Joined December 2019 Message
  • Day373

    Bigswier to Redbrook, Wye Valley

    November 1, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    - Drive up autumnal Valley past Tintern Abbey
    Bigsweir Bridge - river running high, deep and fast. Heron flaps down to land.
    Walking up road along hedgerows. Heart centre opens. Accompanied by blue tits
    Enter the oak woods, bird song all around
    Met a moss covered oak tree, with the language of the heart
    Took wrong path, retraced steps to Offa's Duke
    Deep deer trods in the mud
    Met a beautiful mossy oak and then an old birch
    The wind through the beech trees - 'here our mother breathing'
    Beautiful beech grove
    Out into more open fields with sunlight slanting and white puff clouds
    Trudged through cool rivulets running down off fields
    Passed sheep, and spent time having that old familiar eye to wye contact
    Two large buzzards took off from trees bordering field, one sailed over giving her plaintive cry. A crow sat in another tree surveying the scene
    Flock of starlings pass over
    Sat eating lunch by an old stone farm, looking out over the Autumnal Valley serenaded by buzzards
    Met people as I ate lunch and just after
    Lovely yew tree grove
    Beautiful views down into the leaf littered yew tree wood
    Long view of the river Wye on the slippery and steep descent into Redbrook
    History of Redbrook
    Crossing the old railway bridge, the river brown, swollen and immensely powerful.
    Met too older couples on the bridge and later passed on the river path.
    River very high, path very wet, walked barefoot
    Saw my favourite swim spot flooded
    Saw Robin up close on a cabin fence, looked me in the eye, then flew off
    Lovely walking in the wet green grass
    Autumn trees shining bright in the sun
    Washed my feet in the river, water very cold
    Did my nature rituals on the rover bank and felt the flow of life through my body like the flow of the river. Sent out my love to humanity in the eight directions. Felt the connection with the nature surrounding me. The river in its own voice and not the human voice I project onto it.
    I saw another Robin who eyed me again
    Walked in the cold shade past trees with yellowing and golden leaves - sweet Chestnut leaves.
    Came back into the low sun warming again
    High sided river valleys with autumn trees
    Stopped to be with a dandelion om full flower
    Dug up some water mint to grow and be with at home
    Heard then saw long tailed tit
    Looked across the sun shadowing fields with silhouetted trees
    Met a bright couple with two dogs
    Saw a horse in a field and felt like what it was to be him
    Stood on the bridge to watch the sun lower and shine golden on the valley sides
    Met the couple i said that I would see on the way back
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  • Day218

