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.

morning mist and sun

My Walk this Week 247 – Misty Marshes

My walk this week is really my walk last week when I ventured down to the misty marshes early one morning before the day warmed up and enjoyed capturing this beautiful place with stills, video and audio.

Any environment differs according to the weather conditions, but this can be perceived in different ways. Visually (and in a tactile way) the misty marshes are exciting to me. Even though the river is moving ever so slowly, the fog in the air is mysterious and the atmosphere is dank or clammy to the touch.

An excess of moisture is literally hanging in the air and this changes our experience of sound as well as vision. The short video clip above shows the this moisture and also transports the sound of traffic on the motorway very efficiently. The result of course is that on this day, at that time, the marshes were noisier than usual – not only with the busy road but also with the birds shouting over it.

In the soundscape below I have been able to focus more on the birds than on the background traffic and we do this with our ears (or rather our brains) as well – filter out or dim down the sounds we do not want to listen to and focus on the those we enjoy most. That, for me, is not only the birds and in this instance includes those wonderful gates as well.

And then there are the stills, an opportunity to capture a moment in time, a snippet of what is seen and felt, both of the broader landscape and also some of its details, textures, patters, nuances.

I hope you can enjoy the different aspects of this little corner of Wales as much as I did on my walk. Click on the first image and look through the carousel on a larger scale while listening to the soundscape.

Salt Marshes-1

My Walk this Week 243 – Winter Salt Marsh

My walk this week shows my local salt marsh in Winter. I know how much we enjoy and benefit from a bright sky and sunshine, but in Winter we have to, we must, try to see the beauty around us in different conditions. SAD is not a condition you want to fall prey to if it can be avoided.

This week I have video, sound and images to hopefully help you enjoy the relative gloom of overcast and wet conditions on my walk across the salt marsh to the old St Teilo’s churchyard and back to the fast thawing pond in the park.

You can only allow the weather to stop you going out for so long – then it becomes imperative that, regardless of rain or snow, you take the exercise and grab as much light as you can – if you are in a position to do so.

The video above obviously includes sound as well as the soundscape below but which one has the better pictures? That’s just a joke really, but it is certainly true that sound conjures up images for us and in the case of StillWalks® videos the soundscapes are the animator of the still images used – see the example on the website home page (Autumn Lakeside Walk). The home page has now been updated to show a short series of seasonal StillWalks videos.

Salt Marsh Soundscape
silhouettes

My Walk this Week 217 – An Evening on the Marshes

My walk this week is back on my local salt marshes where the evening was still and the midges were out in their millions.

I went down there for the sunset and then had my back turned, recording sound, when it actually dipped below the horizon.

It was a still evening and there were not many birds singing but as always in this environment, there are gates – specifically four, but there were more people using them than just myself. I have included four in the soundscape but had I included all the instances of use on this short walk there would have been the sound of at least ten!

I understand and accept that by now you may think me obsessed with gates, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. Aside from the individual audio characteristics they have which I enjoy, they are symbolic of so much. They are way markers, milestones, entrances and exits simultaneously, thresholds, limitations, invitations – and they come in so many designs!

There is a bird that appears in the recording at about 01:10 – it was in the woods at the edge of the marsh but I do not know what it is. If anyone can tell me, I would be pleased to know. The Covid-eased traffic is ever present on the motorway but I have focused more on the other sounds in the trees and on the marshes.

Marshes Evening Soundscape

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marsh wild flowers

My Walk this Week 210 – Covid Walk on the Salt Marsh

My walk this week on my local salt marsh, during the Covid lock down, was different to usual. In relative terms, the footpath felt as busy as the M4 motorway which seems to have returned almost to its normal level of traffic.

salt marsh crowds

If you look carefully at the image above you can see the “crowds” in the distance. Without wanting to be too sarcastic, I should mention that there were various other families, couples and individuals using the riverside footpath. As I am used to meeting no more than one other person at most, it felt crowded to me and I veered away from my intended destination of the “church(yard) on the marshes”.

Sound levels may be returning to pre-Covid-19 levels in this area but that includes the birds as well as everything else. Just as the ambient decibels increase, so does the bird song – and there is still the beautiful sound of the wind blowing through the tall marsh grass.

Marshes Covid Walk Soundscape

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trees and marsh grass

My Walk this Week 194 – The Marsh and Ciara

My walk this week is another to my local salt marsh, this time during the tail end of Storm Ciara and the wind that was probably worse in other parts of the UK. All the same, we weren’t tempted to venture out in the wild weather.

entering the salt marsh

When crossing the River Loughor on the motorway, I could see that the the tide was high and the marshes were getting there regular dose of salt. But by the time I got down there the sea had retreated and I was able to get to the river bank.

I loitered a bit amongst the trees at the edge of the marsh as the wind was strong and pretty cold and so the photographs I took focus mainly on that view point and some of the lichee details and tree textures around me.

Windy Marsh Soundscape

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The soundscape is a bit shorter than usual and perhaps the main feature of it is the sound of motorway traffic being blown strongly from the southwest. However, if you listen carefully, you will also hear the hissing rustles of the marsh grass which is a sound I love, though less because of the sound itself and more because of the marsh environment it conjures in my mind.

So click the play button to listen while viewing the images below – click the first one and then again to move forward through the carousel.

heavy weather

My Walk this Week 161 – North Gower Walk

My walk this week looks back at a walk on the North Gower coast and the expansive and beautiful salt marshes of the Loughor Estuary. The walk was originally taken as part of the “Taste of Gower” project in 2015.

Salt marshes, North Gower

Sheep graze the marsh grass and herbs from day to day and when the tides cover the the greenery, they move on and off the marshes via “causeways” such as the one above.

The sense of space and the distortion of perspective gives the place a strange, unreal feeling. Distance is difficult to judge and I suspect you would need to be careful of the incoming tide if unused to the area.Continue reading

blossom

My Walk this Week 157 – High Tide Deposits and Spring Growth

My walk this week follows high spring tides on my local marshes and looks at the deposits they left as well as the new wildflower and marsh grass growth coming through with Spring.

Bluebells en route

Bluebells en route

Spring tides occur twice a month every month, as do neap tides, not just in the Spring. The term “spring tide” is given to those tides that have the greatest difference in height between high and low tide, but the highest tidesContinue reading