Castell Dolbadarn

After climbing mountains with Paul S during our holiday recently in North Wales it was time for something a little more relaxing.  And what better place to visit than a welsh castle, and we have a lot to choose from here in Wales. Castle Dolbadarn stands proud on a small hill overlooking Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris, but the whole area is dominated now by the remains of one of the largest slate mines in Wales. But this just add to the overall ambiance of the place. The severe juxtaposition of the beauty of Llanberis, nestling under the shadow of Snowdon with the severrity of the industrial exploitation of natural resources and the romantic mystery of castles (although they were built for real reasons of defence and violence) is striking. This tripartite conflict of concepts makes this place important. Add to this that it was built by Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, one the hero’s Wales makes it a place to visit.Dolbadarn Castkle 170508

Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, Prince of Gwynedd, had spent a great deal of his reign in  consolidating his control not only over North Wales, but also of the rest of Wales. As if this was not enough Llewelyn was also in conflict with both King John and King Henry III of England. Once he had united most of Wales under his rule and resisted pressure from England there was a need to strengthen the defences and Castell Dolbadarn was an integral part of this effort to consolidate and protect his lands. Dolbadarn, along with similar castles at Dolwyddelen and Castell-y-Bere protected the main land access points into the stronghold of Gwynedd. Built sometime before 1230, Dolbadarn protected the Llanberis Pass, control access into Snowdonia and the valuable livestock pasture of the valleys below. Llewelyn’s ability to build a series of castles was an outward sign of security of his tenure and growing wealth. Building stone castles were expensive undertakings, and required not only money but skills and manpower to do so.

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Dolbadarn was built over a period with different design features, and the tower or main keep is a rare example of a multi-storey round tower built by a Welsh Prince and uniquely it has been fitted with a portcullis. Documentation relating to the building of Dolbadarn is no longer available, if it ever was. Therefore architectural historians are not sure about the sequence of building. But it has been suggested that the keep may have been the last addition to the castle. As well as series of external walls and buildings there are two further ‘towers’, but these were much lower in height compared with the main keep. Another quirk within the castle design is the complex stairway within the keep in which the spiral reverses direction at the halfway point. Compared with the castles built by the English, it is not as large, robust or impressive, and even though it would not have survived a prolonged and determined siege, Dolbarn would still have presented a barrier to anyone entering the pass.

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The Welsh were able to hold out against their much stronger and more populous neighbours in England for a considerable time following the invasion in 1066 by Norman the Conquerer. They were helped by multiple civil wars, power struggles and wars with the French over this time. Wales was also a small and poor country and didn’t really represent a major threat to the English Kings. Perhaps would should also remember that the concept of Nationhood as we understand today didn’t really exist then. The King did not “own” the country as such, and all the barons ruled their own areas on behalf of the King. To a certain extent this view was also replicated in Wales, and the Welsh Princes were allowed to rule, but only if they acknowledged the stronger English King as overlord. Throughout this time the Welsh sided with various Barons in the disputes with either the king or other neighbours. Likewise the English allied themselves with the Welsh princes when they fought amongst themselves to gain control. It was all about gaining more land and power. Either by battle or by alliances arranged through marriage. Llewelyn was married to King John’s illegitimate daughter, Joan. And two of their children were likewise married to powerful Marcher lords on the Welsh-English border.

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However, the unification of Was under Llewelyn was shorted lived. After his death in 1240 Wales was broken up into the smaller kingdoms of previous years. The Welsh inheritance laws prevented the passing of all titles and power to a single heir, and areas were divided amongst his sons, with Llewelyn ap Gruffudd controlling Gwynedd. Henry III took advantage of this weekend state and at the Treaty of Woodstock (1247) stripped Gwynedd of control of all lands to the east of Conwy. By 1255 though, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (the Last) had defeated his opponents and at the Treaty of Montgomery (1267) was recognised by English and Welsh alike as overlord of Wales. During this period he imprisoned his elder brother, Owain ap Gruffudd, in Dolbadarn Castle; he would spend nearly 20 years incarcerated there living in the top floor of the Keep.

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Weeks holiday with Paul Swain

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd came into conflict with Edward I in 1276 after the Welsh Prince failed to perform homage on multiple occasions. The English King invaded the following year and overran the eastern portion of the Principality although Dolbadarn itself, in the central heart of Snowdonia, was far removed from this conflict and saw little action. Nevertheless Llywelyn was defeated and in the Treaty of Aberconwy (1277) accepted the permanent loss of all lands east of the River Conwy. He was also required to release Owain ap Gruffudd from Dolbadarn Castle.

