Archives for category: BBC Countryfile Magazine

It’s not as if the south Gower coast is otherwise unremarkable; maritime grassland atop limestone rock that’s been scoured into beaches and bone caves, yielding to an expansive sea with Devon fizzing on the horizon. But Three Cliffs Bay is a bit special. The cliffs are triangles of a single promontory swimming out like a dragon to guard a bay brightly ringed by Pennard Pill, which has squirmed through the saltmarsh to reach it. At high tide, Great Tor in the west grants seclusion. But at the tide’s ebb, Three Cliffs Bay merges with Tor Bay, Oxwich Bay and Pobbles Bay, to create one vast dazzling magnitude of sand.

Read more in the January 2020 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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The Heart of Wales is a venerable line. A two (often one) carriage trundler that just escaped Beeching’s axe, the guards are courteous, request stops are frequent and trees sometimes tap on the windows; a branch line in more than one sense. The passengers, chatting in English or Welsh, aren’t in a hurry. They’ve been shopping, walking, or watching the rugby. Kerry and Wendy from Llandybie are enjoying free winter travel offered to Welsh bus-pass holders. And hikers George and Dave, are doing the Heart of Wales Line Trail.

Read more in the December 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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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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‘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

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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‘Above the falls, the Berwyns, bare and blasted, hold snow for longer than anywhere else in Wales. It’s easy up there to envisage the Ice Age in which the falls were created and the valleys gouged. Easier to imagine the frozen tundra of frigid winds, stunted shrubs, horses, Arctic foxes, lemmings and steppe pika that replaced the glaciers, than the forest which replaced it.’

Read more in the January 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine.

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‘Halfway up Cadair Idris beneath a precipice often in cloud is Llyn-y-Cau. The lake lies in a glacial cirque scoured by retreating ice and dammed with gravel. Little has changed since. Wilson’s painting is still recognisable. So too are the adjustments he made to simplify the background and exaggerate the height of the precipice – probably not to suggest the emotion and drama that Romanticists would later seek, but to balance the scene in order to convey a sense of organized grandeur.’

Read more in the September 2018 issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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