My Walk this Week 254 – Changes

My walk this week sees some changes to a local urban nature route I have not walked for a couple of years. In recent years there has been a tremendous amount of new house building going on in our area and so it was no surprise to find almost every last nook and cranny filled with new homes when I reached the top of a local hill where there had been a few plots still vacant at my last visit.

The climb up there is short but steep and I enjoy the vigorous energy needed to ascend at the start of the day as well as the views to be found along the way. Or at least that is what I thought! Not only has there been more building but also the fencing off of once open fields from which views in all directions were possible.

But the small wood with big trees is still there and the sound of birds at this time of year dominates everything else.

You cannot beat nature and why we try is beyond me! People do though – trying to tame and take control – but nature will always win out in the end and there is a good example of this below in the image of the tree having “eaten” the barbed wire of a fence.

But now I have a question – can anyone tell me what the species of almost luminous green moss / mould / fungi / lichen is on the old tree stump in image 8 below?

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.
11 arched bridge

My Walk this Week 251 – Estuary Circuit

My walk this week is a circular one with the circuit including the Loughor Estuary and salt marsh on my doorstep and also an old quarry which for many years has been a neglected nature reserve.

The space of the estuary was as enjoyable as ever and although it cannot be heard in the video below, I can say that I heard curlews calling as well as the range of other birds enjoying the watery habitat of the river and marsh.

As my walk extended my route took me past an old quarry that I have only tried exploring once before. On that occasion, later in the year, the tangle of brambles made it impossible to get more than a few metres into the neglected reserve. However, those same brambles are not so thick just now and although it was still a bit of a fight to make any progress, I was able to get a better idea of what the place is like.

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. 

frilly fungi

My Walk this Week 237 – Detail and Nuance

My walk this week returns to some detail and nuance from this time two years ago – which tells you I have run short of time this week!

The image above seems an appropriate one for the time of year but it is not any association with Christmas decorations that interests me, but rather the natural outline the holly leaves have. Is it a lightening of the pigment in the leaf or simply the effect of light on its edges. Does nature have a sense of design?

It’s all in the detail they say (whoever they are) – I prefer to think of the detail as nuance. But nuance is only apparent when you look at, or listen to, the details. The changing frequencies of the quarry ambience and the flow of the river in the soundscape below or the patterns and textures of the various foliage and frilly fungi in the images.

These are a selection of the photos I took in this place two years ago and it looks and sounds as though that year was as wet as this one. Now I want to go back there and look again, not to compare but simply to enjoy the privacy of the space and the secrets it holds.

Old Quarry Soundscape

Play the soundscape and click through the carousel of images as you listen.

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. 

trees in sunlight

My Walk this Week 234 – The Park Through My Viewfinder

My walk this week looks through my viewfinder at our local park and its pond – Coedbach Park. Coed = wood and Bach = little, so Little Wood Park.

The video above of the pond and the images below were all taken on my DSLR, my “proper” camera, rather than my iPhone which I have used so often lately for my posts. I may have expressed some frustration with the iPhone images but I wouldn’t complain about the quality of the video it takes. The audio was recorded separately on my Zoom H5N recorder.

It was a walk taken at an opportune moment during a busy week when the sun was a rare sight. One advantage of working from home (for many more of us now) is that you can often be flexible with the hours you put in. I would argue that it is important both for yourself and your employer (if you have one) that the health benefits of taking a break for a short walk round your local park, or even just around your garden (again, if you have one), are such that it is invaluable to all – yourself, the people you work for, the people around you. everyone in fact.

I wonder if there is any chance in the future, in the “new normal” as it is being called, that a recognition of the benefits to be gained from activities such as this will become a strategic part of business models and company operations. We can always hope!

early evening sunlight

My Walk this Week 231 – Going With the Flow

My walk this week is necessarily another local one and is going with the flow in more ways than one.

The literal flow is in the Afon Camffrwd, a small local river swollen somewhat by the recent rains. A more existential flow is about me taking the walk in the first place.

Near the end of another day of regular showers the need to get out and calm my mind, exercise my body and enjoy my surroundings was obvious to me. We have to accept and deal with the current pandemic situation as best we can. While I am able to continue my work in tapestry weaving and sound as a result of a stabilisation grant from the Arts Council of Wales National Lottery Good Causes fund, I am still affected, along with everyone else, by the Covid-19 lockdown and the restrictions that go with it. It is a strange and unsettling experience for us all.

Again the soundscape for this walk is in the form of a short video, but there are some more details from my walk in the images below.