Ruins remember what is lost. The bereft settlements. The toppled kingdoms. Castell y Bere is no longer the example of Welsh potency it was when built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth in 1220, shortly after he was recognised by Henry III as Prince of all Wales. Relations between the two soon soured, and Henry began a campaign against Wales he upheld even after Llywelyn’s death. Now bats make forays through the portcullis. Moths ambush the rock-cut ditch, rusty-back ferns and navelwort scale the keep, ragwort crowns the towers, and algae festers in the well.

Read more in the November 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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Shakily, I transferred the data-card from the camera to my laptop, where sure enough, the footage revealed a glossy, chestnut animal. A creature who paused, sniffed the air, and arched its back, before springing lightly onto large paws. Silently, we watched our two minutes of film again and again in the dark, dinner uncooked, the stove unlit. That a creature so elusively exquisite had returned to our neck of the woods was thrilling. Pine martens rippled through our minds.

Read more in the October 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

Photograph by Mark Molloy

The conurbation of Wrexham is better known for its industrial age production of coal, iron, lead and beer than for its forests and streams. But its industries, while fuelled by an abundance of limestone and minerals, were also dependent on freshwater and timber. Evidence remains. The Vale of Clywedog wriggles greenly defiant through a part of the map in which red lines and grey blocks dominate.

Read more in the October 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘Llyn Cynwch is a conversation between the elements – an expression of light, an intervention of rain, a murmur of breeze. The undersides of overhanging leaves reflect light from its surface. Tree trunks stripe its bed with shadows interrupted by ripples. The broadleaf woodland on its bank casts reflections and shade, suggesting the water is deep and dark, though elsewhere it’s ethereal, consulting the clouds or dazzling in agreement with the sun.’

Read more in the August 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

 

‘I see seaweed – bladder wrack, waving below the glassy surface of the Menai Strait as I glide across it. Trees are reflected and an egret shifts its position on the barnacled rock. There’s something about the combined watery tranquillity and concentration necessary for stand up paddleboarding that makes it particularly mindful – the balance required to remain upright, repeated in the mind.’

Read more in the July 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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Photography by Dan Struthers http://www.danstruthersphotography.co.uk/adventure/

The small, stony and seal-frequented coves of Cwm Tydu and Cwm Silio are hugged by low cliffs whose strata is twisted into smiles. Characteristically for Ceredigion, a sliver of maritime grassland is sandwiched between the coast and a landscape of pasture, small farms and villages cleft by wooded river valleys and scored by scant narrow lanes which make driving here in summer inadvisable.

Read more in the June 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘Tŷ Hyll, or ‘the Ugly House’ is named for its colossal crudely cut, yet lovely stones. Of uncertain origin – either brigand’s hide-out, duke’s folly, or tŷ unnos (home built in a day to secure ownership), what is certain is that it’s now a cosy tearoom selling fresh-baked delights and very, very good tea. It’s run on behalf of the Snowdonia Society – a charity aiming to protect the beauty of Snowdonia National Park whose volunteers help with tasks such as path maintenance or mammal surveys, and who here at Tŷ Hyll have created a pollinator-friendly garden and a bee-room, and regularly host workshops such as herbal tea making or birch tree tapping.’

Read more in the May 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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