    The Wye Valley from Bigsweir Bridge

    May 30, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Sun bright and the weather beginning to warm
    Bigsweir scenic old toll bridge with history
    Walked to the middle of the bridge to look up and down the river. Two swans guided up the river
    Went barefoot for the first time, dewy long grass felt wonderful underfoot
    Looked out across the valley and up the tree filled sides
    The river was high and swollen with recent rains
    Saw four buzzards circling on the thermals, after one chased and harried by crows
    Swans caught me up and closer view
    A Red Kite flew low above me, forked tail and wing tips catching the sunlight
    Majestic oak on the field boundary, now full with dark green leaves
    Close approach to a pair of swans by river rapids. Male hissed at me, but they soon settled and returned to preening their feathers
    Dew drops sparkling on spiders web in the grass.
    Sat by rapids and looked down the valley
    Met a man with a mild Liverpudlian accent who lived nearby.
    We had a friendly debate about rewilding the local boar population, who have now crossed the river and were threatening to rootle his garden. We agreed rewilding was a process that needed local peoples consent, but that we need to return our extinct native wildlife. Man told me of a local beaver re-introduction, showed me a video of an otter he'd seen on the river bank, and that a white tailed eagle has been seen recently over the Wye Valley. All this gives me hope for a rewilded future for our islands. I thanked him for the local information for my walk and we said our goodbyes.
    I walked further along the river path, then switched back up a path into beautiful Ash and beech woodlands, also interspersed with oaks.
    Walked up to the high point, which was strewn with large mossy boulders, filled with ancient river stones, and sprawling tree roots - a magical and mystical place overlooking the great river.
    The afternoon sun shone spectacularly through the trees and lit up the new pale green beach leaves as I descended from the rocky outcrop
    I returned to the path through the middle of the woods.
    As I made to scramble down below into the wilder woods, i disturbed a tawny owl who flew across and below me, his face shining brightly in the sun, before lifting up into the a tree by the path. The fallen trees, burgeoning bracken and bramble became almost impossible to chamber through, so I returned up to the path, glad of my descent into the wild depths of the wood
    The woods were filled with bird song as a constant auditory back drop
    There were a great variety of small woodland flowers (identify from photos) by along the verges of the path that I photographed and paid close attention to.
    The views up into the back-lit vistas of trees were spectacular and uplifting, with life in full effervescent bloom
    I saw the occasional small butterfly, but not as much insect life as I would expect to see
    I passed a dead tree where I could hear the vibrant trill of young life. I realised it was a nest of hidden youg in a hole im the tree, and a woodpecker quickly appeared in a nearby tree with food in her beak for her hidden brood. But she refused to visit her nestlings while I was close by, and reassuringly called to them instead. As I moved away, accepting that I wasn't going yo get a photo, she quickly visited her nest to feed her hungry mouths, and was away again
    I passed a few small streams crossing the path, then joined a wider tarmaced path lined withbwild flowers including many wild strawberry flowers.
    Just before I reached the main path along the river a the bottom of the valley, I passed a beautiful water cascade over mossy rocks
    I walked back along the river with the late afternoon sun slowly descending over to my right, casting tree shadows out along the path.
    I stopped at a fishing point with stunning views up and down a bend in the river, where I could walk out into the river over old round millstones to wash and cool my feet.
    Several hired canoes passed by filled with parents and their excited children.
    I continued back along the path through tall grasses and shaded wild flowers
    I saw a small mud island with a pair of Canada geese perched on it, with two swans sailing up and down behind them.
    I sat on the river bank near the Bigswier bridge where I had started my walk, and let my feet trail in the water, feeling the great, eternal flow of the life of the river
    A mother mallard duck and her brood picked their way down the river by the opposite bank, then bravely struck out across the river
    As I returned to the bridge through the green grass large flies rose and descended, gleaming in the sunlight, in a great dance of beings.
    I walked back up onto the centre of the bridge to take in the beauty of the Wye Valley one more time, and saw my spirit bird, the heron, loping its giant wings as she slowly disappeared down the river valley.
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  • Day90

    Wyndcliff, Wye Valley

    January 22, 2021 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Clear blue sky, low white sun
    Long ash tree shadows
    Translucent Green moss
    Robin visits, eyes me, departs
    Pre-spring bird song
    Feels like spring
    Budding cuckoo pint (that called to me from the Wheel that morning), by great beeches skirted with bright shining moss
    Two women think I'm sick when I kneel to photograph the cuckoo pint
    Walk off the path through wild yew tree woods
    Find wild boar droppings and tracks
    Walk through the iron age enclosure
    More evidence of boar
    Beautiful sunlight on electric green moss and beech trees
    Sit for lunch on favourite limestone rock
    A Buzzard floats majestically over the tree, speckled wings sunlit, looks down at me, then sails on calling out across the Wye river's rising tide
    Do my nature rituals with eyes open and breathing deeply through nose
    Photograph blue-green moss on rotting tree stump
    Large family of long-tailed blue tits pass over through the branches high above
    Head on through woods around enclosure
    Photograph yellow fungi on fallen tree
    Walk around and down towards the old Roman harbour
    See a mother roe deer and her smaller young
    Staff still and they run up towards me, stop to eye me, then sound spooks mother and they trot off
    I walk back through the woods along the deer trods
    I come across the mother roe deer and young again, and they run up and away into the woods
    I walk down to the banks of the Wye, which is swollen with heavy rains and tree trunks and plant material float down
    Walked back up along the deer trods
    Sky grows dark with rain clouds, giving the woods an onimous, mysterious character
    The path up is blocked by fallen trees
    I say to a man walking towards me on the path that 'the weather's coming in'
    It starts to rain, growing very heavy
    I enjoy the contrast of weathers since the sunny morning
    I leave my found hazel walking stick resting in a tree by the path
    It rains heavily as I travel back home over the Severn bridge
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  • Day65

