Saturday, 28 February 2009

Thursday's long walk

Wonderful old tree - shame about the phone wires!

I've just realized that I haven't written this up yet - though some of the photos are over on Nature Notes. On Thursday I did a walk from Court Henry (where my husband dropped me off), and up along a trackway which formed two sides of a square leading back to a road on the top end. Then I left the village behind me and walked back up towards Llanfynydd. The sun was out, occasionally, and it really felt like spring was tentatively coming out of hiding.

All sorts of wild flowers are putting out leaves in the shelter of the hedgerow - Dogs Mercury, Lords and Ladies, overwintered Foxgloves, Stitchwort, Ground Ivy, masses of Cow Parsley leaves which were even pushing through the winter snow this year, much as they have in milder winters recently. In sheltered spots, leaves of various wild geraniums, especially the Shining Cranesbill which always flowers early. There were flowers on the barren strawberries too and of course, the gorse coverts were well in bloom. Just the time to pick flowers for Gorse Wine.

I took a short cut back through the grounds of Pantglas, once a beautiful Italianate mansion, but then its fate was sealed once it came into Council hands and housed the mentally ill of the county. It is now demolished, all bar the tower, and the grounds house a series of holiday log cabins . . . It's history is here:

I watched the ducks on the lake in front of the former stable yard, and had a lovely chat with the groundsman, who told me all sorts of stories about the wildlife of the area, and where various birds of prey nested and lots of duck-talk! I walked around the bigger lake in front of the house - or rather, the tower, which is all that remains of it now. The maintenance of old buildings is not usually a priority with local Councils . . . and of course it was demolished.

Fortunately the lane home was downhill after that, though our hill took some climbing as my legs were quite tired by then. I must get back into the routine of the daily walk which fell by the wayside during the perishing cold days of January and early February. As for sayings, "February fill-dyke" - not this year. We had our "peck of March dust" ("worth king's ransom") THIS month instead - unheard of in Wales. I do hope this doesn't mean a dry winter equals a wet summer.

January lambs are quite well-grown now.

Just to the right of this first upright fence wire in is a curious valley. i cannot decide whether it is totally natural (flat bottomed too) or navvied out for some reason - it doesn't look like the normal quarries we have around here, which tend to be into the side of a hill. The railway never ran this way . . .

Looking across different fields to Black Mountain beyond.

The tower of Pantglas hoves into view.

A close-up - all that remains of the grand Italianate mansion house build in the 1830s.

The wonderful stable block was retained, but turned into a gym, cafe, games room, and restaurant etc.

The lake in front of the house and below, a wonderful patch of snowdrops.


Anonymous said...

I saw some lambs from the train window today. :)

Morning's Minion said...

"hoves" into view: "hove" as a verb is part of my inherited vocabulary [from where?] but I would use it as a past tense. How I envy your walks--here one is too quickly in dangerous wild territory with mountain lions very prevalent as soon as you begin to climb into the foothills.

Rowan said...

Lovely to see the spring lambs, I was quite surprised as round here the lambs come much later. I sympathize with you about the phone wires, hard to get any countryside photos without wires , pylons or mobile phone aerials these days!

Bovey Belle said...

Rowan - on some farms they have their first lambs at Christmas! Then fattening nicely for the Easter market . . . Others elect to lamb at Easter, and lose less lambs that way.

Sharon - hove on its own without the s it should be, but near as dammit - glad it's a word you recognize. Mountain lions on a walk - OMG - sounds like my friend in Alaska, who always walked armed because of the bears! We do have our own "Beast of Brechfa" which has been spotted as variously a black panther and a puma (mountain lion?), so possibly more than one. Brechfa Forest is pretty big and remote in the middle. It's pulled down a foal and badly ripped up a mare at a stud not 2 miles away . . .

Mara - LOVELY to see you again. Hope you are well.

Kirstin said...

How beautiful!!