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Trainees learn hedgelaying techniques

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Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 10.37.02THE NEXT generation of National Park Wardens and Rangers have been learning sustainable woodland management skills with the help of the educational charity Coppicewood College.

The five Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority trainees were instructed how to lay a hedge using traditional hand tools in Kilkiffeth Wood in the Gwaun Valley, as part of the Skills in Action project.

The trainees worked over three days to lay a hedge of immature blackthorn and hawthorn that was planted by the Park Authority around five years ago alongside a footpath.

Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden, said: “It is fantastic that these trainees have had the opportunity to learn these traditional techniques while at the same time helping conserve a protected site which is so rich in biodiversity.

“This work with the Coppicewood College follows on from a hedgelaying project with Keep Wales Tidy’s Long Forest Project that was completed alongside Skills in Action trainees from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority”.

Hedgelaying is a traditional method of maintaining a hedge to create a secure boundary – in the past it would have been used to keep livestock in or out, but it is also an excellent way of extending the life of a hedge.

By cutting plants at the bottom and creating a fence-like structure using living, laid branches, it encourages new growth and provides food sources and shelter for a range of insects, birds and mammals.

Skills in Action is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future grant programme and sees trainees given the opportunity to learn new skills through work-based experience with the National Park Authority’s Warden and Ranger teams.

Kilkiffeth Wood is part of the North Pembrokeshire Woodlands Special Area of Conservation and is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is home to dormice and also the rare string of sausages lichen.

Hedgelaying: The Skills in Action trainees worked using traditional and sustainable techniques to lay a hedge in Kilkiffeth Wood in the Gwaun Valley.

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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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Extra police patrols at Tenby skate park after ‘men approached young girls’

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CONCERNED locals in Tenby have taken to social media to write about concerns of inappropriate behaviour – between males they think may have been asylum seekers currently housed at Penally Army Camp – and young girls in Tenby.

The police have said they are investigating the matter.

Witnesses have said that young girls have been approached by males while at the skate park in Tenby.

The Home Office has said that the camp will be used to house up to 250 male asylum seekers whilst their claims are processed due to a shortage of alternative accommodation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports circulating on Facebook have claimed to have direct knowledge that male residents of the camp have been talking and exchanging contact information with local school girls, some suggesting that they were in school uniform when talking with the men.

However, the police have not confirmed that that is the case – it remains an unproved allegation.

One local claimed on Facebook: “So tonight a few of us concerned local parents decided to go to Tenby skate park.

“As we got there two young girls where sat on a bench waiting for someone.

“Some kids told us they were the ones talking to the men yesterday exchanging Snap Chat details and stuff.

“Then the men from the day before turned up… saw us and scurried off down the beach.

“The two girls then quickly wandered off.

“These girls were about 14.”

One resident had stated that they had reported the incidents he had seen and heard to the local police station, he claimed that an officer told him they were in talks with Greenhill School about the incidents.

Pembrokeshire County Council said that they are unable to comment on the alleged incidents, however a spokesman told The Herald in a statement: “All I would say is that our schools regularly advise pupils not to engage with strangers.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed they are investigating two alleged incidents at the skate park, and have been in contact with the local schools.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We have received two reports of alleged inappropriate behaviour at the skate park in Tenby and are looking to speak to the people who contacted us.

“In the meantime the skate park is now part of our patrol plans and we have linked in with local schools to reinforce the School Beat Stay SMART online messaging.”

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