Blog posts by year and month January 2011

Posts (91)

  1. There has always been something of a debate about the Anglo-Zulu Wars of 1879, particularly with regard to the numbers of Welsh soldiers involved in the Battle of Isandlwana and at the defense of Rorke's Drift. Battlefield at Isandlwana. Photo by Trudy Carradice. Often legend and roma...

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  2. Most people have, at some stage in their lives, listened to the song Keep The Home Fires Burning. It was one of the most popular tunes in the trenches during World War One and still has the ability to bring a pang to the throat or a tear to the eye. Ivor Novello Yet how many people re...

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  3. Efforts to safeguard the population of a very rare winter flower, the Radnor Lily, have been stepped up by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW). Radnor lily. Photo courtesy of CCW. The flower's sole UK habitat is the Stanner Rocks near New Radnor, which are 700 million years old. The rocks are managed by CCW and is a distinctive rounded hill clothed in part by woodland of native trees and pockets of important grassland. Andrew Ferguson, CCW's senior reserve manager of Stanner Rocks, said: "The Radnor Lily has been found, with its very occasional small yellow blooms, along with several other rare species including mosses. They flourish on the relatively arid rocky outcrops and thin soils that create a marginally suitable environment for a selection of wild plants that more typically would grow in northern Mediterranean regions. "Sites like Stanner Rocks deserve special treatment and that's just what the management plan devised by Forestry Commission Wales and the CCW has been delivering. We identified the need to fell blocks of non-native trees and to manage the undergrowth in order to encourage these species to flourish. So a lot of shade was removed from the hill top, thus providing new areas for some rarities to spread." The felling project has also had the benefit of assisting in providing an improved habitat for the Stanner Rocks' other rare species, the Hazel Dormouse and the Southern Wood Ant. "The dormouse's woodland habitat, particularly food and shelter, is provided by plants such as hazel, bramble and honeysuckle that flourish here where there is sufficient light," said Ferguson. "The felling of some heavily-shading trees has allowed light to reach towards the woodland floor, such that hazel nuts and blackberries can ripen for food." "Not only is [the project] good news for many of the special wildlife features of this site, it also provides an outstanding viewpoint for the public from the top of the hill. Walkers can freely access the top via public footpaths that lead from the A44 trunk road without entering very sensitive and potentially hazardous parts of the National Nature Reserve [NNR]." The NNR beyond the level parts of the quarry floor and below the top of the hill is not open to the public. Access within the NNR should be arranged in advance through the Countryside Council for Wales enquiries desk on 0845 1306229.

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  4. Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield has told Contactmusic.com that the band were nervous approaching their "heroes" for turns on their latest album. Manic Street Preachers Of working with Ian McCulloch (Echo And The Bunnymen), Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses) and John Cale, James Dean Bradfield said: "It felt natural to get heroes on the record. We were so surprised those people agreed. It was like asking a girl at the school dance to get up with you. "Ian McCulloch was the first person I saw live in 1985... John Cale was a massive inspiration when I was young. Back then we felt south Wales was a bit isolated but to see a Welshman go to New York and communicate to the world in the coolest band in the world was special. When I realised he was Welsh it made me realise it could be done. I had met John a few times and loved his solo work so I bit the bullet and rang him up, But we made sure they were musically relevant and not just used as names. "I can't believe we have Duff MCKagan from Guns N' Roses on the album. He is one of Nick's favourite players. It does blast away all your cynicism when stuff like that happens."

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  5. We've had a respite from the heavy rain today but there is more to come this evening. The Met Office has issued a warning for southern counties from Swansea across to Cardiff, Monmouthshire and The Valleys. Another 15 to 20 mm of rain is likely with 30 to 40 mm on higher ground and given t...

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  6. In just over six weeks' time, a life-size bronze sculpture of Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley will be erected in front of the Denbigh Library Museum and Gallery. Stanley, who was born in Denbigh in 1841, became famous for trekking through African jungle to find Scottish explorer Dr David ...

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  7. A new survey by Visit Britain's suggests that Welsh castles are the main draw for foreign visitors to Britain. Caerphilly Castle. Image by Sam Pritchard. Researchers spoke to 10,000 holidaymakers from overseas, who put a tour of Welsh castles as their "must-do" activity on any trip to ...

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  8. Ros Bayliss submitted this remarkable video clip to our BBC Wales Nature Flickr group. It features a barn owl out hunting but watch how close it flies to the camera!

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  9. We very rarely cover battle-of-the-band type things on this blog, as by and large they're pointless endeavours with no lasting impact. However, there's a north Wales singer up for an award this weekend who may buck the trend. Katie Benbow The Open Mic 2010 final takes place this Satur...

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  10. This week's show is blessed by an exclusive three-song session from John Lawrence. John was a founder member of one of Wales' finest bands of all time, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Now by any measure that's a fine legacy to have following you around but it's one that shouldn't obscure John's significa...

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