A lot of planting

On Wednesday 18th June a group of 19 volunteers walked up MacNamara’s track carrying about 5,000 cotton grass plugs and a few wool sausages. Within probably only an hour the plants were all in the ground. Slowly but surely Pen trumau is coming back to life with the help of numerous people giving a little of their time and energy.

As always I am struck by how inspirational human beings can be, and what little it takes. The story of Gandi and the salt march always returns to me, it does appear possible to change the world!

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I was up on Pen Trumau yesterday and last year’s  spiral of wool is greening well.

With two colleagues we took  cotton grass plugs grown by volunteers and a professional grower to plant by way of planning the next trip with a group.

We were amazed at just how many plants came out of the small bundles that I had taken, at least 500 from two trays. Given I trays another 34 trays of plants it looks like there is going to be a great boost to hill from all that effort.

To those unknown growers, well done!

Anyone wanting to help plant do get in touch as I will be going up agin on 18th and 21st June and will send times and directions for meeting by email.

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A year has passed since we sowed wavy hair grass early on a very misty mid-summer morning so I thought it good to make a date to see what  can happen in year on Pen Trumau.

I am planning to take and afternoon walk up on Saturday 21st June mostly to see what has been growing but also both to sow more seed and collect new.

We will be taking a different route so please get in touch if you want to join me so I can let you know where to meet and more importantly where the post walk tea will be!

We will no longer be using the route that we have started from over the last few years as, sadly one person’s dog upset the farmer and I have lost his confidence. It demonstrates how sensitive this work is and how important it is to try to understand all the different pressures that are at play when working in our shared landscape.

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An image from the 2013 satellite courtesy of Google Earth

Peter Williams sent me this image which although difficult to scale does show the whole scar and our combined impact on it at a macro level as seen from a satellite last summer 2013.

Google Earth image 2013

Google Earth image 2013

Then there is the work of the hand in preparing seed for what the satellite cannot show

National Park Warden helping to prepare seed to sow on the Pen Trumau peat scar

National Park Warden helping to prepare seed to sow on the Pen Trumau peat scar

And the results of all that effort at the micro levelA green line beginsUnless you have been on the mountain you cannot know how hard it can be to move around in the wet, wind and slope yet for those of us who have made the trip these little green shoots mean more than words or pictures can express.

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Saturday 8th March, Woollen sausages making in Bristol

Join us in Bristol at the Create Centre to build a cardboard city and explore views , thoughts, ideas and information about climate change, and if that is not enough make some more wool sausages for Pen Trumau and eat cake!

Here  are details, arrive on foot or bicycle and have free home-made cake. Alternatively you can make a donation to the Somerset Community Foundation Flood Relief and still enjoy cake.

Add your voice to those we here all too often and who may not really have all the answers. Often  answers can be staring us in the face but it is questions we need to ask.

Create Climate Change Conversations

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Climate change week

As a start to try to bridge the gap between rural and urban environments we are taking Woollenline, or at least some of the components of it to Bristol as part of a Climate change week event, come and join us to create

Climate Change Conversations @ Create Centre
Saturday 8th March 2014 12.00 – 4.00 pm

Explore climate questions, viewpoints & ideas with related  activities  for all the family.

Work alongside artists, architects, inventors, scientists and friends to build a cardboard city whilst exploring ideas to embrace climate change. Add your voice to those of the ‘gods’, people we hear everyday with their own particular take on the subject.

• Create woollen sausages to help repair a fire damaged peat bog in mountains of the Brecon  Beacons one place where water and carbon are naturally stored(see http://woollenline.wordpress.com/) ;
• explore ‘good bog , bad bog’ bags and hear what is happening on the devon moors from the Exmoor Mires Project ( see http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/environment/moorland/mire-project
• Meet Heulwen and Mr. Chips the sunshine electric van and biodiesel cars from  Talybont on Usk Car Club and explore low carbon transport with the Eco Travel Network www.ecotravelnetwork.co.uk

How to find us: The Create Centre is in one of the three large red brick warehouses in Cumberland Basin, halfway between Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain. Click here for map and travel info.

Arrive in a sustainable manner and enjoy a slice of cake! All donations for refreshments will go to current flood relief

For further information email artistseekingattention@hotmail.com

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I guess that rain is pretty much uppermost in everyone’s mind at the moment. Certainly here we are generating full power with our micro-hydro electric scheme and have done for the past month ( so not all bad.) However I was sent the cutting written by George Monbiot about the floods in Somerset and  it set me thinking how hard it is to understand all the repercussions of our actions.

The mountains of Wales are quite different to the Somerset levels but nonetheless they do share important and relevant properties. Where  ground is permanently wet and waterlogged and there is an absence of oxygen decay of plant material is slowed to the extent that peat may form. If conditions allow  plants, that contribute to the development of peat, mostly mosses to go on growing  peat can accumulate.

On Pen Trumau it is the loss of a stable covering of vegetation and a change in hydrology that is preventing the scar from full recovery. All we can hope for is to halt the continual loss of this valuable water and carbon store.

In Somerset the issues  about peat are different but worth thinking about


Woollenline has always been about action and people but I wonder how many of us keep in mind just how important these water storing systems are and how they work. The January 11th  New Scientist  article about the geological origin of peat may help



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