Stroll around Llangollen

Today for 30 Days Wild, me and my sister Elysia were enjoying learning about Welsh history as we strolled around the Llangollen area.

Our first visit was to walk across Pontcysyllte aqueduct. This magnificent piece of engineering was by the brilliant Thomas Telford.

The canal here is over 126 feet high up in the sky. The only railing is along the narrow towpath which runs alongside the canal and people shuffle past us awkwardly holding on for dear life as they challenge themselves to be brave and walk across to the other side.

Next we drove toward the beginning of the Horseshoe Pass to a beautiful ruined abbey. The Valle Crucis Abbey was built by the Monks and still has a fish pool full of water. The church part dates back to 12th Century. I love roaming around ruins.

I let my imagination run wild and day dreaming about what it must of looked like when the Monks lived here. There was lots of swallows flying about too nesting inside the ruins. A parent was chirping above our heads as if trying to get our attention; then I noticed 3 lovely little fledglings sat high up on a stone looking down on us. I apologised at once to the parent for disturbing her and said her fledglings were lovely. (People think I’m mad but I always talk to animals)


After exploring the Abbey we then walked along the road (trying to dodge cars and occasionally jumping into the tiny verge as we did so) to see the wonderous 9th Century stone cross called Pillar of Eliseg, that sits on a Bronze Age burial mound.

I love burial mounds, there is something I find very peaceful about them. (especially the ones you can walk into) We walked around the pillar gazing at the inscription and wondering about all the things that this piece of stone has seen. I love learning about Welsh history and all its myths and legends, and I absolutely love the scenery here.


We finished the day off in the town of Llangollen. The place is looking colourful with different flags up, as it wont be long till the International Eisteddfod starts. We sat by the river Dee, eating a Welsh oggie (pastie) and listening to the sound of steam trains whistling by.


Llangollen is a beautiful place and I’m so glad its not far from Chester, so I can visit often.

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Enjoying the rain Day 22 of 30 Days Wild

After the intense heat this week we finally got some rain. Some people run for cover but I stepped outside and embraced it’s cooling touch.

The beautiful azure sky changed colour as fluffy clouds appeared almost sticking to each other like magnets. Large pillows of cloud covered the sun and a fresh breeze caressed my warm skin. Then came the pitter-patter of raindrops, slowly and lightly at first, but then increasing with intensity.

I love the smell of rain after a dry spell and the freshness it brings to the air. You can almost see the plants wiggling happily as the rain soaks their roots. I love the way raindrops sit like diamonds on spider webs and rest on flower petals and leaves like blobs of mercury.

The trickles of rain rolled down my skin cooling me down after a week of intense heat. It was nice to feel the rain again and I bet the plants and wildlife enjoyed it too.

The air now feels a little cooler and the plants have had a drink. I don’t feel as cranky or sleepy now the heatwave has gone. I feel fresh and revived thanks to the rain.

Next time it rains, don’t hide indoors. Instead of moaning about it, think of all the benefits it brings.

Rain is part of nature so embrace it.

Wirral Wanderings -Day 21 of 30 Days Wild

First of all let me start by saying:

Merry Litha, Happy Summer Solstice and Gŵyl Ganol yr Haf hapus everyone. What ever you call the longest day I hope you had a fantastic time.

Today was another hot day but at least by the afternoon it turned overcast and we had 5 minutes of thunder and lightening to clear the air a tiny little bit.

For my 30 days Wild challenge today, I went for a stroll around different parts of the Wirral Peninsula.

My first stop this morning was Gordales garden centre. They have a little lake there and it was teaming with wildlife. There was buzzards flying over head cooing, moorhens splashing about in the water and a variety of small birds eating seed on the ground.

My next stop was Burton Manor gardens in the beautiful chocolate box village of Burton, followed by a quick pop into Burton RSPB nature reserve to see the fantastic wildlife there.

My next exploration took me to a little secret place tucked down a quiet lane called Hampston Well, also in Burton. The spring is is thought to have been in use during the Iron Age and Anglo Saxon times.  Sadly it was overgrown and I never got to see much which is a great shame.

As the sun started to rise high in the sky I drove down to Thurstaston beach to soak up the lovely scenery and gaze over at the Welsh hills across the water. (The river Dee estuary)

I then decided to head to the other side of the Wirral Peninsula.  Half way across I drove past the old Hadlow station. The  disused railway line is now called The Wirral Way and is a great place to walk if you wish to see wildlife and history.

