My walk this week takes me from valley floor to forest interior and looking through the trees. The forest is a lot smaller now than it used to be, but it is still a place I love and no matter how often I visit, I always find something new about.
On this occasion I ventured into the interior and realised that others had been before me when I discovered a narrow warn path through the trees as a parallel alternative to negotiating the muddy, flooded track that until now had been my usual route.
Check out the image sequence as well as my view through the trees in the video below.
My walk this week is up the uplands, or to give them their local name, The Mawr. I love The Mawr! It is an expansive area of moorland occupied by skylarks, pheasants and judging from this walk, badgers and / or foxes. I am sure there are many, many more creatures living there but one creature that is perhaps there in fewer numbers is human beings. That makes me sound anti-social I guess, but I’m not – perhaps I’m just greedy for space!
For those locals that may be interested and are under the impression that the escarpment shown in the video above is part of Pontarddulais (or Bont) Mountain, I would like to correct the names being used for this element of our landscape. Thanks to a mistake by GoogleMaps, the names of this small mountain and the one next to it are incorrect. The mountain featured in the video is Twyn Tyle and the one becoming known as Bont Mountain is in fact named Cefn Drum. It seems that only the elders of our community know this but it is something GoogleMaps needs to fix – the names are correct on the Ordnance Survey maps. There now, that’s my short rant over.
I am sure you can see from the photos below what it is I love about this landscape. I am sorry there is no soundscape to accompany the images, but trust me, the sound was there – wind, skylarks, more wind, more skylarks . . . and so on 😉
My walk this week is from Swansea Bay – it wasn’t the brightest or warmest of days but it was definitely a calm day at the beach. You can see from the sea that it was flat calm and the incoming tide featured not so much waves as ripples – it was very peaceful.
Fortunately Swansea Bay is quite expansive and this meant that all the people taking advantage of being allowed out (lockdowns and all that) still had plenty of space between them. I’m not sure how much the birds appreciated the calm weather – certainly the gulls seemed a bit irritable, bickering between each other as they do. It always appears to me that when the wind is up, if anything enjoys the blusters and gusts by the sea, it is the gulls more than anything else.
The colours in the images below show a darker day than it felt, but they are calm. The textures and perspective seen on the beach from thousands of worm casts really excited me but I did not get a satisfactory close up.
My walk this week sees some changes to a local urban nature route I have not walked for a couple of years. In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of new house building going on in our area and so it was no surprise to find almost every last nook and cranny filled with new homes when I reached the top of a local hill where there had been a few plots still vacant at my last visit.
The climb up there is short but steep and I enjoy the vigorous energy needed to ascend at the start of the day as well as the views to be found along the way. Or at least that is what I thought! Not only has there been more building but also the fencing off of once open fields from which views in all directions were possible.
But the small wood with big trees is still there and the sound of birds at this time of year dominates everything else.
You cannot beat nature and why we try is beyond me! People do though – trying to tame and take control – but nature will always win out in the end and there is a good example of this below in the image of the tree having “eaten” the barbed wire of a fence.
But now I have a question – can anyone tell me what the species of almost luminous green moss / mould / fungi / lichen is on the old tree stump in image 8 below?
My walk this week returns to the nature reserve I began exploring a couple of weeks ago with my phone camera. When I returned with my DSLR camera I enjoyed finding practical angles and appropriate subject matter to try and represent the tangled and wild environment.
Some of this old quarry has been used as a bit of a dumping ground in the past, but even the these items are being swallowed up by nature and I suspect that the only object that will resist both time and natural forces is that dreaded and indestructible material plastic.
On my walk this week I didn’t attempt to document my walk up the valley – I went for the walk and nothing else. But then, as so often happens, I got distracted by all the wonderful aspects of there environment around me – in particular the river.
So I took some video showing various elements of the water flow and the changing associated sounds and then continued on my way.
The mossy dead tree below points the way of the river flow (just in case you weren’t sure), but it wasn’t until I climbed up the eastern slope of Cefn Drum that I took one or two more snaps on my phone. These include the curious object I found lying at the track side – does anyone have any idea what it may once have been.
My walk this week is a circular one with the circuit including the Loughor Estuary and salt marsh on my doorstep and also an old quarry which for many years has been a neglected nature reserve.
The space of the estuary was as enjoyable as ever and although it cannot be heard in the video below, I can say that I heard curlews calling as well as the range of other birds enjoying the watery habitat of the river and marsh.
As my walk extended my route took me past an old quarry that I have only tried exploring once before. On that occasion, later in the year, the tangle of brambles made it impossible to get more than a few metres into the neglected reserve. However, those same brambles are not so thick just now and although it was still a bit of a fight to make any progress, I was able to get a better idea of what the place is like.
My walk this week is through what is virtually a forest. I mean “virtually” in a few ways:
Only photos and sound are used, so it is not the real thing.
It was once more than it is now, a large section of it (most of the conifers) have been harvested as originally intended.
This is my main reason for using the word virtually – I was doing the walk as a production walk for a StillWalks® VR 360 video.
Recently we have been trying this out and after several trials, this will be the fourth SWVR 360 video. It is not being made public yet as a resource to add to the normal StillWalks® video collection but we have been getting feedback which suggests that while some will find this fully immersive experience very effective, others will prefer the more meditative flat screen 2D StillWalks® videos, finding the VR version to intense even though it is a genuine StillWalks® production with no voiceovers or music. The SWVRs do, however, use video rather than still photography.
If anyone is interested in looking at one of the SWVR videos, this will require a VR headset (there is not a lot of point in it if you are just going to scroll around a 360 video on YouTube). You will at least need a Google Cardboard viewer (quite cheap). You should express your interest in the comments and I will be able to provide a private link to one of the videos (with license restrictions attached) and ask that you feed back any thoughts about your experience.
In the meantime I have included a short soundscape and still photographs from my walk which I hope you will enjoy. Click the play button below and then click the first image to move through a carousel of the gallery.