Or at least that is how this particular woodland feels. Nestled on the crags and ledges of a remote North Wales valley but quite close to the sea, a walk, or scramble, through this wood takes you into a different world that works on a different timescale to the rest of us.
Centuries of timber harvesting, grazing by upland sheep and feral goats, and mining for manganese have shaped this wood. Boulders are covered in carpets of mosses, liverworts, lichens and ferns because this is essentially the temperate rainforest, with high humidity and (relative) warmth and grazing by the wild goats has kept the under-story open, which the lichens and mosses love.
This is how we’re trying to keep the wild goats out. If we don’t they’ll eat and strip all of the saplings and young trees, and the woodland will never regenerate. But they still manage to get in…
And the remains of past lives can be seen in the wood. Sheep pens, boundary walls and mine entrances…
Many of you who follow my blog will be familiar with the beautiful photographs I often post by Mike Alexander. I’m very proud to announce that my brother Rod has built a website called Scapeimages.com to host hundreds of Mike’s stunning photographs, where they can be bought, licensed and downloaded, or simply enjoyed by browsing through such a fantastic catalogue of work!
I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s about time that Mikes wonderful work is available to the world! Do your senses a favour and have a look 🙂
We haven’t had any yet but I thought I’d share this photo from Mike Alexander of a darkly beautiful winter landscape in North Wales. The song is one I wrote having been out in the kind of muffled, noiseless, late afternoon light that only a snowy landscape can offer. It is one of my favourite compositions because it came out straight away, with no time to be influenced by anything other than the experience itself.
This week I have been back in the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales working, although it didn’t feel like work, on an upland farm. I was there to help advise on management and to survey the magnificent heathland that has developed on the mountain in the last 30 years.
There are some rare and unique plant communities growing up there now because the traditional farming practice of burning and grazing by sheep has been absent for all that time.
On the valley floor is the beautiful lake (Llyn Dinas)….
I only have a very small, cheap digital camera, but it’s a times like these that I wish I’d made that upgrade! Here’s one from someone who has…
This is the place, according to Welsh legend, where the red dragon of the Celts fought with the white dragon of the Anglo-Saxons. Both fell into the lake, but only the red dragon emerged, and this is why the red dragon is the national emblem of Wales and appears on the national flag. But that’s only a story, albeit a nice one. I have written the management plan for this place and this will hopefully help to conserve the wonderful wildlife and the cultural landscape for the future. And it in turn has inspired some of my music.