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National Trust launches Pembrokeshire festive event

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An artist’s impression of ‘The Erddig Glow’: Light displays illuminate the 18th century house.

An artist’s impression of ‘The Erddig Glow’: Light displays illuminate the 18th century house.

NATIONAL TRUST WALES is offering people of all ages a chance to escape the crowds of the busy high street this year with an advent’ calendar of events lined up for December to keep all the family entertained. For the perfect Christmas feast, visit Stackpole Outdoor Learning Centre, where National Trust Wales will be holding a traditional four course banquet on the December 5 and again on December 12.

As well as indulging on roast Pembrokeshire Turkey and Heartland reared beef, visitors can dance the night away to a five piece band. Whilst December will be full of events being held up and down the country at the National Trust places, Colby Woodland Garden will be preparing for its calendar of New Year events that promise to take the edge of the January and February doom and gloom. Colby Woodland Garden will be the perfect place for people of all ages looking for interesting and engaging activities to kick start 2015; starting with the Seascapes Curiosities Workshop which will be held on the January 24.

The event will see visitors foraging for materials and inspiration in the Garden with which to create beautiful prints and nature inspired designs. Other workshops taking place in the New Year include photography, needle felting, weaving, wood carving and wood turning, all of which are great opportunities for crafty types who love to learn new skills and get back to nature.

National Trust Wales is this year bringing a unique sprinkling of Christmas joy to one of its most enchanting listed properties – through a magical night-time illumination of Wrexham’s Downton Abbey-esque Erddig. The Erddig Glow, taking place on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, will see a string of exciting light displays illuminate the 18th century house and its romantic walled garden, complete with coloured uplighters, static projections, feature lighting and more. Search lights will shoot up in the sky from behind the property which will be seen for miles around – making the house a perfect backdrop for a night-time stroll to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a feast for the senses.

What’s more, the front of the country house – which reflects the upstairs downstairs life of a gentry family over 250 years ago – will this year have an animated projection of an advent calendar that will truly bring to life the spirit of Christmas. The colourful display of numbered windows and doors has inspired a digital advent calendar which has been created to highlight key moments taking place across the places that the National Trust care for in Wales this December. It’ll be packed with events, recipes, key dates and lots of handy hints and tips – perfect for those looking to make the most of the season and get into the festive spirit with their loved ones.

Places featured include Bodnant Garden, Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle, which sit near and within the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park, as well as Erddig, Chirk Castle and Powis Castle. Dyffryn Gardens and Tredegar House in South-east Wales are also featured as well as a cluster of beautiful places scattered throughout the west of the country, including Llanerchaeron, Stackpole and Colby Woodland Garden. Justin Albert, Director National Trust Wales said: “We know how important Christmas traditions are for families young and old all across Wales.

Our festive celebrations this year aim to re-kindle the magic of Christmas and let people enjoy the wonders of outdoors despite the drop in temperatures – whether making their own decorations, carolling or enjoying a glass of mulled wine during a walk among our vast gardens. “There’s tonnes going on at each of our places and we can’t wait to welcome people across the country in for a mince pie and a taste of Christmases this year.” National Trust Wales is inviting people to go to (link to be provided) to see the advent calendar and watch as new hints and tips are unveiled day by day.

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Community

Environmental projects supported by Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund

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PROJECTS involving worm composting, community planting and solar panels were just some of the projects that recently received support from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.

More than £140,000 was awarded to eight projects at the committee’s January meeting with the next deadline for applications set for 12 noon on 23 March.

Clynfyw Care Farm was successful with an application for a vermicomposting project, which will create a quality rich sustainable compost that can be used to improve soil conditions organically. This will support local vegetable producers and sequestrate carbon in the process.

The Newport Area Environment Group will receive funding to lead a community planting project promoting decarbonisation through biodiversity.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy secured financial support to research a Pembrokeshire-wide Energy Efficiency program, with the aim of reducing energy use and tackling fuel poverty by increasing and normalising the uptake of low carbon life choices.

Funding for photovoltaic (PV) panels was agreed for projects submitted by Herbrandston Sports and Recreation Association, South Ridgeway Community Association, Neuadd Gymuned Bwlchygroes Community Hall, Ramsey Island Nature resort and Visitor Centre, and Crymych Rugby club, who all received funding to help harness solar energy.

Directors from Clynfyw Care Farm said: “Thanks to funding from SDF, this worm composting project will be a useful tool for engaging with people, reducing CO2 and teaching a simple sustainable process with important stages in a safe, supported environment. Once established, vermicompost will be available for purchase in local outlets, providing an environmentally-friendly alternative for local growers.”

