Sheep en route

My Walk this Week 177 – Cefn Drum and Its Birdsong

My walk this week took me to the lower slopes of Cefn Drum where evidence of all the rain we have had recently was clearly to be seen with muddy ruts filled with flowing water.

Looking up the valley

Starting with a familiar gate and cattle grid, I followed some disgruntled sheep up the track and under the pylons to negotiate a route around deep wet ruts and puddles reflecting the cloud patterns of a clearing sky.Continue reading

sunrise

My Walk this Week 143 – Up Hill and Down Valley

My walk this week is another early morning one – the moon was setting as I left the house and as I climbed up hill, the sun was just beginning to show its colours reflected on the clouds. I was on this hill, Cefn Drum, last week but on this occasion I was walking in the opposite direction and returned along its opposite side, looking down on Cwm Dulais.

early morning sky

The day promised to be brighter than last week but the clouds kept intervening and the light kept changing accordingly. It was still a beautiful walk and I had not covered part of the route before. Having always looked at the rocky ridge of Twyn Tyle from the far side of the valley,Continue reading

patchwork landscape

My Walk this Week 142 – Circular Hill Walk

For my walk this week I started out early, when it was still quite dark, but this circular hill walk was really very enjoyable, even though the sun never managed to break through and the whole day was dim.

Early morning light

The day was just beginning for birds and builders alike and these start-of-the-day sounds accompanied me as I climbed Graig Fawr. Up on top the wind took over and gently buffeted me as I looked through the grasses and old brown bracken to the Loughor EstuaryContinue reading

Barring the Way and Reviewing the Walk

The sheep that accompanied me on the last stage of my walk were barred from continuing by the effective but simple design of a kissing gate and a cattle grid. My geology walk this week with geographer Geraint Owen and other walkers was both thoroughly enjoyable and informative. The walk was arranged by our local library and I imagine they may be involved again in the arrangements for a second outing to complete the walk route.

gate and route home

gate and route home

Geology Walk Soundscape

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Scratching the Surface

My walk this week followed the route of one of the geology walks described by Geraint Owen in Scratching the Surface leaflets. Geraint led a group of about 12 of us but we only managed to complete half the distance. The information he delivered at various stopping points along the footpath up Cefn Drum was fascinating and as a result slowed our progress.

Twyn Tile

Twyn Tyle from Cefn Drum

Had we continued on from the summit of Cefn Drum we would have reached the end of Twyn Tyle in the image above. The pattern of scars seen along the slopes of of the hill are old mine workings – closer shots can be seen below.

The full walk is estimated to take about 4 hours but when you take into account the interest of walkers in listening to the walk leader talking about the lie of the land and the make up of the ground beneath your feet, more time needs to be allowed. None of had brought a packed lunch so we decided to descend again and arrange a new date to complete the full circuit.

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Perspective on the Landscape

Looking across to the Gower Peninsula from Cefn Drum shows the Loughor Estuary and the dip of the rock strata made up of Pennant Sandstone on top with coal measures below, Carboniferous Limestone and lastly Old Red Sandstone. It is the Old Red Sandstone that forms the ridge of Cefn Bryn on the Gower and further north, the upland of Mynydd Du. Being on top of Cefn Drum we are right in between these two.

Loughor Estuary from Cefn Drum

Loughor Estuary from Cefn Drum

The sounds on top of Cefn Drum are typical of this landscape with a warm wind blowing from the south west and the skylarks entertaining us above.

On top of Cefn Drum

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Rocky Details of the Landscape

My walks up Cefn Drum, Cwm Dulais and Graig Fawr are some of my favourite local routes. The opportunity to find out from an expert about the geology of the area was not one to be missed. The landscape is beautiful at any time of year and just now it is particularly green.

Looking at the landscape as we walked up the side of Cefn Drum the colour of the non native rhododendrons was passed but similar colours were showing themselves in the foxgloves.

Cwm Dulais landscape

Cwm Dulais landscape

Our next stop on the walk allowed Geraint to show us more plant fossils and also a visitor to the area in the form of a rock that had been brought here from the Gower Peninsula not by truck but by glacier.

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My Walk this Week – The Geology of Cwm Dulais

My walk this week was organised by our local library with Geraint Owen, a geographer from Swansea University (UWTSD). Geraint gave an excellent talk at the library a few months ago and so when the opportunity came up to join him on his geology walk route for Cwm Dulais I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

The image below may not seem to have much to do with geology but there is a relationship here. I first have to admit to loving bog cotton as a plant and so when we came across it there was no way I was going to pass it by. However, in geological terms the plant is there because as its name suggests, the ground was boggy. Now wind back time several million years and consider the fact that bogs make peat which when compressed over millennia turn into coal . . . and that brings me to the starting point of our walk – the old Cefn Drum and Graig Merthyr colliery location in Cwm Dulais.

Bog cotton

Bog cotton

The start of my walk was a solitary one as I walked up the valley to meet the rest of the group near the site of the old colliery. The waste heap is no longer there now but is spread across the hillside of Cefn Drum. We scrambled about on this looking for evidence of ancient plant life in the stones and coal that now makes up a casual track used by motorbikes. It was higher up the hillside that we came a upon the bog cotton.

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Lonesome Tree Pointing The Way

This is not the first shot I have taken of this tree but that is, perhaps, hardly surprising – it is an obvious subject that, standing out against the skyline, almost begs to photographed.

As I approached the top of the hill my walk seemed directed by the tree which appears from this angle to be pointing the way to the cairn in the distance. On the way back down it also seems to be pointing the way whereas unreality it is just telling us the direction of the prevailing wind.

Cefn Drum 3

Cefn Drum 3

Click on the first thumbnail to view larger and in sequence – you can listen to the sound clip above at the same time. It’s the same clip I posted yesterday but as it represents the same section of the walk I thought it the best one to use.

lone tree