Archives for category: Uncategorized

 

‘From Gower’s coasts, Cefn Bryn is a gently swelling sandstone ridge that invites your eyes and eventually your legs along its length. Scattered over it are prehistoric hut circles, burnt mounds and cairns, and particularly the magnificent Maen Ceti (King Arthur’s Stone), a Neolithic cromlech which, built to shelter human bones, now harbours lichens and rain.’

Read more in the May 2020 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘The eleven Clwydians – like comfortable sofas with cushions you sink between and arm-rests you crest with the breeze raking your hair and the sky scrubbing the heather, stretch south from Prestatyn for twenty miles between the Dee Estuary and Vale of Clwyd. But despite their location very close to the Welsh border, as with all our landscapes, the tensions evidenced on their shapely summits are between man and nature rather than English and Welsh, and by the time the Deceangli built their fortified camps in the Iron Age, the hills already had a story to tell.’

Read more in the May 2020 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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A mountain breeze stirs the willows. Bees seek out the primroses and a frog slips into the pond from a lily, while the coin-spinning call of a wood warbler mingles with sounds of hammering and laughter from the workshops. Welcome to CAT, home of Zero Carbon Britain.

CAT’s most recent Zero Carbon Britain report, Rising to the Climate Emergency, suggests how we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by using technology we already have and by changing the way we use land. It’s calm, rational and inspirational, but then that’s what you’d expect from CAT. They’ve been working on practical solutions to environmental problems here since 1973 when a few ‘crazy idealists’ settled a derelict slate quarry.

Read more in the Special Edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine, March 2020

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‘In no way is my life unduly stressful, climate change and politics aside. Nevertheless, cycling the Elan Valley Trail is a tonic. Perhaps it’s the cushion of silence. Perhaps it’s the remoteness as you very gently ascend the old railway track that transported stone for the dams. Perhaps it’s the therapeutic quality of water; and there’s a lot of water.

I’d gratefully glugged a pint of it at Birmingham 02 Academy last year, but didn’t give a thought to where it came from; turns out it was here.

Read more in the March 2020 edition of 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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The Greens have my heart,

Plaid Cymru my vote,

Labour my hope.

 

Please vote tactically on Thursday folks…

https://www.remainunited.org/

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A flurry of white flakes, a crunch underfoot. As winters warm, the white spotted fallow deer and sound of trampled beechnuts might be the closest you get to snow and frost. Nevertheless, December will be dark, and Newton House in the Dinefwr grounds will be cosy. In fact it’s cosy all year. Light glances off gilt frames. Staff and volunteers are cheerful. And you’re allowed, nay encouraged, to sit on the sofas.

Read more in the December 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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Photograph by National Trust http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr

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