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The Second War of Welsh Independence started in 1282 initiated by Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Llewelyn’s younger brother. The Prince had little choice but to support this folly and this time Edward I was determined to conqueror Wales in its entirety. Llywelyn was killed in December 1282 at the Battle of Orewin Bridge whilst Dafydd fled first to Dolwyddelen then onto Castle y Beer and finally to Dolbadarn Castle. One by one the English took these strongholds and Dafydd was eventually captured on 21 June 1283. He was taken to Rhuddlan and subsequent hanged, drawn and quartered at Shrewsbury.

 

Following the conquest of 1283, Dolbadarn Castle was plundered for building materials in support of the construction of Caernarfon. Nevertheless it remained the administrative centre for the Royal manor with some repairs being made in the early fourteenth century and the east building was added at this time. The castle may have been reactivated and used as a prison during the 1400 rebellion led by Owain Glyndŵr for it has been suggested that Lord Grey, captured at Ruthin Castle, was held at the site. Little is known about the castle after this but the external stone stairway was added no later than the mid-eighteenth century by which time Dolbadarn had become a picturesque ruin, and was soon to be painted by Turner.

 

 

Tryfan – 2Ps scale the heights

Everyone knows Tryfan don’t they. Ask anyone who has experience of the hills and mountains of Wales has either climbed it or have it on their list to climb. And yes, there is some climbing to do. It may not be very high, but it is more of a challenge than many of the higher peaks in Wales. The name Tryfan is derived from Tri Faen – Three Rocks. Referring to the three humps on the ridge of this iconic mountain. With the sunshining and Cader Idris already ticked of our summit list for the week, the 2 Pauls hit the rocks.

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The view of Tryfan from the west as we drove along the Ogwen Valley on the A5.

Tryfan soars over the Ogwen valley, and forms part of the Gyderau, Glydyr Fact and Glydyr Fawr, though both are taller than Tryfan itself. At 3010 feet (or for the more modern – 917 meters) above sea level, it is the 15th highest peak in Wales. And what a peak!

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This was the easy part from the car park along the river as it tumbles form Llyn Idwal

The approach is relatively easy from Llyn Ogwen top to Llyn Bochlwyd. Then there is another easy section around the lake before you are confronted with the seemingly impregnable jagged rock field towering above.

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Looking down onto Llyn Bochlwyd guarded by the lower slopes of Glydyr Fair behind

The challenge of scrambling over the sharp rocks was worth the effort for the views alone down the Ogwen Valley taking in Llyn Bochlwyd, Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen down towards Angelsey in the distance.

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The start of the boulder field
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The views were fantastic – so much so I just had to pose.

At the top are two pillars named Adam and Eve. The tradition is to jump from one to the other. After the fight through the boulder fields and the climb to the top either of us fancied this at all. I did try to persuade Paul S – ‘Man of Action’ to attempt it, but he wasn’t having anything of it.

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Would you Adam and Eve it?
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Looking north from the top. Phew!

It took up 4 hours to go up and down. The map said we had only covered 3.8 miles, but that didn’t take into account the grunt needed for a couple of middle aged men to get tot eh top. It seemed so much harder and more difficult than it was 17 years ago the last time I climbed to the top. Maybe I’ll leave Everest for a few more years!

 

 

Cader Idris – Second Time Around

This week the weather has been fantastic. OK a little cold in the morning, but the sun has shine throughout the week. Although Aunty and I didn’t have a great deal of luck with the weather when we went up Cader Idris last year (see here), this year its different when the 2 Pauls attempted the ascent. Again this is mainly more photos than text as I’ve covered Cader previously. But I hope you like the photos and excuse the repeated blog.

