My Walk this Week – Morfa and the Tawe

My walk this week is an urban one, although the footpath I followed from Morfa and the home of the Swans at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, to the lake in the enterprise zone at Llansamlet, could in some places be mistaken for a more natural setting, if not rural.

Liberty Stadium at Morfa

It was a Sunday morning and although the length of the walk was only about 2.2 miles, it took me about 2 hours just to reach the lake at my halfway turning point. That is more because of field recording than photography but both played their part in slowing me down.

I’ll post some sound clips through the week but to start with, it was the structural patterns of stadium architecture and fence design that interested me.

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Weobley Landscape – Reviewing the Walk

Back at the starting point of my walk this week and standing in front of Weobley Castle on the Gower, the view out over the salt marshes towards Burry Port and Carmarthenshire in South Wales was accompanied by a very blustery wind.

We had been very lucky with the weather – the wind had been kind to us in making sure the rain fell on those across the other side of the Loughor estuary.

These Taste of Gower walks take place each month and I am looking forward to the next one next week which will be at Llanmadoc and heading for Whitford. Fingers crossed for good weather again.

Salt Marsh Landscape

Listen to the soundscape and click on the first thumbnail below to view selected images from the walk in sequence.

Weobley Walk Soundscape

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Weobley Walkers

Towards the end of our Taste of Gower circular walk at Weobley Castle on the Gower we had one last area of open field to cross before the incline back up to the castle.

My parents used to go on many walks with a group that called themselves jokingly “The Wobbly Walkers”. This was a reference to their average age I guess, but the group of walkers at Weobley Castle, which could perhaps be called the Weobley Walkers, has quite a wide age range, with people joining in from many different walking clubs and other community groups of people sometimes described as “hard to reach”.

The Taste of Gower programme of walks organised by Steve Lancey from the Gower Landscape Partnership and Mike Aspland, has done an excellent job of encouraging people to get out and explore a part of the Swansea area in South Wales that, though well known, can be hard to reach for some people. To this end there is also an excellent bus service that is specifically aimed at enabling access to this Area of Natural Beauty (AoNB) and its Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as encouraging walking, cycling, etc. in other areas of Swansea Bay.

Taste of Gower walkers

footpath incline

 

Walking and Talking

Having left the fields and re-entered the woodland on this Taste of Gower walk at Weobley Castle on north Gower, we encountered yet more gates. There were many more gates and stiles on this walk than I have shown and this can sometimes cause delays if the group of walkers is large, but on this occasion it did not seem to be a problem.

Of course it may have been an issue of which I was unaware, hanging back from the main group as I was and taking photos of the conversations ahead of me as well as the colours, textures and patterns of different gates and mossy walls.

Woebley Walk-24

The soundscape below features a number of the gates on this walk. They do not appear in the clip in real time, instead I have composed this piece to emphasise the different sounds of the gates on the walk – its as though they have their own language.

Weobley Gates

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Dark Clouds and Sunlight

We were very lucky with the weather on the Taste of Gower walk at Weobley Castle. It can be seen below that there was bad weather nearby, but the trees at the edge of the salt marshes show that on north Gower at least, we also had sunlight.

Dark clouds and sunlight

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Descending Through the Wild Woods

Descending from the hill at Weobley Castle to the level of the salt marshes on my circular walk this week on the northern edge of the Gower Peninsula, we passed through some woodland which was filled with wild flowers.

It is always good to see bluebells and it is also good to see wild garlic. Even though the scent can be almost overwhelming at times, I love both the sight and the smell garlic in the woods.

Bluebells

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Alpacas Looking On

Having crossed the first couple of fields on my walk this week with the Taste of Gower walkers at Weobley Castle, we came upon one with three very curious and stylish looking alpacas. I am familiar with the curiosity of alpacas from my visits to The Waterside, but these three were no less entertaining for that.

Alpacas

The Taste of Gower walks are well organised and usually have three walk leaders making sure that everyone is accounted for. As the organiser of the walks, Steve Lancey was sharing his lead with both mid-group and back markers and though trailing a bit at times in order to do some field recording, I managed to remain close to the slower members of the group.

Gates, Wind and Walking

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My Walk this Week – Taste of Gower 16-1

My walk this week follows the first of the Taste of Gower walks for 2016 organised by Gower Landscapes Partnership. The same walk was done last year but this time round I have recorded the full walk and will present it here throughout this week.

The walk was circular, starting at Weobley Castle and farm where not only did we have the chance to look round the castle, we also got to see the lambing shed – there was a lot of bleating!

The weather was very good and the views across the salt marshes of Loughor Estuary and Burry Inlet were excellent.

Weobley Castle

Seemingly the sheep know to go in and out with the tide and it is the mixture of grasses and herbs that grow on the marshes that give the salt marsh lamb its unique taste.

Lambing Shed

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Pen y Fan – Reviewing the Walk

The A470 main road runs more or less parallel to this, the original road to Brecon, the regional town of the Brecon Beacons. I suspect it was relatively busy in its day but perhaps a little quieter than the current road.

There may have been quite a lot of people on my walk this week but I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Original Brecon Road

Pen y Fan Voices

Taf Fechan

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Looking Up and Looking Down

Backwards and forwards, looking up and looking down, these photos from my walk this week up Pen y Fan with the Living Taff group, show how clearly defined the footpath is and the sort of surface it has. I understand that the laying of the path started in the 1990s as a result of the ground getting mashed up by so many people doing the climb.

Having already walked in the Brecon Beacons for a few years, I think it was about 1989 or 1990 that I first climbed these particular peaks – Corn Du and Pen y Fan. That was before they started laying the path and I remember being lucky enough to have chosen a time that allowed me to have the place almost to myself.

Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons

The last shot below shows just a fraction of the parked cars on the main route through the Beacons on the A470 near the Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre. There are other routes to climb these mountains but my favourite walks are further west by Fan Nedd and Fan Gyhirych.

Having complained about the crowds, I should say that I also think it is wonderful that so many people from all walks of life are keen to do this walk – it can only do them good, both physically and mentally and with hard wearing paths laid to protect the ground from so many feet, it is a win win situation.

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