Autumn pine

My Walk this Week 133 – Autumn Woodland

My walk this week is through a section of the forest in Penllergaer Valley Woods near Swansea in South Wales. I was keen to find a moment in our currently wet weather to see the colours that I know exist here at this time of year. Being a valley means you get to see the and hear the woodland from different vantage points with overviews of the slopes of yellowing trees as well as the closer details around the footpaths.

The soundscape is different in the depths of the valley to that on its upper edges – this is partly because, down below, you are sheltered from the background sound of traffic on the motorway. But the sound of birds is still masked somewhat by the waterfall at this time of year when it is raging and thundering down from the lake.

I hope that you will click the play button below and listen to the soundscape while viewing the images in sequence – perhaps the sound will help to bring the images to life and bring you closer to my own experience of the walk.

Autumn Woodland Soundscape

Hidden in the Trees – Reviewing the Walk

The endpoint of my walk this week at Penllergare Valley Woods was the cafe at the northern end of the valley. The cafe was only developed in the last few years by The Penllergare Trust who are restoring the gardens to something t like their original state in Victorian times. Much of the work is done by volunteers and if you are interested in helping or becoming a friend, visit their website for details.

Penllergare Valley Woods cafe

Below I have selected some of the photos from my posts this week which you can view in sequence while listening to the soundscape of the walk. Click the play button and then the first thumbnail image to review the walk.

Penllergare Valley Woods Soundscape

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Valley Viewpoints and Detail

There are a number of “viewpoints” along the various upper footpath routes at Penllergare Valley Woods. Some reveal the amazing range of greens to be seen in so many trees. Others allow you to look down on lower path networks or reveal the contrast between trees and water.

Penllergare Valley Woods - lake

As I near the end of my walk this week, there are cultivated details to be seen as well. The yellow welsh poppy may grow naturally all over the place, but the old tree stump these wildflowers are springing from may have had a helping hand in the positioning of plants. If so, then it was very well done!

Welsh poppies

Penllergaer Woods-30

Rock Design

Walking along the upper footpath on the western edge of Penllergare Valley Woods, you can find (if you look) an area dramatic rock faces towering above the woodland floor. My first photo today was taken on my iPhone and reveals the structure and patterns in the rock.

The structure in the rock is obviously natural, but whether it is natural that these patterns have been revealed, I cannot say. I wonder about it because so many features of the valley were designed by John Dillwyn Llewellyn during Victorian times and it is entirely possible that the drama of the feature was intended.

Either way, nature has entirely taken over now and although there are more rock faces to be seen than I have shown here, the more the season moves on, the more the greenery tries to hide them.

rock patterns

On this upper footpath the distant sounds of Swansea and other signs of man can be heard more easily in the background than on the sound clip I posted on Monday at the start of this week’s walk. That piece of field recording was made near the valley floor which is shielded from the urban influence.

But the sounds of an urban environment can come and go according to the lie of the land in your immediate surroundings. Sometimes the background soundscape can be hidden by features like this enclave of rocks, while at other times the rocks themselves may reflect those sounds back to you. So much depends on the atmospheric circumstances prevailing at the time of listening.

Penllergare Woodland Sounds

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Broom Bloom

Moving to higher ground from the woodland river on my walk this week in Penllergare Valley Woods, we came upon a familiar meadow where, a year or two ago, we picnicked in similar sunshine. A broom was in full bloom and my favourite ribwort provided a foreground to this peaceful scene on a beautiful day

broom bloom

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The Sound of Water

In any Welsh woodland you are unlikely to be far from the sound of running water – or any other part of Wales for that matter, woodland or not. Penllergare Valley Woods is no exception and on my walk this week, I could have recorded any number of water sounds.

The sound from the stretch of river seen below was quite gentle but it is by no means always like this.

Penllergaer Woods-15

River Sound

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Enjoying the Waterfall

There are people hidden in this first photo today from my walk this week at Penllergare Valley Woods – you can just see them near the centre of the image. They are enjoying the area on the river where the waterfall from the lake flows over the rock arrangement constructed by John Dillwyn Llewellyn back in the 19th century when he was developing the original valley gardens.

Penllergaer Woods-8

The colour of the rhododendrons in this image is accompanied by foxgloves below, and then there is the beautiful yellow of buttercups in a marshy looking meadow displaying the lushness of the environment at this time of year.

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My Walk this Week – Woodland Wander

My walk this week takes me back to Penllergare Valley Woods. I have produced StillWalks videos of all four seasons here but that is no reason not to take another look. In this walk the conditions are inevitably different and as well as that, further work has been done in the park by The Penllergare Trust volunteers.

I don’t remember this arbour and arch being here perviously and of course, the next time I visit, it will have grown more and changed again.

willow arbour in the making

I wil  be posting just one or two sound clips from the woods through this week, but I have a soundscape for the walk to post on Sunday with the walk review.

Penllergare Woodland Sounds

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