President Barbara opened the meeting of New Hedges WI by introducing the guest speaker, geologist Mr Chris Evans, from Colby Woodland Garden Estate.

Mr Evans told the ladies about the history of Colby and how coal mining played a major role in its development. In the early 1800s the land was owned by John Colby whose interests lay in mining and hunting. In partnership with Lord Milford, they started drift mining, with nine or 10 pits probing the narrow Anthracite seam stretching across the Colby land. It was a hard and perilous life for tenant families, from five-year-olds to grandfathers, working manually in the limited space and conditions of the time. Proceeds from this industry enabled John Colby to build the Lodge in 1803 and to enjoy his other pastime of hunting.

By the end of 19th century the Lodge and estate was bought by Samuel Kay, a chemist from Stockport visiting Tenby. The Kay family planted the woodland garden and pathways. In 1965, Miss Mason, family granddaughter, sold the lodge, walled garden and some land to Mr and Mrs Peter Chance. When Miss Mason died, 1979, the woodland garden and estate was left to the National Trust. Upon his death in 1984, Mr Chance gave the garden and lodge to National Trust to complete guardianship.

Laura thanked Chris Evans for sharing all the information and giving an interesting insight for this beautiful Pembrokeshire estate.

Refreshments followed, thanks to the hostesses for the day. Raffle was won by Sheila and Jocelyn. Competition for ‘A dream Dinner Guest and Why’ was won by Pat H. 2nd Anne and 3rd Pat M.

Business matters continued. Birthday members for July and August were greeted with our good wishes. There was a good response from last month’s belated Coronation Tea. Some members had attended Summerhill WI’s Strawberry Tea. Newsletter was read through and highlighted.

There is no meeting for August. In September New Hedges WI will be holding a Curling session for all to take part in or to sit and laugh at those who do. October will be a Harvest Ploughman’s tea and the competition for homemade chutney. Get pickling, ladies!

Social chat followed before Barbara closed the meeting. Everyone is welcome to the next meeting, which is at 2pm on September 14.