Walks, Walking and Wilderness

I am always on the lookout for new walks.

Whether it be the natural or man made environment, I try to keep my eyes and ears open for interesting things or a way to look at something that makes it interesting.

These photos are from a short exploratory walk I did recently when, driving along a small country road through what felt like a complete wilderness, I passed a “footpath” sign. These signs always make me want to stop immediately and take a closer look at the route to which they point.

On this occasion it was easy for me to stop and park the car off the road and grab my cameras. I wasn’t able to go very far on this occasion but I will certainly be exploring the area more in the future. The location was near Cwm Cerdinen,  just over the mountain from where I live in South Wales.


This week’s featured StillWalks video is set a few weeks ahead of the current date in terms of the time of year but the flowers and activity of the birds celebrate the beautiful sunny weather of Spring with gusto and are a welcome change to the wild, wet and windy weather we had through Winter.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Garden Park Walk – Spring” which features Clyne Gardens in Swansea, South Wales. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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What a Lot of Wattle – Fencing at Llys Nini

Wattle fences are becoming common at Llys Nini Animal Centre.

One of the many woodland jobs carried out as part of Llys Nini Animal Centre woodland management is the building of wattle fences. The woodland is managed by Phil Morgan and it is he, along with an extensive team of adult volunteers and visiting school children, who create these wonderful pieces of weaving in the natural environment.

This abandoned section of wattle fencing I came across in one of the fields next to the woods, gave me some great subject matter for my photography. I love its unwinding form and apparent keenness to get back to the earth.

Wattle fence

wattle fence detail

Wattle Fence

And the sounds were like this

I had forgotten that if I am posting sound files, I need to embed them in the post if they are to be seen in an email. The post that went out this morning only had the two sound clips below linked to the StillWalks SoundCloud account. That is fine for many of my followers but for those who receive and read the posts in an email, here are the two sound clips recorded at Llys Nini Animal Centre woodland last week. Like I said, the birds sing regardless of conditions and traffic and care not what recording equipment you may use.


Incredible Fungi in the Ghost Forest

The Ghost Forest is a permanent external exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales which features huge tree stumps and their roots from the rain forest.

The trees in the Ghost Forest, most of which fell naturally in storms and have their roots intact, are ‘ambassadors’ for rainforests worldwide,” said Ms Palmer. “The absence of their trunks is a metaphor for the absence of the planet’s lungs through deforestation.

It is clear from the exhibits how majestic the trees were when standing in their natural environment. Their contribution to a natural, sustainable environment, alongside those others in the rain forest, must have been as substantial as the trees themselves.

Hopefully, the attention that this exhibition attracts to the issue of tree felling in the rain forests and other woodlands around the world, will grow and spread like the fungi that has now appeared on the stumps in the exhibition. They are amazing objects, both trees and fungi and of course, one would not exist without the other.

These are my final iPhone photos this week from the Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire. The first shot was taken using the iPhone Camera app and the fungi shots were taken with PureShot. very little pst production adjustment was made to any of these photos.

NBGW Ghost Forest

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Similarities or Differences – Moss Wood, Gnoll Park

Next week’s featured StillWalks video is another wood in Autumn. Today is your last opportunity to see the current featured video from Penllergare Woods in Swansea.

Moss Wood is not just another wood in Autumn! Every woodland features trees but when you start looking at the detail and listening to the sounds, you will soon discover that the fact that a wood contains trees, is just about the only thing about them that can be said to be similar.

The trees of a deciduous wood will drop their leaves in the same season and grow new ones similarly. However, considering last week’s posts about how the seasons roll out at different rates according to location, each wood will look and sound different at any point in time.

Both Penllergare Woods and Moss Wood in Gnoll Park, Neath, have a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees. Both have lakes and running water. In each, the leaves are turning and falling just now, and so you see similar colours. And so the similarities continue . . . and yet they are completely different.

The arrangement and prevalence of types of tree, the position and lay out of the streams, rivers and lakes – all are different. And so, inevitably, the atmosphere and sense of the two places are quite different. The weather conditions are similar in both woods as they are no more than 15 or 20 miles apart, but as the topography is different, so the sound of each place is different, and completely unique to the time and place from moment to moment.

Moss Wood Walk 1

Moss Wood Walk 2

Moss Wood Walk 3

Moss Wood Walk 4

You can use the new Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Woodland Walk” which is from Penllergaer Woods near Swansea, South wales. Click the image below to watch the video.

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Interesting Objects in the Woods

The sound of many pheasants in yesterday’s post was not accidental. There are many pheasants on the Gower Peninsula, but I had not seen or heard such a concentrated number of them before.

When I went into the woods at Cwm Green, I discovered various objects that seemed to have a specific purpose that appeared to relate to the rearing of pheasants, presumably for the shooting season. Not being an expert on these matters, I was only guessing at their use but the fact that there was an enclosure protected by an electric fence suggested something along these lines. In fact, I wasn’t sure that it was still in use as it looked as though it had not been tended for some time but I wasn’t going to touch the fence to find out.

What I liked was the way the other objects around the area were clearly settling nicely into their natural home and becoming a part of the woodland undergrowth. How ever much we think we can influence or control nature, in the long term, we are only a danger to ourselves if we do not respect the natural environment.

Cwm Green Woods-1

Cwm Green Woods-2

Cwm Green Woods-3

Cwm Green Woods-4

Cwm Green Woods-5

You can use the new Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Woodland Walk” which is from Penllergaer Woods near Swansea, South wales. Click the image below to watch the video.

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Wildlife Habitat

All images from this series of posts are available at StillWalks Photography.

The StillWalks video “Old Railway Track Walk” features many of the things you will find in a habitat like this – one that has been left to its own devices.

Over more than thirty years the trees have grown up, the brambles thickened, the wild flowers spread and I imagine the unseen wildlife is many times more abundant than that which we can see.

The photos below follow from yesterday’s post and are some of those taken for the StillWalks video.

Old Railway Walk-Cow ParsleyOld Railway Walk

Old Railway Walk-Spider

Signs, scenery and a pony in the woods

This was the view I had from Three Crosses Community Centre whilst waiting for the rest of the dragonfly hunting group I was with last week. It was very pleasant sitting in the sun with a light breeze to cool me.

Looking across the Gower Peninsula, it struck me that there were a lot of signposts. However, they did not spoil the view but rather created an interesting mix of patterns and structures through which I could see the natural beauty of the landscape.

We accept or learn to accept a lot of things in our need for order in society and the power we want to run our lives – like the millions of electricity pylons and increasing number of wind mills, sky scraper skylines and network of roads to name but a few of the interruptions to our views. We want what they bring and they do not necessarily spoil the view – it is more a matter of how you think about them.

Having said that, there should be balance in everything and we cannot afford to lose much more of our natural habitat – after all, the horses need their shade!

Signs and Scenery

Signs and Scenery Pony in the Woods

Pony in the Woods