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The Minffordd Path is perhaps the shortest but steepest of the ways up Cader takes you through an oak forest following Nant Cader as it tumbles down the steep slopes.
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As we progressed jus the steep path we quickly came to the tree line, passing through a gate which almost represented a barrier between the land below and the land above.
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Bilberries abound among the slopes of Cader Idris, ready to provide a feast later in the year. I will always remember the time when Aeon’s Mum made us some Billbery Jam one year after we have foraged the hillsides for hours collecting the ripe berries later in the year.
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Paul looking across across the valley and down on to the raid towards Corris.
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Llyn Cau from the path up Craig Lwyd. Llyn Cau itself could be a destination in itself, and is a fantastic place for the. mid-morning coffee.
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Pen y Cader, brooding over Llyn Cau. This is the summit of Vader Idris.
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This shows the whole of the Cader Horseshoe path, from Craig Lwyd around to Mynydd Moel on the right, all surrounding the glacial lake of Llyn Cau below.
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Looking west from Pen y Cader is Tywyn, the small town where I was born and grew up. A beautiful coast of sand to the west and mountains to the east. A fantastic play ground for a young boy. I was very lucky.
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Looking north from Pen y Cader looking down onto Llyn y Cader (right) and Llyn Gafr (left) with the Mawddach Estuary behind leading into the Rhinogs. 

Capel Garmon

Hidden in a hollow in the landscape behind Tyn-y-Coed Farm is Capel Garmon Burial Chamber. This is of the Cotswold- Severn type of chamber, an unusual design for this area of Wales, and has created some debate on why it so far north.

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The outline of the cairn shown by the stones. Looking at the Western forecourt.

The first excavation was undertaken by the then Ministry of Works in 1924. Late for such a monument as the antiquarians usually had a go in the 18th and 19th centuries. But something had to be done as trees were growing out of the mound, and damage caused in the 19th century by the tomb having been used as a stable. Following excavation the outline of the tomb was marked with stones showing the size of the mound.

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The southern chamber

The size of the cairn that covered the tomb would have measured 27m long and 13 m wide, and narrows towards it’s western end. The wider eastern end is thought to have had a false entrance, and the two arms would have created a forecourt that could have been used for ceremonies. It is this forecourt area that makes it similar to the Severn-Cotswold group of chambers further south.

Most of the burial mounds in Wales are aligned north-south, but Capel Garmon is orientated east-west. This suggests that migration of people or ideas from further south along with local practices may have influenced the design and siting of the cairn here.

The passage into the tomb leads to a divided space from which branches of to two other chambers. Excavations did not reveal many findings, probably because the chamber had been cleared to allow it’s use as a stable. A single piece of Ebbsfleet pottery was found in the passage, unworked flints and a a human bone were also excavated. The monument could have been in used for over 1500 years as two late Neolithic/early Bronze Age beakers were also found.

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The single remaining capstone

There is only one capstone remaining, but this is impressive in it’s size. I have no idea how they would have moved these massive rocks into place. The organisation and effort would have been tremendous. Despite the time since it was built, and the deprivations it has been exposed to, it is still possible to see the quality of original dry stone walling of the main chambers.

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A view of the dry stone walling in the chamber still covered by the capstone.

 

Ysbyty Ifan to Ffestiniog

Very little text today, but a few photos from a along a road between Ysbyty Ifan and Ffestiniog on North Wales. This short stretch of 12 miles will provide you with a fantastic drive along an empty road with panoramic views over  heathland that provides very tough farming lands. The empty skies are reflected in the the almost empty landscape. But if you look carefully there is so. such to see.

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Newport Docks

Last weekend we completed another short section along the coastal path. This did not include the sweeping views of the last section we completed in Cardigan, but involved marshland  and the industrial dock are of Newport. I should perhaps explain to those of you who do not know Wales, and add a word of caution, please don’t mistake our walks along the coast as an end to end endeavour. Aunty and I are completing it as and when we can, and wherever we happen to be.

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Crossing one of the many ditches draining the fields on the Gwent Levels.

We started this time where we left off a few weeks back, at Newport Wetlands. The ironic part of this stage of the walk, as in other areas where we need to cross or rather navigate ourselves around wide estuaries, was that we could see clearly from where we started where we would end up – less than a mile from where we stood. In fact we ended up walking 9 miles to get there. This involved walking over areas of the Gwent Levels, up along the banks of the Usk River, right through the docks and some of the more deprived areas for Newport before picking up the West Bank of the Usk back to the Severn Estuary and our eventual destination – West Usk Lighthouse.

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The contrast between the green fields of the wetlands and the industrial landscape of the docks can be difficult to process. The two landscapes lie so close together, yet seem to be direct contrasts. This contrast must have been even greater a few years ago. Newport docks are no longer the force they once were. the decline of the coal and steel industries have left many of the quays derelict along the Use River.

