Barring the Way and Reviewing the Walk

The sheep that accompanied me on the last stage of my walk were barred from continuing by the effective but simple design of a kissing gate and a cattle grid. My geology walk this week with geographer Geraint Owen and other walkers was both thoroughly enjoyable and informative. The walk was arranged by our local library and I imagine they may be involved again in the arrangements for a second outing to complete the walk route.

gate and route home

gate and route home

Geology Walk Soundscape

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Rocky Details of the Landscape

My walks up Cefn Drum, Cwm Dulais and Graig Fawr are some of my favourite local routes. The opportunity to find out from an expert about the geology of the area was not one to be missed. The landscape is beautiful at any time of year and just now it is particularly green.

Looking at the landscape as we walked up the side of Cefn Drum the colour of the non native rhododendrons was passed but similar colours were showing themselves in the foxgloves.

Cwm Dulais landscape

Cwm Dulais landscape

Our next stop on the walk allowed Geraint to show us more plant fossils and also a visitor to the area in the form of a rock that had been brought here from the Gower Peninsula not by truck but by glacier.

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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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Closing the Gate and Reviewing the Week 60

My walk this week followed a track up a local hill, Graig Fawr. It is my intention to produce a StillWalks video from the photos and field recording I did on the walk. Below is a selection of images from this weeks posts about this walk as well as a short soundscape of some aural aspects of the walk.

To see all the photos and I have posted about this walk, you will need to look at the individual posts.

gate

Graig Fawr Soundscape

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Observations On My Descent

The sun is back but it is not the only weather that is reflected on the back of this pony which is still wet from the recent snowfall.

Descending Graig Fawr on my return walk the rocks I photographed illustrate my new found knowledge of the geology of the area. Last week I posted photographs of rocks on Rhosilli Down at the end of the Gower Peninsula – and now I can post the photos below with a better understanding of why these show their strata pointing north, and those posted last week show theirs pointing south.

It all goes back 300 million years when the continents were getting squeezed . . . but if you want to know more I can recommend (again) the leaflets produced by Geraint Owen which are mostly available from local libraries or by visiting here and asking for them.

And if you are interested in knowing more still, I can recommend Jessica’s Nature Blog where she presents some wonderful photos and detailed information on the geology of areas of the Gower and Dorset.

pony

Walking with the Larks

As I climbed the hillside track up Graig Fawr I met more than sheep – one man descending from an earlier morning walk than mine.

I was not quick enough to photograph the hare or the skylarks – at least not well enough for my satisfaction – but I was able to record the larks that were flitting after each other across the bracken and occasionally soaring into the sky.

I know I posted a field recording of skylarks on Rhosilli Down last week, but how can one tire of such a beautiful sound. They were there with the crows(?) as I walked along, but however familiar I am with their song, I still have to stop from time to time and just listen to them, ignoring everything else.  Just thinking about them makes me happy 🙂

rock and sheep

Walking with the Larks

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Rocks in the Landscape

From this viewpoint on my walk over Rhosilli Down at the end of the Gower Peninsula, I wouldn’t need to do much by way of camouflage to hide the houses of Llangennith, as they already appear to fit so well with the rocks in the landscape.

I recently attended a talk at our local library by Geraint Owen of the geography department at Swansea University. It was a fascinating illustrated talk about the geology of our local area and so I now understand the reasons behind the forms of the rocks in the outcrops in the last couple of photos below.

I am not going to go into the details of this geology but Geraint and his associate Siwan Davies have developed a series of 10 wonderful walking leaflets featuring details of walks and the local geology. Unfortunately a direct link to the website currently reveals it to be under construction, but at least it gives contact details.

Llangennith from Rhosilli Down

There is a fair wind blowing in the sound clip below. The background sound of surf in the sea mingles with it but none of that stops the skylarks singing and there are not in my opinion, many sounds more uplifting than an lark.

Wind, Sea and Larks

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Rocks and Ripples

Viewing the rocks and sand ripples from above on my cliff walk at Rhosilli on the Gower peninsula revealed some fascinating patterns. I loved the complex textures of jagged rocks dotted with white gulls and the smoother flat patterns of wave platform structures seen on our way round to Fall Bay from the Worms Head.

The sand ripples may be a common pattern but I liked the subtle sunlight and shade. I thought it might be worth looking at it in black and white and in converting the image I also heightened the contrast quite a lot. The monochrome shot can be seen tomorrow on Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post Monochrome Madness 2-30. I can’t make up my mind which I prefer – subtle colour or contrasty monochrome.

rock patterns

wave platform rock patterns

sand ripples

monochrome sand ripples