We made our way to the coastal town of Cardigan a short drive from where we were staying for our Pembrokeshire holiday, mainly to visit the castle. In fact we found the town itself to be a very interesting place as well as the castle.
There was so much colour in the town’s main streets, with houses and businesses painted in all sorts of shades.
We found Cardigan to be a quirky little town which was a most enjoyable place to wander around. The castle would be our next port of call.
As promised I am now sharing with you my photos taken at Cardigan Castle. As you will soon see it is a very varied place featuring all sorts from a celebration chair to a sword and from an allotment to a pillbox!
Enjoy this selection of my photos!
I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour which is somewhat of a mystery tour!
After enjoying our coastal walk in Cornwall last year we looked forward to exploring part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path. We spent much of the walk looking at the wildflowers growing close to the track and out to sea watching black and white plumaged Oyster Catchers flying in formation quickly flirting with the waves. In every bay gulls of many different sorts called from their nesting ledges to their partners bringing in food. The noise level and excitement level rose sharply whenever Peregrines or Sparrow Hawk flew close by. All along the walk we were accompanied by Kestrel hovering and eyeing up the short grasses below them in search of small mammals. In the scrubland along the clifftops on both sides of the paths small songbirds entertained us every moment of our walk, Wren, Dunnock, Linnet, Pippets, Blackbirds and Goldfinches.
Aberporth was the starting point for our coastal trek, and this little coastal village was a very colourful place. It took us a while to find the beginning of the path and we seemed to make a few false starts before finally getting going.
The local planners were not averse to letting architects design modern homes to contrast well with the cottage style prevalent throughout the village.
Once on the path proper we caught site of the headland we decided to aim for. It looked so far away. The path took us along the cliff tops and we spotted so many interesting beautiful wildflowers along the way and also this brightly coloured beetle on a dandelion flower. When we reached our destination the path dropped down steeply and we were able to walk on the beach for a while.
Here steep cliffs towered above us, in places green with algae.
The wooden footpath sign directed us back to Aberporth and as usual the return journey took us half the time of the way out. But we discovered just as many interesting wildflowers as we did on the way there.
We still have not decided where our next coastal holiday will be but it will definitely be where there are accessible walks close to the sea.
This post was written right at the beginning of the year but I never got round to publishing it, so here it is a day spent at the seaside to celebrate the arrival of a new year, 2019.
It has become a tradition with Jude and I to spend New Year’s Day at the seaside, sometime on the north coast, sometimes mid-wales. For 2019 we made the trip to mid-wales settling on Aberystwyth as our venue for the day. Daughter Jo and son-in-law Rob joined us so it was extra special.
We are always amazed when at the coast how both Mother Nature and visiting humans produce little creations with pebbles and driftwood.
As the day wore on the light changed and a warm light lit up the sea and the rocks where the tide rushed in with frothy waves.
So now we can look forward to January 1st 2020 a new year’s day seaside amble and of course a new decade’s day amble too!
While enjoying a family holiday on Anglesey we decided it would be a great day out if we all went on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, something that none of us had ever done before. The idea was that we would all go up to the summit of Snowdon on the railway and our children with their spouses would walk back down. Jude and I with Arabella would make the descent by train.
We had a brilliant family day out! We began at the train station at the bottom of the mountain railway track, booked our tickets and waited for the off. It was a busy little station painted brightly in yellow and green, decorated with carved wooden detailing. It loked so cheerful on this sunny day. We had time for refreshment in the station buffet as we waited for the arrival of our train. Excitement rose as it pulled in to the station. Our engine was called Padarn. The huge smile on Arabella’s face reflected our excitement.
There is something so special about riding a steam train but the thought of this little engine pulling us up a mountain added extra frisson.
The slow ascent accompanied by the sounds and smells of the steam engine, took us through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We all felt so lucky. Everyone smiled for the whole journey and excitedly commentated to their friends or family. Passengers who began the ascent as strangers were soon talking and chatting like old friends – the power of steam nostalgia.
At the summit we had a short time to appreciate the engine and the view, enjoy a coffee and watch Jamie, Sam, Jo and Rob set off walking down the mountain, the tallest mountain in England and Wales.
We have waited ages to get around to making the journey of the steam railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon and back, but it was most certainly worth the wait. I don’t think it will be long before we return to do it all over again.
When we stayed on Anglesey earlier this summer we rented a converted farm cottage which had been amazingly sympathetically modernised. The view from our bedroom balcony looked down over the ruins of pigsties. They added so much to the atmosphere of the place where we were staying. I thought I would share a few photos of this old agricultural building with you. I hope you enjoy them.
In the wall next to our holiday home was this old decommisioned postbox. A pair of Great Tits however had found a new use for the box, creating a nest and laying their eggs in the bed of down.
One of the aspects of Anglesey we love so much is its long, long history with signs of man’s influence on the island going back to pre-historic times. As a family we have always enjoyed visiting historic sites, castles, cromlechs, burial mounds etc.
Anglesey has plenty to offer in this field and during our short early September break we took advantage of a few almost dry days to discover a few places of neolithic significance. We set off to find a cromlech and a burial mound, which are not the easiest of places to come across.
The burial mound, called Bryn Celli Ddu which means the Mound in the Dark Grove was 5000 years old and was a passage tomb built to align with the rising sun on the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice. We wandered along a zig-zagging path between fields, with hedges hanging over us giving the impression of a dark tunnel. We seemed to have been walking a long way before a view sudden opened up before us, much lighter and open. There sat the barrow! We were amazed how good a condition it was in and the fact it was partly open to explore the passageway into the centre.