    Soar Mill Cove

    December 28, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    Stormy start
    Walk down to Soar Mill Cove
    Met woman with dog - "what a corker", "yes, bit a looks like a shower is coming", "well, it's what happens"
    Cows block the path
    Wide views of the sea
    Flock of small birds over edge of cliffs
    Few people on the beach
    Tide out
    Robin greeting me in adjoining field
    Walk onto beach over babbling brook
    Explored the beach, caves at the back
    Cove in a great bowl of rock, high and jagged on either side
    Two great rocks on the beach
    Picked up a small stone with rock and spar
    Seagulls sailing above
    Seaweed on the sand
    Walked up other side and sat on outcrop looking back down the coast eating lunch
    Very cold wind
    Sea crashing on rocks below, white froth
    Carried on round rock outcrops past flowering gorse
    Walked up to high outcrop
    Surveyed the views up and down the coastline
    Sheltered behind high standing stone as a storm passed.
    Walked back down to Cove
    Decided to wait for the sun and was rewarded by a kestrel passing
    Sun arrived giving stunning views down coastline
    Cloudscapes over the sea
    Walked back down to beach with tide coming in.
    Man carries tree trunk driftwood
    Family fire
    High waves rolling in, with wind blowing water back off the tops of the waves, backlit by the sun
    Leave the beach and sea chaffinch on fence, which then flies into adjoining field.
    Walk back up to headland with more views back down the coast
    Blackbird flies out of gorse and over the cliff edge.
    Sun gets low on horizon, backlighting more cows
    Sun sets over sea as driving home and near full moon rises beautifully into blue sky..
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  • Day64

    Sharp Tor and Yar Tor, Dartmoor, Devon

    December 27, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Storm night before
    Unexpectedly sunny
    Low white Sun creating long shadows
    Lively family in van in car park
    Beautiful walk down to valley with water snaking down like the Amazon River
    Crossing the waters by dead tree sculpture
    Climbing up the other side, with views of Sharp Tor
    Silhouettes of Hawthorns with Tor behind
    View from Tor with cold winds blowing
    Misty Holne Valley
    Cloudscapes with the Sun
    Lunch in the sunshine in the shelter of the Tor
    Just before a snowy squall from black clouds passes over
    Walk back down sunny windswept escarpment
    Meet van family with kids splashing across the river jubilantly in wellies
    Climb, puffing up the steep side
    Walk on up gentle slope to Yar Tor
    Wide views over surrounding moorland
    Can see Bonehill Rocks and associated Tors where I last walked shining in bright yellow sunlight.
    Friendly man says hello from below, and says I look prepared for the weather - his daughter isn't - but she bravely climbs the heights of a granite rock stack and stands calmly at the top.
    Place my hands on the granite and feel its deep healing for my lungs.
    Walk back down as the temperature drops dramatically with the sun.
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  • Day33

    Llancaut Nature Reserve, Wye Valley

    November 26, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    The white winter sun shone low above the rows of red tiled rooftops, a bright blazing point of stillness amid the busy rush-hour traffic of Bristol below. I squinted out the open window into the pale blue sky, with the morning frost dissolving into sun warmed mist, rising up from the roof tiles, and wafting into my bedroom, in swirling eddies of icy air.

    I took the decision to pack for a day out in the sun, and headed for Lancault Nature Reserve, nestling in the river cliffs of the lower Wye Valley, by a long abandoned medieval village, near the castle town of Chepstow

    I arrived at the small car park at the top of the high, vertiginous river cliffs of the Wye Valley, carved out spectacularly by the raging melt waters, that flooded out of the giant ice sheets at the end of the last ice age. As I walked down the leaf matted, muddy path, I peered out through the trees with their few remaining, clinging leaves, over a soft white sea of mist resting gently and ghostly over the river valley below.

    I descended into the cold embrace of this airy apparition slowly enveloping me. The surrounding, dark silhouetted trees became more and more indistinct, as if in a fading memory of a dream, going in and out of existence. The path descended steeply through dense woodland, then emerged out into a more open vista of the river valley, by a wooden gate and a dew soaked oak bench.