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Despite the sometimes depressing nature of industry it is always possible too appreciate the beauty that nature confronts us with. Although the spring has been cold this year, the Dandelions are flowering already setting seed. We see Danelions everyday, and as kids I was always fascinated by the symmetry of the seed heads. It is always worth taking a few seconds to appreciate these common sights.

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Continuing up river we came to the Newport Transporter Bridge, which is now open to both cars and pedestrians. I’ve posted before on this iconic construction (Newport Transporter Bridge), and it’s great to see it open again and in use. Without this we would have had to made a further detour up river to cross. So we duly paid our £2 and crossed the river.

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Before we got back to the country we still had some urban walking to do, and as we passed through some of more deprived areas of Newport there were still surprises waiting for us. Among dumps of rubbish, broken TVs and general detritus of life beauty still continues to survive. Orange Tip butterflies are difficult to miss, but in my experience difficult to photograph. They never stay still for very long, but I finally nailed a photo today.

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We finally left the urban sprawl of Newport behind and rejoined the banks of the Use River as it meets the Severn Estuary. Though Newport and the docks still maintain a brooding presence in the background.

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We were now approaching the end of the walk as we neared West Usk Lighthouse. Built in 1821 as a partner to the East Uk Lighthouse to guide shipping into Newport Docks until it was finally decommissioned in 1922. It is now a Bed and Breakfast, a great use for an iconic building.

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East Use Lighthouse, with the Power Station on the opposite back of the Usk, where we started.

This may not have been the most picturesque stretch of Coastal Path, but it was an interesting one. The contrasts between the Newport Wetlands, the docks and the arrival at the East Usk Lighthouse shouldn’t be missed. It’s all part of Wales, it’s history and the people to made that history and continue to make it. We finished less than a mile from where we started as the crow flies, but had to walk over 9 miles to get there. Don’t miss out this part of the walk, it’s important.

 

 

Confusing Geology – Sand and Cliffs

The weather during Easter Weekend in the UK can be pretty unpredictable and variable. It is not unusual to snow during this time, but this is more likely when Easter is early. This year it’s late, and so it’s reasonable to hope that it wold be warm and sunny. Well sunny it was. Warm it was not. Aunty and I spent the weekend just outside Cardigan on the west coast. Here the coast is rugged and isolated with heavy seas from the Atlantic crashing into the hard cliffs. Over a couple of days we managed to walk from Newport Sands up to St Dogmaels, just short of 20 miles.

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Our chariot to Newport Sands from Moylgrove

Saturday the sun was glorious, blazing down all day. But there was a bitterly cold wind and I doubt that the temperature got above 9C, but it felt much colder. But it didn’t matter too much the spectacular views made up for it. This time were were organised and parked in Moylegrove, and caught the Poppit Rocket bus down to Newport Sands. This meant that we were able to complete a full stretch of the coastal path in one direction only as we walked back to Moylegrove.

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Looking South towards Dinas Head

This is a wild and remote coastline with sea cliffs over 100m high and some spectacular geology. The temperature was a challenge until we had warmed up, but with hats, gloves and coats it was a great days walking. Starting at Newport Sands we quickly climbed up from the beach to the cliff tops and were greeted with sweeping views south towards Dinas Head and northwards to Cardiganshire.

Newport Sands - Ceibwr Bay

The geology is confusing on this stretch, and with the inaccessibility of the shore coupled with a paucity of fossil records, it has taken the geologists to fully understand what has happened here in the past. But recent work has solved this mystery, and it seems that this stretch of rocks were deposited during a relatively short period 444-446 million years ago. It appears that during the Upper Ordovician this small section of coast was sinking quickly in relation to the surrounding areas, creating a trough into which deep marine deposits were laid. This may have been helped by faults to the south, and possible volcanic activity. The forces involved can be creaky seen in the rock formations along the cliffs at Ceibwr Bay and Cemaes Head.

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Patterns in the rock at Pen yr Arg, near Cemaes Head

The weather on Sunday was a bit of a disappointment, no sun, heavy clouds and a strong wind that at times took your breath away as we rounded the headlands. Like yesterday, we hardly met anyone along the length of the walk.

