reserving nature

My Walk this Week 253 – Revisiting the Nature Reserve

My walk this week returns to the nature reserve I began exploring a couple of weeks ago with my phone camera. When I returned with my DSLR camera I enjoyed finding practical angles and appropriate subject matter to try and represent the tangled and wild environment.

Some of this old quarry has been used as a bit of a dumping ground in the past, but even the these items are being swallowed up by nature and I suspect that the only object that will resist both time and natural forces is that dreaded and indestructible material plastic.

Nature Reserve – Listen out for the Red Kite at 0:20, 1:04 and 1:23 as it wheels around, harried by a crow.
The valley below

My Walk this Week 252 – A Walk Up the Valley

On my walk this week I didn’t attempt to document my walk up the valley – I went for the walk and nothing else. But then, as so often happens, I got distracted by all the wonderful aspects of there environment around me – in particular the river.

So I took some video showing various elements of the water flow and the changing associated sounds and then continued on my way.

The mossy dead tree below points the way of the river flow (just in case you weren’t sure), but it wasn’t until I climbed up the eastern slope of Cefn Drum that I took one or two more snaps on my phone. These include the curious object I found lying at the track side – does anyone have any idea what it may once have been.

Moss Metropolis

My Walk this Week 250 – Virtually a Forest

My walk this week is through what is virtually a forest. I mean “virtually” in a few ways:

  1. Only photos and sound are used, so it is not the real thing.
  2. It was once more than it is now, a large section of it (most of the conifers) have been harvested as originally intended.
  3. This is my main reason for using the word virtually – I was doing the walk as a production walk for a StillWalks® VR 360 video.

Recently we have been trying this out and after several trials, this will be the fourth SWVR 360 video. It is not being made public yet as a resource to add to the normal StillWalks® video collection but we have been getting feedback which suggests that while some will find this fully immersive experience very effective, others will prefer the more meditative flat screen 2D StillWalks® videos, finding the VR version to intense even though it is a genuine StillWalks® production with no voiceovers or music. The SWVRs do, however, use video rather than still photography.

If anyone is interested in looking at one of the SWVR videos, this will require a VR headset (there is not a lot of point in it if you are just going to scroll around a 360 video on YouTube). You will at least need a Google Cardboard viewer (quite cheap). You should express your interest in the comments and I will be able to provide a private link to one of the videos (with license restrictions attached) and ask that you feed back any thoughts about your experience.

In the meantime I have included a short soundscape and still photographs from my walk which I hope you will enjoy. Click the play button below and then click the first image to move through a carousel of the gallery.

slow exposure

My Walk this Week 245 – Dulais River

My walk this week focuses on an unfamiliar view of my local river, the Dulais. I explored up a path beaten through brambles and whin to a rocky promontory above the river as it flows through the valley woodland, swollen by recent rains. Flooding is largely prevented by defences installed higher up the valley some years ago.

I had intended walking much further but was distracted by the small path which I have passed so often and yet not ventured along until now. It was something of a scramble to get to the rocky platform above, but worth it to get this new perspective on a familiar feature.

So my soundscape this week is almost entirely fast river flow and is contained in the video above. 

Quarry reflections

My Walk this Week 244 – Old Quarry

My walk this week took me to an old quarry which looks quite different now to what it did when I first saw it about 36 years ago. What was once mostly water has filled out with a thick array of different trees and shrubs.

The way up there was muddy and the river was flowing fast with all the recent rain. The quarry water, however, was still and quiet and I enjoyed the peaceful reflections of the plants that now almost completely hide the rock face of the quarry walls.

I was reminded by the blackened stones of a camp fire of my youth and the enjoyable times I had with friends in just such wild places as this in Northern Ireland. However, we never left the mess of cans and plastic bottles that are to be found in this place. I have managed to avoid them in my photographs but I am sorry to say that the thoughtlessness of those enjoying themselves round the camp fire here today, was very clearly in evidence.

Somehow, we need to change the misconception by some that there is no connection between us and our environment (natural or man-made). Our interconnections with it are everywhere all the time – we affect it and it affects us. There now, I have said my piece as concisely as I can. I do not want to be political on this blog in any way but this is partly what StillWalks® is about – perception, appreciation and understanding of the world around us.

trees and sky

My Walk this Week 241 – Sunset at the Start

My walk this week was my first walk of 2021, at the start of the New Year. My daughter and I walked up Graig Fawr, a local hill, and watched the sun set over the landscape – it was beautiful and peaceful.

It is a walk I have done many times before but not for a couple of years – it was good to see the meandering Loughor Estuary reflecting the colours of the sky once more.

Being the first day of the year and in the current pandemic lockdown, the landscape was quiet, no background traffic and just the hint of a breeze up on top. It was, however, relatively busy! We must have passed 10 or 12 people in all as they descended the mountain – all couples with the same idea of taking in the view and hoping for a good start to what is likely to be another difficult year. 

So to everyone out there, remember to appreciate what we have, take care, stay safe and keep calm.

My Walk this Week 240 – Forest Morning

My walk this week starts in the early morning with the setting moon and the sun rising over the landscape before climbing up through a local forest.

It was my last walk of 2020 and cold! The mist over the winding River Loughor in the valley was very atmospheric and I was in awe (yet again) at the beauty of my surroundings.

It was a very good walk with which to end the year, allowing me not only to enjoy the landscape but also to escape from the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown. The coniferous section of the woodland has been harvested but I am familiar with that now and even in the middle of Winter can see the changes with a more positive eye.

The pleasure I get from a sunrise or open landscape is equalled by my enjoyment of thick moss in a more enclosed forest environment. A sunrise or sunset is always beautiful, but moss is such fun – I cannot help but smile when I see it in such abundance.

equine observer

My Walk this Week 235 – Forest and Woods

My walk this week looks at the loss of a small forest and the enjoyment of local woods. To be fair the conifer forest that is now gone was originally planted with the intention of harvesting the lumber and the area is being replanted with native deciduous trees. All the same, the change was and still is a bit of a shock to the senses.

The day was still and quiet but as always there was the background sound of traffic. However, as I was not listening to the traffic but instead enjoying the stillness and the birds, I decided to filter out that more urban ambience from the video above.

The intimacy of the Autumn – Winter woodland with its wet leaves and moss plus the curious observers of my audio visual activities is something I have missed recently as the last time I was here was back in August.