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

Peace and Pylons

I was amazed at how peaceful this dewy Autumn morning walk was. As I climbed up Cefn Drum towards the electricity pylons the wind was almost non existent and I could hear all the other tiny noises of the landscape around me.

I enjoy listening to the sounds of the environment (any environment), but I also enjoy the occasional peace that you get on a day like this. If you listen to the 5 minute clip below, what do you hear? Listen out for the obvious things like the skylarks and other birds such as pheasant – do you also hear the dog in the distance or the similarly distant hammering as someone works somewhere over the other side of the valley.

The feint base in the sound clip is the motorway. It is the still air more than anything else that has kept this sound from travelling up the hill as it normally does. Air pressure and humidity also affect the way sound travels so on this particular day all atmospheric conditions must have been favourable to a quiet, peaceful hillside.

Pylons

Cefn Drum 2

pylons

This monochrome version of the pylon image can also be seen on Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post Monochrome Madness MM 2-33.

dew on grass

Autumn Leaf and Reviewing the Week 41

It seems the sweet chestnut is one of the trees that sheds its leaves earliest in Autumn. This one is on its way but the stage I like these leaves best, after they have fallen, is probably into the Spring when they have been lying on the ground for months and have gone thin and papery. Their structure breaks down and their colour becomes pale, almost bleached. I have photographed them like this in the past and you can see the results in one of my previous posts here.

autumn leaf

Event, Horizon – Sunrise

I don’t think this can be described as an event horizon, but it is definitely an event taking place on the horizon! Of course the actual light in the sky at this point (as in the previous post) is greater than is shown here but the photographs being somewhat underexposed represent more accurately the sense of drama, the emotion of the event as it happens in real life.

The horizon is that of Cefn Drum, one side of Cwmdulais, the small river valley just to the east and a tributary of the river Loughor. Cefn Drum and its neighbour Graig Fawr are two more walks I would count among my favourites in this area.

sunrise

Sunrise

Peacocks in Cwm Dulais

Birdsong ID – Following my walk to the top of Graig Fawr last week I met up with Martin Humphries (ex RSPB), Ed Tucker (Bio Diversity Ranger) and others for another birdsong ID walk. This time the walk was down the Cwm Dulais valley next door to Cefn Drum in South Wales. There were an amazing number of birds up there but I don’t think I am getting much better with my identification skills.

Peacocks among the chickens – One bird I can identify from its call is the Peacock and we were surprised to come across these as we passed by Chuckle Chicken Poultry. We didn’t see them, so no photo I’m afraid, but the sound is proof enough.

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Dulais River, Cefn Drum

Dulais River, Cefn Drum

Anya

Anya

Birdsong ID in action

Birdsong ID in action

Dulais River and Foxgloves

Dulais River and Foxgloves

Old post coming to life

Old post coming to life!