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Sunday, cold, windy and dark didn’t give a very good view over Cardigan Island

One surprise that we came across was a deserted chapel in the middle of nowhere. The only access is via a green lane. A little research identifies this as Capel Bryn Salem. Built in 1850, it was a daughter chapel of Bethel Congregational Chapel, Moylegrove. With a falling congregation by the late 1970s and early 1980s it closed it’s doors to worship and was offered for sale. Although it was bought, the neighbouring farmers refused access over their land for roads and cesspit and it was never developed. By 2002 the building was delapidated, and continues its decline today.

Walk around Cemaes Head on a windy and pretty cold Easter Sunday.

Redwick to Newport Wetlands: Welsh Coastal Path

A couple of weekends ago the sun gave a brilliant display all day, and coupled with a light South easterly breeze it made a fantastic day for a walk. This expedition was along the Coastal Path between Redwick to the Newport Wetlands. This time we had bribed Number One Daughter to pick us up and take us back to Redwick to pick up our car. That way we were able to walk 10 miles in one direction, instead of our usual 5 miles there and 5 miles back.

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Severn Bridge from the shore at Redwick

It has to be said that walking along this section of the path is not the most exciting in providing breathtaking views, but with Spring now firmly ailing a hold there was plenty of interest to distract me and increase Aunties’s exasperation as I would stop and stare before taking a photograph of something. After walking about a kilometre down a muddy lane we arrived at the sea wall with a great view of the Severn Crossing to the east. But it was westward we were heading today. The church in Redwick has a reminder of a major flood on the 30th January, 1607, a mark is scratched on the porch wall. The flood affected the whole of the Severn Estuary and large areas of Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Soth Wales were flooded. South Wales was particularly badly affected, from Laugharne to Chepstow. It is estimated more than 2000 people were drowned, badly affecting the local economy.

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Redwick Church

The first 5 miles of the walk is along the sea wall, and so is easy going. We saw very few people along this section before reaching Goldcliff, and those we did see were 3 fishermen. With the tide in they were able to fish from the sea wall without venturing out onto the mud flats. All along the shore there are parallel lines of posts sticking up out of the mud still visible above the water as they point out into the estuary. These are the remains of an ancient fishing method called putcher fishing. This technique used the baskets called the “putcher” traditionally made from hazel rods and with (willow) plait, set out against the tides in huge wooden “ranks”. Salmon were trapped in the baskets as the tide receded.

Walk from Redwick to Newport Wetlands. 10 miles, great sunny day.
Remains of an old pulcher fishing setup on the shore.

If you want confirmation of Spring we came across one very soon. At one point along the walk just before Goldcliff we followed a pair of Wheatears, who stay just ahead of as we walked along. They would wait until we came within a few meters, then fly ahead and watch us approach. This process was repeated for more than 400m.

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Wheatear – not sure who was keeping pace with who.

 

As the tide was fully in there was no foreshore or mud exposure to speak of. Consequently there were few shore birds around – a situation that did not upset Karen too much as it meant I didn’t keep on stopping to have a look. But there was a flock of Turnstones among the rocks and seaweed almost underfoot before I saw them. And they were following their job description perfectly. Turning over small stones and seaweed, before scampering forward hunting for the next titbit under a near by stone.

Along the entire 10 miles I counted 14 separate singing Chiffchaff males. I can’t say that I saw them all, but their song is unmistakable. But I did manage to get a few reasonable photos.

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A half decent photograph of a Chiffchaff at last

We stopped for lunch at the Goldcliff Lagoons. A set of man made lagoons as a tradeoff for the local wildlife due to the habitat loss when the Cardiff Bay Barrage was built. I still have mixed feelings about the barrage. On one side saddened by the loss of mudflats and habitat for wading birds. However, it is now a fantastic leisure resource, and so much more attractive than it was as a set of derelict docks and smelly mud. Because the tide was in the lagoons were full, include a large flock of flighty Black-tailed Godwits. Lunch over we pushed on towards RSPB Newport Wetlands Reserve. I’m glad we did as we discovered a few more bird hides along the way hidden in the fields that I didn’t know about. These were empty, and didn’t appear to be used anywhere near as much as those at Goldcliff. Hidden gems and I’ll have to go back.

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Black-tailed Godwit at Goldcliff

So now we walked all the way from Chepstow to Newport. Next will be the Newport to Cardiff section, then we’ll be able to join up with those sections we’ve already completed in an almost continuous progression all the way to Llanelli. Slowly we’re completing the path – a bit disorganised in our approach, but it’s being done.

Time does make a difference: Llanelli to Burry Port.

