016 Monmouthshire County Council Countryside Service, All rights reserved.

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