    A small ruined chapel slept quietly in the hollow below, its time-worn stone edges, lightly etched in the mist, with the river as insubstantial as spirit, glistening in the opaque sunshine beyond. Broken gravestones laid along the outside of the chapel's old stone walls, carved with the half visible memory of someone's beloved, now lost to time and neglect, but once, no doubt, a vibrant, hearty and living presence in the community.

    A Christian chapel is believed to have stood in this place since the fifth century AD, and successive generations worshipped here from the local village, abandoned after the ravages of the black death, which called out from deep time to our own modern plague spreading around the world.

    The chapel once contained a renowned lead font filled with iconic imagery, now preserved in Gloucester cathedral. The chapel was attended by parishioners up until the late 1800s, and had the posture, presence and atmosphere of an ancient, sacred place, perched over a great arc in the river Wye and over a great arc of ancestral history.

    I walked inside the now roofless chapel, where another intact, but greatly worn gravestone, dedicated to two souls departed at the end of the 1600s, lay facing up to the weathering sky. I felt the greeting presence of ancestral spirits all around me. I looked out through the high, narrow, stone window frame to the white sun shining its glittering path on the river, thinking of the generations that had lived, worshipped and died here. I cleaned the grit and stones strewn across the gravestone to honour the memory of those long buried, but still somehow here and present.

    I walked out and down to the riverside grasses, as the brown, glistening mud banks stretched down to the low tidal river, beautifully carved with complex water channels spreading outwards like networks of veins draining into the river's watery body. Further down the path, the grasses turned to thick, wet mud, and I took off my trail shoes to squelch, slip and slide barefoot in this cold, foot-soothing mud-bath.

    I eventually turned off the path and up to my destination on a small hillock which stands proud above the banks, overlooking a sharp U-bend in the river. The mist still lay thick in the valley here, so that the sun shone palely and I could only just make out the silhouetted skeleton branches of the trees on the far side of, what appeared like, the mythological river Styx. A tawny owl hooted mournfully from the vertical, grey slabs of river cliff rising up behind me, to further fill the valley with an eery, deathly quality.

    I sat silently, in this darkly lit underworld, closing my eyes, connecting deeply with the natural elements surrounding me as the cold wind swept down the invisible valley dusting my brow with droplets of misty condensation.

    While my eyes were long closed in contemplation, a magic spell was weaving all about me. I opened my eyes to find the mist lifting in great, steaming convolutions, chased away down the valley by the gathering strength of the mid-morning sun, which now pierced the former gloom with linear spears of white light.

    The land of the dead where I had been wandering reflectively only moments before, had risen up in a resurrection of the living day. The mists retreated further down the valley where great river cliffs rose victoriously out of the dormant dark to become solid and manifest again. A small flock of seagulls shining white as newly washed linen, standing out starkly against the mud~brown of the river water below, flapped and interweaved their way up the newly emerged valley. They flew past me, then collectively reconsidered, and turned back to land on the shining banks of mud, to pick through the rich population of invertebrates living out their lives in their trillions below the surface.

    A commotion of crow caws then impressed upon my attention, and I looked around to see a large buzzard rise majestically out of the thick corridor of trees skirting the valley floor, chased by two scrabbling, squawking crows, protecting their own. The buzzard gained an effortless elevation and soared in a wide circle above my head, looking down upon me loftily, her long speckled wings fanning out, before drifting over the river cliff behind.

    One of the chasing crows, relaxing after the buzzard's departure, settled on the mud at a distance, surveying the wide river. I watched him for a while, feeling my way towards a connection with his inner being. I silently asked him to come and visit me. At that very moment, he lifted into the air and flew over to a low grassy perch not far below me, and seemed to look at me curiously through eyes lit like shiny black polished stones of jet.

    In a misjudged attempt at kindness, I threw a small piece of apple that I was eating towards him, but my sudden move spooked him and he lifted back into the air to return to his former spot. I regretted my rash move, and the crow flew out across the river to land in the gnarly branches of a hawthorn tree which was growing brazenly amidst a thin stand of other hawthorns precariously stretched along a large muddy spur of the river bank.

    The white, diffuse sun, traced a low passage across the winter sky, casting deep shadows in the jagged river-cliff rocks, where peregrines occasionally screeched like banshees unseen. Long, thin, shadows of the river bank trees stretched out across the silky chocolate river water, which was now rising inexorably with the Severn estuary tide, and providing an almost perfect mirrored reflection of the cliffs and trees above.