The day after our walk along the Lloughar Estuary to Llanelli we pushed on for another 5 miles to Burry Port – but don’t forget the 5 miles back!. It wasn’t until we got home and I had a chance to really look at what this part of the coast once was, that I realised the extraordinary difference between now and 50 years previously. At Ione time Llanelli was nicknamed Tinopolis as a reflection of the steel and tin industry once upon a time. Little is evident of the that now. Llanelli now still has industry and Tata still has a large plant here, but who knows how lang it will remain to provide meaningful skilled employment? Llanelli is still known in Wales as the home of the Scarlets Rugby team, though for a crusty old man it is still a challenge to remember them as anything other than Llanelli RFC.

But just to emphasise the difference look at the first two photographs below. We started our walk at North Dock, Llanelli. This was once the site of the first floating dock in the UK, and was built to accommodate the increasing coal and steel trade that Llanelli is based upon.

Llanelli North Dock

Now look at how it appears now – the transformation is nothing short of miraculous. The industry has been replaced with high grade housing, wildlife ponds, and fantastic walking country.

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The weather was perfect for a walk along the beach, and Burry Port looked great in the sunshine. Just like Llanelli, Burry Port, or North Tywyn in Welsh is based upon coal and mines. Though none of these exist any longer, and it in now a small marina and leisure port.

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Although it was a long day, the weather made up for it. Lest’s hope for more weekend like this over the coming months.

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We’ve been to Burry Port only once before a couple of years ago, and we had a fish and chips dinner on the jetty watching the sun set over the lighthouse. So I’ll leave you with this last photo here.

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Peacocks on the Beach.

The caravan had it’s first outing of the year, though we didn’t travel far, but then we didn’t need to. The forecast was for wall to wall sunshine and we stopped at Llengennech just outside Llanelli for a walk along the Loughor Estuary. Not many words this time – thank goodness for that say some. Just some pictures which I hope conveys the beauty of estuaries and the life giving force of Spring.

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We started the walk on the east bank of the estuary near the road bridge crossing over from Loughor. We knew we had joined the walk as we crossed over a wooden bridge to the path that follows the bank of the estuary flanked on both sides with sea marsh. Though the northerly wind was strong, and didn’t let up, the sunshine signalled spring has arrived. The hedgerows was sparkling with the pure white small flowers of the Backthorn.

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The marshlands, though not pretty are beautiful in their own way. the flat expanse provide a wide horizon, emphasising that although this are is close to Llanelli and the industrial might of the old tinworks, nature can quickly reclaim control. As along much of South Wales, and in common with any estuary the tide range is impressive. When the tide goes out, it goes out a long way!

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Almost everywhere we looked we came across Greylag Geese feeding on the grass just above the high water mark.

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The warmth of the sun had also brought out the Bumble Bees. We saw a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, searching out potential nesting sites. And a Tree Bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum foraging among the Salix flowers now emerging. This is relatively new immigrant and is spreading northwards throughout the UK. But one of my favourites remains the Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum, which come sin a variety of browns and ginger colours. You are likely to find this in your garden.

Common Carder Bee

As we continued along the path towards Llanelli the landscape began to change and we left behind the Marsha and mudbanks and the estuary opened up before up exposing a wide expanse of sand. Somewhere out there, beyond the Whiteford Point Lighthouse, is the sea!

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Almost every step we made reconfirmed that Spring had arrived. Growing through the shingle just above the strand line was a large colony of Colt’s Foot, Tussilago farfara. This is easy to recognise as they dazzle with their bright yellow Dandelion like flowers before the leaves emerge.

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Even the seemingly empty tidal shore seemed to want to get into the act. The small, tower like casts of Ragworm (Hediste diversicolor) had created a temporary city scape while the tide was out. This will be wiped out by the next tide, only to be rebuilt time and time again.

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While we were happily munching our way through our lunch on the beach a flash of colour caught my eye and there was a Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io) basking on the sand next to us. Yet another confirmation of spring.

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Ok so we didn’t cover too much of the path at 5 miles, but to be fair as we walked 5 miles there and 5 miles back it wasn’t too bad. And then to cap it all after seeing Little Egrets in the distance throughput the day, all too far to photograph, the rising tide was pushing all the waders up the shore and I got a reasonable photograph.

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All in all a good day out, and culminated in an ice cream. What better way way is there to finish a walk?