A Natural End to Summer

My walk this week took place at the end of September which this year means it was still a Summer walk as the temperatures were so unusually high. But we are now in the full sway of Autumn and I would be unlikely to see this red admiral butterfly or any of the other natural details of this walk in quite the same way, if at all, were I to return to Port Eynon now at the end of October.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

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Constructing the Changes and Reviewing the Week

This may seem an odd image with which to end my walk this week but it is a fact that new building is constant. Fortunately I am still able to rise above it (literally) by walking higher up the hill from which the residents of these houses regularly get to enjoy beautiful sunsets.

My short soundscape this week reflects all aspects of the walk. Listen to it while viewing my selection of the images I’ve posted through the week.

Construction

Goppa Soundscape

If viewing this in an email, to see the sound player you will need to visit the blog – please click the post title to view the full post.

Sculpted by the Wind

This visual evidence of the prevailing wind on the South Gower coast with its effect on the hawthorn trees produces wonderful natural sculptures typical of Britain’s coastline.  There are probably not many trees like the hawthorn or blackthorn with their ability to survive and thrive in the rugged conditions that come with the Autumn and Winter seasons here.

That’s not say that we have particularly harsh winters, but they still have to cope with the strong winds and sea salty air and I know plenty of other species of tree that do not welcome this sort of situation at all. I love these trees and I also love the equally hardy whin or gorse and, in this case, their silhouette against the dark grey horizon line of sea and sky.

windblown hawthorn

windblown hawthorn

Whin at Three Cliffs Bay

Walking Through the Seasons

The fact that every year we see similar sights in Autumn (or any other season) to the ones we saw the previous year does not make them any less enjoyable. In fact we look forward to the sights that different seasons bring with them – colours, textures and patterns. The fact that we can feel continually in awe of the same things happening again and again is perhaps an essential survival mechanism.

The changes we see, feel and benefit from repeatedly as the seasons go by, are most noticeable in the natural world. This suggests how important it is to have that world an integral part of our urban landscape and planning and to have footpath access to open countryside.

Whether it be in a city park, a country lane, open hills or simply a tree lined street, walking with awareness of the natural elements of the local environment is something I could not do without.

country lane

Cefn Drum-10

Autumn leaves

Underfoot and Overhead

Completing the meandering loop of this week’s walk brought me to the oak woods of Coedbach Park.  It looks like there is plenty underfoot to keep the squirrels going through the winter. Overhead the twisting branches of these wonderful crooked trees will provide progressively less shade from the weather as the season moves on. Whatever weather the seasons bring, it is unlikely to stop me enjoying the sights and sounds I encounter on my walks.

acorns

crooked oak trees

Colour in the Gardens

Autumn colours are wonderful but back in September at the tail end of Summer, the colour in the Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) was not confined to the plants and flowers. A tortoiseshell butterfly also displays its colourful beauty while in the background of the first image you can see the curve of the Great Glasshouse, the largest single span glass house in the world, designed by Norman Foster.

NBGW

butterfly

The Wallace Garden

Within the Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) where we were walking in September, there are a number of other gardens. My photos today are from the Wallace Garden and although they do not show the double helix arrangement of the paths, as this was not as easy to see as it is sometimes due to the content of the beds, it seemed less important to try and capture it.

It seems there is something different in the garden every time we visit and what you see below is some of what was there on this occasion in September – it will be different now and then again in Spring.

Wallace Garden exit/entrance

Wallace Garden exit/entrance

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

Dilys Jackson sculpture

Sculpture in the Wallace Garden by Dilys Jackson

plant in the Wallace garden

flowers in Wallace Garden

Autumn Leaf and Reviewing the Week 41

It seems the sweet chestnut is one of the trees that sheds its leaves earliest in Autumn. This one is on its way but the stage I like these leaves best, after they have fallen, is probably into the Spring when they have been lying on the ground for months and have gone thin and papery. Their structure breaks down and their colour becomes pale, almost bleached. I have photographed them like this in the past and you can see the results in one of my previous posts here.

autumn leaf