Mynydd Gelli winter view

My Walk this Week – A Sprinkling of Winter

We rarely get any snow in the small town where I live and so when I awoke to find a thin Winter sprinkling in the garden, I assumed that there would be more of it all around us on higher ground and I prepared to take a walk later in the morning.

Mynydd Gelli tree

So I was surprised to find naked trees and moorland when I set off up one of the hills in the lower reaches of the Mawr, the upland area just north of Swansea. No white blankets to be seen,Continue reading

Late afternoon

Witch Hazel in a Late Afternoon Landscape

The light was diminishing on my walk this week at the NBGW but the late afternoon still revealed some good views and wonderful details. One of my particular favourites in this respect was the Witch Hazel. The Botanic Garden of Wales has many of these and at this time of year they are blossoming with their beautifully coloured and wacky flowers – the colours make me think of the cocktail, Tequila Sunrise!

Witch Hazel

There was also a crooked oak tree that looked as though it was using one of its own fallen branches as a crooked walking stick to hold itself up. It reminded me of this old rhyme:Continue reading

NBGW Country Seat

Looking and Listening Seats for the Landscape

The attractively designed benches situated along my walk this week at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) are ideal facilities for looking at and listening to the surrounding landscape.

NBGW Landscape 2

At the moment I am focusing on the looking rather than the listening. It wasn’t actually raining on the walk but the ground was very wet from recent weather . . . as were the seats. Everything in fact, looked Continue reading

NBGW lake

My Walk this Week – Landscape Ageing and Restoration

My walk this week is from the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW), though it turned out not to be the walk we had expected as the Pont Felin Gat woodland was closed off to the public for clearance / restoration work. The images show one of the existing lakes in the gardens as well as the site of another lake from the past. This is being restored but in the meantime the landscape of tree stumps creates some fascinating patterns, textures and colours.

So we followed the “blue” walk instead and climbed past old farm buildings which also look in need of restoration. Again, the colours, patterns and textures revealedContinue reading

Grass in the Bay

Natural and Man-Made

My walk this week took me through Swansea University’s Bay Campus to the open view it has of the expansive Swansea Bay. The combination of the natural and man-made had a number of crossover points – one of these was how cold it was with the wind chill coming off the sea, exposed as I was both in the open and amongst the buildings.

Beach Perspective

Other overlaps of the natural and man made came in the birdlife and young trees planted around the buildings, the moat-like sea defences (I suspect that, one day, these will not be enough), the rusting structure of an old disused outlet pipe onto the beach, and the industrial view looking east to Port Talbot.Continue reading

River Dulais bridge

Out of the Light and Into a Rhododendron Tunnel

Having risen towards the sunlight at the start of this walk, I then had to descend again, and in doing so took a route that led me through a natural tunnel rhododendron tunnel.

This is the final part of my walk this week and a slight change of format. I am no longer going to post a review of the walk each week so if you want top see the rest of the walk you will have to visit the two previous posts.

Rhododendron tunnel

The tunnel is dark but feels fabulous and the middle of it is the quietest section of the walk. While the images below cover only the last part of this walk, the soundscape is from the whole walk which starts and ends with the sounds of the Dulais River or Afon Dulais.Continue reading

April - Woodland

April To May – Reviewing the Second Quarter

For this first week of 2018 I have picked out some of my preferred shots taken on the many walks I enjoyed last year. Today I am looking at a few of my favoured photos from April to June 2017 and if you want to see more of them, just select the posts from the monthly archive on the blog page.

Valley mist

Valley Frost Revealed – Reviewing the Walk

When I arrived at this viewpoint near the start of my walk this week, the valley was filled with a thick fog. Now, having had a peaceful walk through the forest, the valley is revealed, and it is cold with frost.

Valley frost

In a couple of my posts about this walk I have described the woodland as peaceful, and indeed it was. The background sound of traffic on the motorway is almost always there but there are a few pockets of peacefulness that allow virtually complete escape from that sound.Continue reading

sheep and frost

Open Landscape and Under Cover

Reaching the highest point on my walk this week allowed me to look out across the open landscape to towards the Gower Peninsula. Every time I stand in this spot I take a couple of photos and on this occasion I was also tempted by the rising sunlight and pale frost covered fields to capture the fence heading off in perspective to be silhouetted against the sky.

Open perspective

Heading back under cover of the woodland my aural experience was still and peaceful and I tried to keep it that way by taking careful footsteps on the soft ground – not so easy when the ground is covered in crisp leaves from Autumn, but straightforward enough when on the thick carpet of pine needles and moss. Tomorrow I’ll post my short soundscape for the walk.

Pre-dawn silhouette

My Walk this Week – The Golden Light of Dawn

The day felt cold but looked good for my walk this week with the mist and the golden light of dawn. The natural colouring in the image below makes it look like an old photo, I think, with its sepia tones, but in fact nothing has been done to it other than a fairly restrained crop. I posted it on Instagram and Facebook and it got a few likes, but here it is again.

Misty Sunrise

I started out on my walk from my garden, looking through the hedge to a “red sky in the morning”, as the old adage goes. I needed no warning about the weather though, as I was going for a walk in the woods anyway.

Regular followers of the StillWalks blog should be becoming familiar with the woodland that is the feature of this walk. Hopefully I am able to shed a different light on it each time I visit. Of course it is the light of the sun and the time of year or day that changes the look and feel of any location and on this occasion the woodland dawn was . . . hmm, can you have a muted spectacle? It was spectacular and though muted by the mist, this only made it even more magical.Continue reading