    A large fish leapt out of the depths further upstream, but I looked over just after she had returned to her watery element with a resounding splash that echoed up the valley. The surface waters rippled and sparkled in the late afternoon sun. A large bumble bee hummed up past me, and a small green spider made himself at home on the sleeve of my waterproof jacket. I gently blew him off for his own protection, but he held on with an extended silken thread, to wind his way up to return to my sleeve, persistence personified.

    I looked up to find that a heron had perched herself, preening, on a horizontal branch of one of the hawthorn trees on the opposite bank, warming and drying herself in the descending, waning, sunlight, after a long day’s fishing.

    Time flowed on languidly with the river flowing gently backwards with the rising tide, white bubbles curling inwards in natural ‘paisley’ patterns forming and then unravelling, in the brown surface sheen, revealing the hidden pull of deep undercurrents.

    The sun began to fall behind the thick woodland layers of the leafless trees’ bare canopies, on the far side of the river. The tawny owl hooted behind me, giving notice of the dusk’s soporific, and dreamy approach.

    As I got up to leave, an older man, with a lyrical welsh accent approached in a friendly manner, and we exchanged a few polite words, before I left him to take in the wonderful view that I had been gifted alone all the day.

    As I made my way back up the steep path, I encountered a herd of black sheep feeding lustily on the thick grasses near the old chapel, their thick woollen coats catching the last of the evening rays of sun, which illuminated the whole area in an orange, ethereal, almost unearthly glow. The sheep almost took flight at my approach, but we sniffed a greeting to each other, and they relaxed to return to their chewing of the grasses, with a rhythmic crunching and wrenching sound.

    I continued climbing the steep path, winding its way back up the high river cliffs, past elaborately coloured fungi and mosses on a fallen tree, all glowing vividly in the evening light. I took one last look back across the dimming valley, before passing two old stone lime kilns, and banks of Yew trees, with roots flowing over limestone rocks still glowing in the last shafts of dwindling sunlight.

    Above the valley cliffs’ long curving, jagged rim, a large, pale blue waxing moon rose effulgently into a slowly darkening sky, joined closely by Mars twinkling reddish pink.

    After returning home, whiling away the evening hours, and preparing for sleep, I sent my thoughts back to the chapel at Lancaut, musing that the tawny owl would be abroad, hunting in the valley. I turned over to my own dreaming, night journey down the river Styx in the mist.

    Woke up to sun
    Mist on the Severn
    Above sea of mist at Lancaut car park
    Ancient chapel
    Feeling at graves
    Barefoot on muddy path
    Sitting in the mist
    Tawny owl calls
    Mist clears magically
    Small bright flock of seagulls
    Crow comes to visit but I scare him
    Peregrine screech
    Reflections on the river
    Buzzard flyover
    Bee visits
    Buzzard emerges from cliff
    Small spider
    Heron preaning in the tree
    Welsh man
    Black sheep
    Evening sunlight
    Waxing moon in pale blue sky
    Moon and Mars in night sky
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  • Day26

    Sand Point, Kewstoke, Somerset

    November 19, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    - Welcoming Robin in car park
    -Muddy entrance, bare feet
    - Cloudy with occasional sun
    - Slipping over rocks
    View out over mud flats to estuary, Steep Holme and Flat Holme
    - Cold wind
    - Rushing sound of the waves, soothing like a whisper
    - Oyster Catchers, crying - hoo, hoo, hoo, warble, and feeding in the mood
    - small flock of birds, dancing overhead
    - sky painted sunlight on mountainous clouds
    - sea cave, with snails behind
    - cold windy lunch
    - the sun appears low and white, from tumultuous clouds
    - crow flies by, and a pair of crows patrols the headland
    - Walk across the rocks in blazing winter sunshine and steeply climb up onto the headland of Sand Point
    - Epic cloudscape
    - All around views of the Severn Estuary in the sunshine
    - Oyster Catchers feeding in the mudflats
    - Strong cold winds, took shelter in a wild rock garden
    - laid dozing in the sunshine, out of the wind
    - walked back up the ridge, spectacular views
    - Rosehip
    - Storms crossing the North Devon coast lit by the sun
    - People not so friendly in the pandemic
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