The security guard says he loves the flash-mob dancers, he says he ain’t seen nothing like that in Birmingham. He asked to come to WOMAD he says, because he’d heard it was chilled and he’s sick of trouble. He’s sick of it. He’s been stabbed four times, he says. And he’s sick of being called racist, just for chucking people out and he doesn’t know if they’re Muslim or Christian or what but if they’re acting with aggression that’s why. It’s only when they see his girlfriend that they believe, he is not, a racist. You need to understand people, he says, before you judge them.

The security guard says he likes the smell of the trees and the ground. He says when you’ve spent all your life in the city it’s amazing. He is watching some women pouring wine and says he’s supposed to confiscate that, if it was Creamfields they’d be bottling each other, but it’s different here and he’ll wait for them to drink it and then he’ll take the glass. The only thing people worry about here is recycling, he says. The security guard jumps when a woman dashes into the tent, brandishing a stick, but it’s covered in shells and she’s made it in a workshop so it’s alright, but he says it threw him for a minute. He says he’s doing a vegan festival next week and his mate’s told him he’ll have to search the bags for knives and that like normal, but he’ll have to confiscate any sausages or cheese and he says that’s blown his mind a bit.

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You can walk for hours along its paths with only mewling gulls for company, sometimes ambushed by drizzle or a Celtic mist that drenches your hair and leaves salt on your skin, but which draws your attention to the flowers at your feet and then suddenly dissipates to reveal a peregrine soaring above a glittering sea.

Read more in the August edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

GWBD0351 Ynys Lochtyn

With photography by the marvellous Giles W Bennett http://www.gileswbennett.org.uk/about/4584113654

Scoured and stacked like castle walls, a phalanx of honey-coloured cliffs guards the coast. Below them are curved overlaying platforms of wave-cut rock, cracked into paving by movements of the earth. Loose stones collect in the cracks so that seen from the cliff-tops, the shore resembles a Zen garden raked into swirls.

Read more in the July 2018 edition of Country Walking 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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The garden belongs to this landscape. It’s a conversation with the rocks, the tussocky bog and the blue clay from which it has been coaxed. Bold exotics are accommodated among natives that creep and drift in by rhizome and seed. Most particularly it is a place of power and pause beneath the omnipresent contemplation-demanding gaze of Garn Fawr, the largest of the Mynydd Dinas carns.

Read more in the June 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

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‘Hen harriers cruise the marsh, goshawks power in from nearby forestry to swipe an occasional lapwing, grasshopper warblers trill like shrill violins over the grassland and spring migrants raise broods in the woods. This is a landscape reminiscent of the later Mesolithic Age. Appropriately then, having made Britain their home 10,000 years ago as oak and hazel woodlands replaced the tundra pines, lesser spotted woodpeckers are resident.’

Read more in the May 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

Photograph from http://ceredigionbirds33.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/lesser-spotted-woodpecker.html

 

‘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

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