Applications for funding are encouraged from not for profit groups, including village halls, community councils and environmental groups in the county who have a project that will contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

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Did the world’s first airplane fly in Pembrokeshire?

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WHEN asked who was the first to fly an airplane, you’d probably say Wilbur and Orville Wright, more commonly referred to as the Wright brothers. However, you’ve probably never heard of Bill Frost, a Welshman who many say was the “first man to fly.”

Born in Saundersfoot on May 28th, 1848, Bill Frost was a carpenter on the Heyn Castle Estate.

Clearly, as a handyman, he was in the perfect position to build a plane, and this obsession, if the tale is to be believed, was strengthened in the winter of 1876. Legend says that Frost was carrying a large plank of wood on a windy day when a large gust of wind picked him up, carried him several feet, until he returned to the ground with a rather rough landing.

What followed was, shall we say, some rather odd behaviour.

Locals reported seeing Frost running around fields, with a large sheet of zinc above his head, presumably trying to get another gust of wind to lift him up. Although he was testing the limits of aerodynamic designs in all likelihood, he was of course branded rather bizarre locally.

Many locals also attributed this behaviour to grief, as his wife and daughter had recently died. A religious man and deacon of his local chapel, one could understand locals believing he was maybe trying to get to Heaven.

In 1894, things started to get serious for Frost, who applied for a patent for a flying machine on October 25th. To describe the patent would be to describe an amalgamation between a plane and a glider, with two reversible fans which would, he hoped, lift him into the air for a successful flight.

Bill Frost with his wife, Annie, in 1896 . Bill lived until 1935.

Then, the patent said, wings would be spread via a lever and another lever would control whether the aircraft was moving up or downwards.

With his practical knowledge and his interesting research methods, Frost began work on building the aircraft.

He did so in the workshop of his house on St Bride’s Hill, an impressive feat when you consider it was over 30 feet long.

Reports state that the aircraft was built out of bamboo, canvas and wire, with bags and pouches filled with hydrogen to help it stay afloat.

The patent, in full, reads: “The flying machine is constructed with an upper and lower chamber of wire work, covered with light waterproof material. Each chamber formed sharp at both ends with parallel sides. The upper large chamber to contain sufficient gas to lift the machine. In the centre of upper chamber a cylinder is fixed in which a horizontal fan is driven by means of a shaft and bevelled gearing worked from the lower chamber. When the machine has been risen to a sufficient height, then the fan is stopped and the upper chamber, which has wings attached, is tilted forward causing the machine to move as a bird, onward and downward. When low enough it is again tilted in an opposite direction which causes it to soar onward and upward, when it is again assisted if necessary by the fan. The steering is done by a rudder at both ends.”

A book has been written about the subject

So, why are the Wright brothers considered the first men to fly?

Well, for starters, there’s no photographs of Frost’s flight, nor any written testimonials. However Frost himself, as well as several locals in the area, claimed that on September 24th, 1896, Frost flew for approximately 500 yards.

This, if true, would have been a considerably longer flight than the Wright brothers achieved.

The end of the flight was not so successful, however, as the bottom of the craft hit a tree and crashed into a nearby field.

Not deterred by this, Frost repaired the machine, however it was then destroyed in a storm some weeks later, and Frost could not afford to build a new one from scratch.

His patent expired four years later.

Without a craft for another flight, and with no photographic evidence, his claim to be the first man to fly, unfortunately, can not be verified.

In 1935 Frost died aged 90 years old. Although he held no grudge against the Wright brothers, he did state that the government had turned down his application for funding following his first attempt, which scuppered the hope of any future flights after his craft was destroyed.

The reason for this? The government claimed that aircraft would never be used for navigation or warfare; a statement that looked very foolish as World War I began to play out.


HTV footage from the 1990’s on the Bill Frost story (Youtube)
 

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Library reservations service expanded

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Library Service has extended its reservation service.

Customers can place up to two reservations for books and audiobooks, which are available and in stock at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

Items are also available to reserve from the service’s Stack (store).

Library members can place reservations free of charge, in person or via the online catalogue.

To access the online catalogue, log on to https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture and select ‘Find Library Books’.

Customers can also place a request for an item not currently in stock, to be purchased as one of their two reservations.

The Library Service is not offering an Interlibrary Loan service at the present time.

For details on the library services currently offered in Pembrokeshire, please view https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture

 

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