After we had finished with Manorbier the sun was still shining and so we decided to go to Bosherston Lakes in hope of seeing the otters and water lilies. The Bosherston Lakes are a man-made lake system, only a little over 200 years old. They occupy three narrow valleys which were carved into the limestone during the last Ice Age. Between 1780 and 1860 the Cawdors of Stackpole Court flooded three narrow valleys by building a series of dams, weirs and sluices. They’re normally deep in winter and shallow in summer, as the water drains through holes in the underlying limestone.
The lilies were coming to look their best, but parts of the valley were in shade.
Walking along the path we came across a fantastic plant, Ivy Brromrape, Orobanche hederae. OK it may not be the most attractive of plants, but bear with me a little while and let’s see if I can get you interested. Broomrapes are parasitic plants, and it might not surprise you that the Ivy Broomrape, is parasitic on Ivy, and Ivy only. The scientific name comes from Ancient Greek ὄροβος (orobos, “bitter vetch”) + ἄγχω (ankhō, “strangle”). The common English name comes from the English word broom, and the Latin rapum (“tuber”). Broomrape seeds will not germinate until they come into contact with the roots of their host plant, at which point the broomrape seed attaches itself to its host by means of a tiny root that penetrates the host’s root until it reaches the vascular system of the host. Soon afterwards a tuber forms, directly linking the broomrape to the host’s supply of nutrients.
We followed the path through the woods down to Broad Haven where the stream trickes out of the final dam onto the sands. This is a great beach of soft sands and safe water. At 8pm it was pretty empty but there were still a few souls wandering about.
Out in the bay is Church Rock, a lone sentinel in the sea with the waves crashing around its base. As you walk west along the beach the shape changes and suddenly you seem to be looking at a giant rock sculpture of King Kong.
The sun was dropping fast and we had a mile to walk back to the car still hoping to see some otters but they failed to show. Another day maybe, but we had seen King Kong.