Archives for category: 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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‘Land is low-lying between the Derwent and the Humber, rising only gently to meet the Yorkshire Wolds. In winter Pocklington Canal is barely discernible from the floods that swamp meadows and fen, attracting waterfowl like whimbrel, golden plover and ruff. In summer great burnet, meadow foxtail and sneezewort flourish, lapwings, curlew and snipe breed, and enriched with alluvial silt, legumes and maize ripen. Cleaving a gentle bend from East Cottingwith to Pocklington, the canal remains elusive. Everything is green – meadows give to rush and aquatic plants. Edges dissolve. But it catches your breath when you find it. The sparkling water teems with lilies and fish.’

Read more in the September 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘There is a part of the river just above the falls which balloons slightly so that its edges are shallow and clear, disturbed only by wavelets even while the main channel is turbulent white-water. Here at the edge a grey wagtail works its way up the stones of a miniature waterfall, its yellow under-plumage contrasted by green moss, poised and apparently undisturbed by the river’s tumult.’

Read more in BBC Countryfile Magazine, July 2018

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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

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