I’m helping out in Brecon where residents around the old Cae Prior farmland have applied to register two of the fields as a town or village green. The registration authority, Powys, are holding an Inquiry into the application starting on 13th October 2015. Open Spaces Society would like more local correspondents, and Powys is one of the gaps.
I took the bus to Brecon, rushing off without my Garmin. I had been told Cae Prior fields are an easy walk from the bus station, and assumed locals would direct me. Not so. The tourist information thought it might be Priory fields half an hour away by the river. Luckily, I asked Bikes & Hikes opposite who got their laptop out with OS maps, and the cross field paths above Camden Crescent looked nearer and more likely.
Camden Road, opposite the bus station, has fine old bay-fronted houses and on the corner of the Crescent was a large property with the name CaePrior. This was, in fact, the original farm with the newer houses behind built on some of its fields. Some were built in the 1960s and more in the 1970s.
The newer houses and roads were quiet. I asked a family if they knew Cae Prior fields and the son suggested fields behind a stile to the left of a gate which he obviously knew, if not the name. I followed the road and, sure enough, there was the stile by the gate with a well-used if narrow entrance into a field sloping upwards.
I looked across the field from the stile. A footpath typically shows a strong track, while village green activities would more likely have a spread because not everyone goes the same way. Informal recreation would reduce the growth too relative to, say, the gateway which did not look to have similar use to the grassland beyond the stile.
I walked across and round the two fields, noting many ill-defined marks through the grass (see below) consistent with dog walking or people enjoying the place like me. There are also well-defined sheep tracks, with droppings.
The livestock wander freely between fields and up to a local high point or twmp, and I found the sheep in the right hand field, from which I could see that people as well as livestock find their way, over a squashed fence by a dry trough, up to the twmp.
It was peaceful and nothing seemed bothered. A rabbit sat until I got close. Some gaps in the gorse looked like animal runs, and others opened up, like young people’s dens.
There was little rubbish if people were hanging out. Tidy folk here. The odd bit was near a big tree with a branch which might have had a swing, or under a hedge where someone might sit.
Most striking was the stunning views when wandering round the grassland and the natural or old agricultural features. You could enjoy the wonderful views without climbing up to the twmp.
The gateway between the two parts of the green for had an old gnarled tree and solid post.
There were butterflies and birds (I am rubbish at photographing either), orchids to see and I easily found unripe cob nuts and sloes.
A spider had made a spectacular web.
The area has good fencing on the boundaries and a single gate to one property, ensuring that the livestock are safe and that entry is via the rights of way.
Open Spaces Society are supporting the application. I certainly enjoyed my visit to Cae Prior fields and can appreciate why people in the locality want it registered.
It would also be a good place for a photograph for Open Spaces Society’s 150th anniversary year celebration OSS Photograph Competition – I shall have to go back through the photos and pick one.