Once inside we waited a while until our eyes became used to the light and explored further, discovering beautiful carvings and offerings left by modern day visitors, a beautiful link to the past.
We could look back out towards today and daylight. We felt deeply moved by this experience and couldn’t wait to drive off to find our next magical prehistoric place.
The cromlech was very close to our holiday cottage so did not take long to find. On the walk to the ancient stones we noticed this stand of wind-pruned stunted trees, a feature of this windswept island.
We love Anglesey and our favourite seaside place must be Beaumaris with its castle and its little pier. It is a seaside town in miniature. In the early autumn of 2017 Jude, the Undergardener and I spent a short break on Anglesey with our son Jamie, daughter-in-law Sam and granddaughter Arabella, and we just had to share our love of the place with them. We had taken Jamie there as a child but Sam, having lived her childhood in France and then moving to Leicester had never been before and baby Arabella was too young to have visited yet in her short life.
We took a wander along the sea front and to the end of the pier and back.
Having arrived at the little town mid-morning we needed to find a refreshment place prior to exploring the castle, and discovered this friendly cafe close to the castle alongside the bowling green. It looked very bright with its cerise and green coloured furniture.
From there we passed this old cottage with its typical cottage styled garden before arriving at the castle itself.
It must be one of the most photogenic castles in the UK, as well as being of great historic importance and significance. Jude has given me this information concerning the castle as I am no historian.
The construction of Beaumaris Castle began in 1295 and was built by Edward 1st, the last in a programme of castle building in Wales by the English to subjugate the Welsh. The castle was never finished however as money ran out! It is unusual in that it has a set of walls within walls for extra fortification. A surprising feature is its gateway to the sea, a tidal dock which allowed ships direct access to the castle to deliver supplies.
We had last visited the castle many years ago and had forgotten just how beautiful it was. Jude, being an historian looked at it from a different perspective from my aesthetic viewpoint, but we both absolutely love it.
March at the Dingle woodland garden at The Dingle and Nursery near Welshpool proved to be a time with special light when the sun appeared for odd periods. I am sharing some of my photos taken of the landscape and the light playing with it. I hope you enjoy them!
We took a short one hour drive out into Wales today to visit a National Trust property, Erddig which we hoped would afford us the opportunity of exploring a garden with winter interest, interest found in its formal structure, its topiary and imaginative pruning as well as planting. We knew that it holds the National Collection of Hedera (Ivies), so we had something specific and extra to look for too.
After too many wet weeks the day dawned bright and we were to be treated to a day of bright winter sunshine, which would play with shadows and light throughout our walk. We were surprised to discover that the whole place, buildings and gardens were in a state of disrepair bordering on dereliction in the 1960’s when a new owner decided to rescue it and awaken a real jewel of a property.
Two welcome signs greeted us as we entered, a rustic overhead design and another with a beautiful quote which read, “Where fragrance, peace and beauty reign ….”. We would soon see if this were true.
The garden is Grade 1 listed and is based around the 18th Century design. Amazingly it works well today! Even the car park and courtyards on the way in had points of interest to us gardeners, some of the Ivy cultivars, ancient wall-trained fruit, a beautifully carved wooden seat featuring carved horse heads and a vintage garden watering cart. We soon met our first Hederas (Ivy) in the collection, an unlabelled specimen which grew to frame a window, and one with beautiful foliage, Hedera hiburnicum variegata.
A feature we were looking forward to at Erddig was the huge variety of creatively pruned trees, both fruit trees and conifers. Some of these fruit trees must be decades old but are still skillfully pruned. Really well pruned and trained fruit trees are really beautiful. It felt good to see these age old gardening skills carrying on so professionally.
We discovered this double row of pleached limes after spotting an orange glow as the winter sun caught the new twigs and buds.
Beautifully topiarised conifers were presented in neat rows and as hedges throughout the formal garden area.
Not all the conifers were trimmed and controlled though, some were left to mature and become tall proud specimens.
We loved this tall double row of pollarded Poplar trees towering above our path, their network of silhouettes highlighted against the blue sky. This added to the strong structure of the garden.
We love to see a touch of humour in gardens and points of interest for children and we enjoyed a few here as we wandered around Erddig.
Erddig holds the National collection of Ivies, growing a huge selection of Hedera, but it took us along time to find the organised and well-labelled display of them growing along an old brick-built wall. We were amazed by the sheer variety, from plants with plain green typical leaves to those with the most beautiful and subtle variegation.
Don’t you just love to see what gardeners are up to when you visit a garden? Here hedge cutting and mulching borders with rich well-matured farmyard manure were keeping the gardeners on their toes. We were very impressed with the quality of their work and the evidence of a sense of pride in everything they did.
From the front of the house itself we found some wide views over the surrounding countryside.
I have only briefly mentioned the Ivy collection at Erddig so far but I will change all that by sharing a collection of my pics of the Ivies as a gallery. Please enjoy by clicking on the first photo and using the arrows to navigate.
Hollies feature too with a lovely varied collection sadly with no labels but here are some to enjoy anyway.
Each photo of an Ilex tree is matched with a close up of its foliage.
So you can appreciate just how impressed we were with the gardens at Erddig on our return visit after many years. We will be returning more often in the future!