No Fishing

This sign and its distorted reflection may say “No Fishing”, but the next photo below shows that there are fishing boats just round the corner from this entry point to the inner marina at Swansea.

no fishing

The other vessels in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter range from small to large sailing and motor boats of all types. The modern catamaran and the older style of sailing vessel below suggest something of this range – and all of the owners rely on the security the marina offers to keep them safe. However, I was a little taken aback when I saw the razor wire!

Lapping Water

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Eight Men and Four Women

It was a good day for my walk this week and the local rowing club obviously though it was good for them as well. They rowing up and down the river regularly – I don’t know how high up the river they go but in the past I have seen them up near the Liberty Stadium at Morfa where I enjoyed my walk last week.

rowing team of eight

I wasn’t able to capture the sounds of the rowers as well as take these photos but one of the sounds I did record at this stage of my walk can be heard below.

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Old and New

It’s quite common these days to transform the local docks into a fancy marina or other such housing and / or business development. In the case of Swansea people were not being moved out to make way for the new build and the docks are in diminished use in comparison to Swansea’s industrial heyday.

The SA1 area, as it is known, is situated across the river from the marina but the two developments are linked by the well designed millennium footbridge and a more functional footbridge at the lock from the marina to the river mouth.

old redbrick SA1 building

The old redbrick building above used to be one of the dock buildings of course and it along with the few other older dockside buildings in the area, sit well beside the wide range of modern architecture.

I have taken photographs of this architecture in the past but the images below function more as a contribution to my walk this week than a means of showing the architectural design of the area. If you do a search on the blog for SA1, you will be able to see some of those other images.

Swansea Millennium Footbridge

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My Walk this Week – River Tawe

My walk this week is another urban walk – in fact it is downstream of last weeks walk along the banks of the River Tawe. This time I am at the mouth of the river and looking around part of Swansea Maritime Quarter and SA1 area.

My starting point is the weir at the entrance to the marina. To its left (looking inland) there is one of two busy locks used by a wide range of vessels, but I was more interested in the patterns of water falling over the weir at different points.

weir water

In some places the water is very churned up following its descent over a structure of steps while further across the river the water is at first perfectly smooth as it falls over the curved surface of the weir. Further over again, where there appear to be rocks embedded in the curve of the weir, the water patterns begin to ripple and the froth on the lower surface of water appears to start climbing the back up the weir.

Weir Water

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Sensory Perception at the Lakeside

Nearing the end or turning point of my walk this week, I emerged from the riverside woodland footpath at the Enterprise Park near Llansamlet in Swansea. This zone has grown over the years and one of its main characteristics is that you are almost forced to take the car from place within the zone.

However, despite the sound of passing traffic (below), once I had crossed the road I was able to enjoy the lake that forms a central feature in the area. As in any urban area, there is always the background sound of city activity and traffic, but the lake here forms an essential and effective oasis from all that.

Lakeside

We need these oases in modern urban living, but it is not just a matter of them existing. We need to make sure we use them as they were intended and enjoy the natural benefits they can bring on a regular basis.

Walking around a lake or park, down a tree-lined street, along a river, we are offered the opportunity to not just exercise of our limbs, but also to exercise our sensory perception. Looking and/or listening is possible for almost everyone and in my experience is well worth it.

Passing Traffic

Lakeside Ambience

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Nature Taking Over

We are nearly at the time of year when it seems to me that as I walk or drive around both urban and rural areas, nature is about to pounce. The roadside and footpath plants are just laying in wait for the right moment to leap out and claim back the world that is theirs.

The evidence is starting to show – the living greenery pushing through the fence below only needs a second or two in the greater scheme of things to utterly take over the man made structure designed to hold things back, keep things in or out.

Fence growth

If you need more proof, then look at the wild garlic in the patch of riverside woodland below . . . and this is nothing in comparison to some other areas of woodland garlic I have seen.

During a recent drive on the Gower to help with a litter pick at Horton, I passed through the area of rolling woodland near Parkmill – I could not believe my eyes (or my nose) but I am sorry to say that it is a difficult place to stop your car when en route to another destination, so I did not get any photographs. I will have to put this in my diary for my next trip and make sure I have the time stop.

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Riverside Wildflowers

On my walk this week along the riverside footpath by the Tawe from Morfa it was Spring going on Summer and the flowers were out to prove it – all but the buddleia.

Approaching one of the footbridges across the river there were plenty of the ribwort in the image below. It is a wildflower I particularly like, partly because of good memories playing with them as a child, but particularly at this time of year when they are in flower.

wildflower - Ribwort plantain

Of course, all of the wildflowers are special in their own right, even the dandelion – when it’s not all over your garden lawn! Below there is also, wood violet, herb robert, cowslip and primroses all lining the footpath of the River Tawe. There is one more, but I will post that tomorrow!

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Riverside Trees and Buidlings

Trees and buildings, urban sounds and natural sounds, those are the defining features of my walk this week. The buildings were always there but were often well hidden by the trees.

buildings and trees

The birds were always there but they too were well hidden in the trees. People and dogs were evident as well but until writing this post I had not included them in the images I selected for any of my posts this week – what does that say about me?

There were walkers (adults and children), dog walkers, joggers and cyclists using the footpath and as can be seen in the one photo I have now included with people, they are very conscientious dog owners who have all cleared up after their dogs..

Walking the Dogs

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Under the Woodland Bridge

This was a first for me – viewing the railway into Swansea from underneath. For some reason it had not occurred to me that the Tawe riverside footpath would, at this location, inevitably pass under the railway.

There is something fascinating, even exciting, about the combination of natural and man made – wood, leaf, concrete and iron – the different (and similar) scales has as much to do with my fascination as the juxtaposed materials and textures.

Railway Bridge and trees

The reflection of the bridge in the waters of the river below provides a link between the hard functional materials of its construction and the more natural woodland lining the river.

Both the railway and the footpath were in use on this Sunday morning with plenty of walkers, joggers, children and dogs enjoying the woodland. However, I didn’t either see or hear a train during my walk.

Walking Conversations

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