My walk this week is from ten years ago and features an annual event that would be taking place again this year if it were not for the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
It is a StillWalks® video that has never been shared as it features a fair number of people. However, as ten years have passed, I hope this will not be an issue and this year’s event will be missed by many.
My walk this week meant that I was working up above the place I have been working in for the past nine months. Sitting outside at break times in good weather, I would look up at the hills overlooking the bay and wonder if there was a footpath that would allow me to look down from above.
Finally, this week, the opportunity arose and on investigation I discovered there is no footpath and some of the land is private. However, a helpful resident told me his kids play up there and on taking a closer look, I found the route they had worn over time.
It was a steep clamber through the wild woods but on reaching a rocky outcrop near the top, I was rewarded with the views I had been seeking. I felt a bit like an intruder to a hidden lair but and I cannot imagine many other people (if any) making their way up there. With my kit bag on my back and seemingly insistent on dragging me back down the hill head over heels, I was grateful to find a rope tied between a few tree trunks to aid the persistent climber.
The soundscape reveals the ambience of the bay as well as that of the woods. Sitting on the outcrop of rocks the full scene could be heard with deep rumble of traffic beneath the mid pitches of the sea and the higher pitches of seagulls. Turning back to dip down from the edge of the slope the ambience changed – the traffic disappeared, the sea became distant and flies could be heard buzzing among the damp undergrowth.
Back in the woods on my precarious downward journey, jays were calling vociferously. But as always seems the case with jays, I couldn’t tell whether they were arguing about something or laughing their heads off at a good joke (probably me negotiating the steep, muddy slope).
My walk this week is in the recently re-opened Swansea Botanic Garden and Singleton Park. The Botanic Garden is within the park and had been closed for the coronavirus lockdown.
And thinking of lockdowns and locks, the sound of a garden attendant locking up at an earlier time than would normally be the case, is featured in the soundscape below and took us a little by surprise. We had not been there very long but enjoyed continuing our walk in the park, taking a different route from that on our last visit.
The garden and park were looking beautiful with so many flowers on display, it was a real pleasure to be there and sit quietly for a short while looking at all the colours and listening to the birds and ambience of the area.
What would we do without these natural (albeit cultivated) spaces in our urban landscapes?
My walk this week is back on my local salt marshes where the evening was still and the midges were out in their millions.
I went down there for the sunset and then had my back turned, recording sound, when it actually dipped below the horizon.
It was a still evening and there were not many birds singing but as always in this environment, there are gates – specifically four, but there were more people using them than just myself. I have included four in the soundscape but had I included all the instances of use on this short walk there would have been the sound of at least ten!
I understand and accept that by now you may think me obsessed with gates, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. Aside from the individual audio characteristics they have which I enjoy, they are symbolic of so much. They are way markers, milestones, entrances and exits simultaneously, thresholds, limitations, invitations – and they come in so many designs!
There is a bird that appears in the recording at about 01:10 – it was in the woods at the edge of the marsh but I do not know what it is. If anyone can tell me, I would be pleased to know. The Covid-eased traffic is ever present on the motorway but I have focused more on the other sounds in the trees and on the marshes.
Marshes Evening Soundscape
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My walk this week takes a look and a listen to what was at one time a railway track. Listening to the soundscape for the walk also means returning to the sounds we were used to pre-pandemic.
The old railway track could still be seen in places when we first moved here many years ago. Things have changed significantly over that time and this part of that old rail route has become a wonderful slice of wild woodland. Unfortunately I suspect its days are numbered as the ever encroaching local housing and road developments continue apace and I was sorry to find my way blocked by a building site.
The soundscape below could have been edited down further. Although there are few birds singing at this time of day, I still enjoyed the sound of the wind in the trees and even the nuances of the distant motorway traffic. Returning to what was, pre-pandemic, means inevitably more traffic on the roads, jet aeroplanes in the sky (listen carefully) and of course the sirens of police cars. This last one I decided not to include and is the point at which I stopped recording.
My walk this week repeats the route along the cycle path I posted about a few weeks ago, but to my surprise there were more differences on the walk than I expected.
I thought it would be a challenge to present a different post about the same place so soon, but it seems my lack of a sense of time extends beyond the delay in writing this post (I have been a day behind in my head all week) to a perception that less time has passed since I last walked this path.
The wild flowers in bloom now, compared to those a few weeks ago, demonstrate the fast pace of natural changes at this time of year. While I enjoyed the patterns and textures of my last walk there a month ago, it is wonderful to see the rosebay willow herb and other wild flowers come back into colour.
Cycle Path Soundscape
The photos and sound were again recorded on my iPhone and due its sensitivity to wind, the soundscape above is shorter than my usual. Hopefully you will still enjoy it while looking through the images.
The pool in the river is empty of children this time but shows that idyllic spot on a Summer day where, on my last walk there, you could hear the sheiks of laughter from local youngsters making the most of a hot day and ignoring the Covid-19 lock down advice on social distancing.