Rowntree Park, York

My Walk this Week 128 – Rowntree Park Soundscape

The soundscape for my walk this week in Rowntree Park in York, is formed by buggies and bicycles, footsteps and wheelchairs, skateboards and birds, children and adults – all enjoying the mid afternoon sunshine and warmth.

tall grasses

The sound file below describes and refers to the images in this and the two previous posts for this walk but does not say anything about the strange object amongst the trees that I noticed in the shadows from a distance. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I reached its other side – I assume it refers to an aspect of York’s history but as there was no information on it I cannot say for sure.

I did not explore the whole park on my walk but enjoyed every minute of it from the pergola to the ponds, the gates to the grasses, and all the activities of calm relaxation surrounding me. I like the gates to the park’s southern entrance, and their shadows, but have only just realised how closely they match the pattern of growth in my photo of tall grasses below!

Rowntree Park Soundscape

Fleet Bay

Calm Reflection – Gull Contemplation

A calm, hazy, hot day and the stone buoys that mark the entrance to a small disused harbour reflect in the water and a gull appears in contemplation of its quiet surroundings.

stone buoy 1

Like the gull, I too sit in contemplation of the scene and objects around me – stopping from time to time on all my walks to look and listen and absorb the sights and sounds, the textures, patterns and colours of the environment and feel the connections I have to all that is there.

Whether the connection is slow and seemingly timeless, as in the wrinkles and folds seen in the surfaces of rocks, or quicker, like the more immediate ripples of the water blown by the breeze, pushed and pulled by the sun and moon along with Earth itself (see Tides), the influence on me of these interconnections is sometimes obvious and noticeable, sometimes utterly imperceptible, but there nonetheless.

Imperceptible or not, I am aware that they exist and enjoy contemplating, or perhaps imagining, the ties that hold me (rather than bind me) to the intricacies of the planet and all that exists and lives upon it.

Contemplating Quiet

open park

Looking at Lavender on Leaving the Park

I think it was probably volunteers that planted this beautiful lavender in our local park, and a beautiful addition it makes  too! The park is managed and developed through a combination of the Friends of Coedbach Park and the Swansea City Parks Department and they’re doing a great job.

lavender

The park has many different features including two oak woods known locally as the first and second woods. They are divided by a driveway that leads past a playground, tennis courts, bowling green, BMX track and pond to the rugby club and playing fields. It is a very well used park Continue reading

walking route

My Walk this Week – Silent Walking with WWAMH

My walk this week is from an event in West Wales with WWAMH (West Wales Action for Mental Health). I had been asked to run a couple of StillWalks taster sessions for their “Let’s Celebrate Gardening” event at Clynfyw Care Farm and so I focused on sound walks – or perhaps I should say silent walking.

WWAMH at Clynfyw

The benefits of walking in a group are primarily social – you get to chat with friends or meet new people in an active way and often in a pleasant natural environment. My own preferenceContinue reading

bracken detail

The Density of Bracken

The density of the bracken on the steep hillside down which I was climbing cautiously, is common on the open commons of the Welsh landscape. While bright green in the Spring and Summer, it changes the hills to bright red in the Autumn when the light is right.

Beneath the bracken

We are having August weather this year as if we were already in Autumn and the bracken is now beginning to change colour. However, it was still bright and thick on this walk back at the end of June. My poor knees were aching from the steep descent (I much prefer climbing) and I had to sit down to give them a break half way down the slope. Continue reading

Kunsthuis Colour

My walk this week around the gardens at Kunsthuis Gallery in north east Englandnon a beautiful end-of-summer day revealed a lot of colour. After crossing one of the wooden footbridges over a small river, I carried on past a creatively arranged children’s play area and then through a tunnel-like path amongst some trees to discover a wildflower garden at the extremity of the property.

Summer Flowers

Heard But Not Seen

I don’t really know how I managed to get these photos without any people in them! The sound clip gives the evidence for plenty of people, children and adults, being there. The railings in this first shot surround the lake in Brynmill Park in Swansea and are near the Discovery Centre which has an ice cream counter amongst other things.

As often as not the tops of the railings are lined with pigeons but on this quite busy day they were more often to be seen in flight than at rest.

park railings

Another Sneeze in the Park

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Visiting Corris and its Narrow Guage Railway

My walk this week was my first visit to Corris in the Welsh mountains. I have passed it on the main road often enough but never had the opportunity to stop. It is a beautiful place even when wet and now that I have had a look around, I know that there is a narrow gauge steam railway to be enjoyed.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of this feature as I had other plans for a StillWalks production walk up the mountain above Corris Uchaf and overlooking Tal-y-Llyn but if you are planning a holiday in the area . . .

Morris railway station

Morris railway station

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Sounds Down the Street

Having crossed the road on my walk this week I continued walking down the street and found myself enjoying the various sights and sounds much more than I would normally in an urban environment. This was because I was looking and listening to everything around me – I was focused on what could be seen and heard and not thinking about what had to be done that day or a forthcoming meeting, none of the things that are usually going through my head on a working day.

In the midst of a busy working day and what can seem like cacophonous activities or surroundings, we can take a rest just by changing our focus and paying attention to the intricacies of our local environment, outside or inside, urban or rural.

Walking down the street

The urban aural environment is obviously different to the rural – this is confirmed visually for me when I look at the spectral display for a sound clip like the one below. I am used to seeing the patterns of bird song in a sound clip and depending on the bird, these sounds show up at a range of different frequencies – the cries of the gulls in this clip are at a relatively low frequency. The highlights shown scattered across this spectral display create a quite different pattern and seemingly quite random – they are  the squeaks and squeals of vehicle brakes. Some of these, the highest pitched, are out of my hearing range these days, but it’s good to be able to see that they are there.

Walking Down the Street

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Sound clip spectral display

Sound clip spectral display – click to enlarge