‘At dusk, light from the illuminated campanile, spills onto wet cobbles, is absorbed into blue and rose walls and twinkles off small panes of glass. Waves lap the stone quay and white sand, and behind the turrets and domes, enveloping the rocky peninsula is a dark woodland that conceals a labyrinth of tracks.

Portmeirion is an illusory place, full of magic, colour and light, its buildings intermingled with water, trees and rock where you are easily lost, if not physically in the woods or the piazza, then at least in your imagination.’

Read more in the April 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine



‘Accustomed elsewhere to cold snowy winters, here the climate is unpredictable and predominantly wet, with ill-defined seasons. Spring, like the rest, is often wind-whipped, veiled in cloud and doused in rain. Nevertheless, it is distinguished by the flowering of the arctic alpines. The first of them is purple saxifrage, which flowers even under snow when there is any, in fragrant cushions on basalt rocks around the streams that flow into the llyn.’

Read more in the April 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine


‘Without the auks, you can see the Precambrian rock is bent from the earth’s movements into grimaces and smiles. Rust-red, blue-grey and yellow, it has a strange toughened texture, somewhat akin to partially melted plastic. Scanning it for birds, there appear to be none. And then, there’s a slight movement, barely a blur, almost imagined. A rock pipit, perfectly camouflaged, has emerged from a crevice to feed off the cliff surface.’

Read more in the January 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine




In north Pembrokeshire, a lane striped with moss between high hedge-banks stitched with thorn, dips, meets a stream, and arrives at a whitewashed building; Melin Tregwynt, one of eight working wool mills in Wales.

Woven Welsh wool was part of an important cottage industry for hundreds of years, and by the Industrial Age was worn by colliers and steelworkers. But even then, most mills were small and attached to farms.

Read more in the December 2017 issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘On arrival, passengers are still smitten by the Mynach Falls crashing into the gorge beneath the gloriously gothic Devil’s Bridge, which has more than a dash of the Victorian sublime. More importantly, this woodland is (save for the odd rhododendron) little changed since the retreat of the glaciers. Preserved by its vertiginous slopes, slender birch and lichen-fissured sessile-oaks with epiphytes a-tremble, still reach for the light, just as they did 10,000 years ago when pine martens were abundant.’

Read more in the November edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine



Appropriately, Ystwyth means supple in English, because with its shifting currents braiding silvery sands, its course changes often and it is never quite the same as when you last saw it. In spate its levels fluctuate dramatically. Plants like alpine pennycress take root and then vanish. From its boggy source in the Cambrian Mountains to Aberyswtwyth where it slips quietly into the Rheidol, Afon Ystwyth is a secretive stream.

Read more in BBC Countryfile Magazine, Special Issue, Autumn 2017

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Photos by the lovely Giles W Bennett http://www.gileswbennett.org.uk/


Soaring in linguistic isolation among other Snowdonia Mountains such as Tryfan, Glyder Fawr and Carnedd Gwenllian, is Cnicht. Its name – the Anglo Saxon word for ‘knight’ was bestowed on it not by local Welsh people, but by medieval sailors who noted its resemblance when viewed from the sea to a fourteenth century bassinet helmet. From the coast it looks so perilous and pointy among the swoops and crests that surround it like lemon-meringue, that pyramidal Cnicht is also known as ‘The Welsh Matterhorn’ though at a sixth of that Alpine great’s height, it is rather more easy to climb.

Read more in the October 2017 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine