My Walk this Week 240 – Forest Morning

My walk this week starts in the early morning with the setting moon and the sun rising over the landscape before climbing up through a local forest.

It was my last walk of 2020 and cold! The mist over the winding River Loughor in the valley was very atmospheric and I was in awe (yet again) at the beauty of my surroundings.

It was a very good walk with which to end the year, allowing me not only to enjoy the landscape but also to escape from the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown. The coniferous section of the woodland has been harvested but I am familiar with that now and even in the middle of Winter can see the changes with a more positive eye.

The pleasure I get from a sunrise or open landscape is equalled by my enjoyment of thick moss in a more enclosed forest environment. A sunrise or sunset is always beautiful, but moss is such fun – I cannot help but smile when I see it in such abundance.

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.

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.

 

 

Reflected weather

My Walk this Week 230 – Disregarding the Weather

My walk this week is through my local Coedbach Park and I was disregarding the weather as I set out. Autumn has typically mixed weather but regardless of this, my head as well as my body needs to get out for a walk as regularly as possible.

So when the sun came out around lunchtime I thought Aha! This is a good opportunity for a walk. Of course by the time I had changed my shoes and got a coat on, the sky was darkening again, but I didn’t let that put me off and carried on out the door.

I reached the park before the first drops fell and fortunately I had brought an umbrella but even so I felt it advisable to stand under a tree and wait.

In the short video above, which also acts as my soundscape for this week, I start out in the oak woods where the magnificent trees, undergrowth and footpaths do the best job of calming any turmoil I may be feeling inside. The stress and mental congestion that is there for any number of reasons, but not least our current Covid-19 lockdown and all that goes with that, is handled admirably by nature and the elements, even the rain.

And after the rain comes the sunlight and as I wandered on down towards the salt marshes, the River Loughor was at just the right level to provide me with a beautiful reflection of the sky as the sun pushed through aa little gap in the clouds.

waves and wind

My Walk this Week 227 – Visual Wind and Audio Calm

My walk this week contains contradictions, wind in the visual but calm in the audio. Two walks really, both from Scotland – one where photos were taken and the other where sound recordings was done.

light and dark

The image above demonstrates a change in temperature while we were in Scotland, and of course that was preceded by wind. The strange rays of light sneaking through the cloud formation looks to me as though it might be an error in photo development, but this is a digital shot and anyway, I saw it with my own eyes, and it was weird. There’s nothing like nature to hold you in fascination and awe.

The effects of wind can be seen in the images below but the sound I recorded was from a cal walk along the shore, listening to the lapping of waves on the sand and amongst the rocks. So if the images leave you feeling flustered, hopefully the audio will keep you calm.

Perhaps it may be best on this occasion to look and listen separately – not something I usually prompt.

Calm Sea Soundscape

You might find using headphones worthwhile for this soundscape.

The curlew is perhaps the one natural element that is keeping its calm in the face of the wild wind and waves.

forest gone

My Walk this Week 222 – Forest Gone!

My walk this week was up to a forest that is now gone, a forest or woodland which I used to enjoy enormously – but it is not permanent.

new forest planted

I have posted many times about what was a coniferous woodland and last year, when the trees were harvested, I was as devastated as the landscape.¬†However, my walk this week showed me the footpaths had been cleared, new saplings were planted and the remnants of the old wood were getting hidden by fresh new greenery coming through. I was delighted ūüôā

The sounds of the old coniferous trees and the ambience of that type of woodland was something I also enjoyed very much. But again I was delighted to hear the very different sounds of a multitude of small birds taking advantage of what is currently a more open landscape.

Forest Gone Soundscape

I look forward to returning many more times to this place, watching and listening as a new deciduous woodland develops.

hilltop heather

My Walk this Week 219 – Working Up Above

My walk this week meant that I was working up above the place I have been working in for the past nine months. Sitting outside at break times in good weather, I would look up at the hills overlooking the bay and wonder if there was a footpath that would allow me to look down from above.

rocky outcrop

Finally, this week, the opportunity arose and on investigation I discovered there is no footpath and some of the land is private. However, a helpful resident told me his kids play up there and on taking a closer look, I found the route they had worn over time.

It was a steep clamber through the wild woods but on reaching a rocky outcrop near the top, I was rewarded with the views I had been seeking. I felt a bit like an intruder to a hidden lair but and I cannot imagine many other people (if any) making their way up there. With my kit bag on my back and seemingly insistent on dragging me back down the hill head over heels, I was grateful to find a rope tied between a few tree trunks to aid the persistent climber.

Bay Soundscape

The soundscape reveals the ambience of the bay as well as that of the woods. Sitting on the outcrop of rocks the full scene could be heard with deep rumble of traffic beneath the mid pitches of the sea and the higher pitches of seagulls. Turning back to dip down from the edge of the slope the ambience changed – the traffic disappeared, the sea became distant and flies could be heard buzzing among the damp undergrowth.

Back in the woods on my precarious downward journey, jays were calling vociferously. But as always seems the case with jays, I couldn’t tell whether they were arguing about something or laughing their heads off at a good joke (probably me negotiating the steep, muddy slope).