On reaching the river Mersey side of Wirral, my first stop is the old Eastham churchyard to say hello to an ancient yew tree who is somewhere between 1,500-2,000 years old.

I then drove a little further, to walk around the old Eastham pleasure grounds. You can still see evidence here of old zoo cages and a bear pit. It is quite sad to think animals were once kept in such awful conditions in Victorian time.

My final stop of the day was to sit by the old 12th Century Eastham Ferry quay. I sat for a while watching ships come in along the river Mersey and gazed over at the Liverpool iconic skyline on the other side of the river.

Wirral is a wonderful place to visit and there is so much more to see…there just isn’t enough time in the day for me. (even if it is the longest day)

New creature encounters -Day 20 of 30 Days Wild

I had 2 exciting encounters today at work. I saw 2 creatures that I have never seen before.

My first encounter was with a ruby tailed wasp, which landed on my hosepipe as I was watering the plants. Annoyingly the moment I moved to take a photo, it flew off. All I can say is, it had absolutely stunning colours. It was only small but it was iridescent turquoise and vibrant pink. It was beautiful to see, I just wish I had been able to take a photo.

My other encounter was with a ghost slug. This was a thin small white slug which suits its name with its ghostly appearance.

I also had a few lovely admiral butterflies fluttering about me today which was magical and I saw a number of bumblebees buzzing about the flowers. I had a number of hoverflies interested in my bright blue water flask (which was lovely to see) and a number of horseflies interested in me.(which wasn’t a nice experience)

To end the day, a young buzzard landed in the tree next to me and a green woodpecker flew overhead rushing to feed its young.

 

 

Tracking creatures Day 19 of 30 Days Wild

Welcome to the 19th day of my 30 Days Wild challenge. I can’t believe I have managed to blog every day. Its certainly been hard work in this heatwave we have been having.

One of the places where I work is a plant nursery which is set upon a sandy hillside.  The great thing about it being sandy is that I quite often come across little prints in the sand especially first thing in the morning before anyone else arrives on site.

I stumble upon fox and badger paw prints. Lots of rabbit foot prints, and some bird ones too. I have also seen smaller mammals and amphibians on site but not found any tracks yet.

Today I saw a little vole, cute bunnies, a smooth newt, a frog, and I even heard a cuckoo.

.

I have great fun spotting tracks in the sand and watching the wildlife as I walk around; and try and capture a photo if possible.

Here are some tracks that I spotted today.

Owl pellets Day 18 of 30 Days Wild

It was another scorching hot day of 27 °C, so out came the parasol once again so I could hide under it’s shade.

On Friday I was given a tawny owl pellet so today I sat in the garden and began to dissect it.

I didn’t bother soaking the pellet in water first as it was quite soft and started to come apart easily. I got my tweezers and long needle and carefully pulled the fur apart to find all the little bones inside the pellet.

After I had picked out all the bones, I then started to study them. I counted the number of skulls in the pellet and gathered the jaw bones to study further.

It’s amazing seeing all the different types of teeth, skull and jaw bones. Some people may look at the bones in front of me and just say….”well it’s just a small mammal, probably a mouse. All those bones look alike so whats so interesting about that?”

The thing is. If you look more closely you will see that skulls, jawbones and teeth are all different. Once you get your eye in you start to spot the difference between a vole, shrew and mouse. There are a number of clues to look out for such as; shrews have a red tip on their teeth and voles have a zigzag like pattern to their molars.

That’s why I love dissecting owl pellets. They are like a jigsaw puzzle and are a wealth of information about the biodiversity in the owls hunting area.

So next time you find an owl pellet, why not have a go at dissecting it. The bones are normally quite easy to extract with tweezers and it is great fun to examine all those bones and find out about the small mammals that live in the area. It’s great getting so close up to nature.

 

painting in the garden Day 17

It was a very hot day. Too hot to be stuck indoors and too hot to be sat outside in the sun. I decided to get comfy under the shade of a parasol where it felt cooler, and I got creative. I got my paints out and sat waiting for some inspiration to come my way.

I started to think of the environment and what is happening to our planet. I thought about the people who think that climate change is some kind of hoax, about the uncertainty of environmental issues after Brexit and chaos of British politics.

As forests are being cut down, polluted rivers, rising seas and air quality getting poorer, our rich biodiversity is being lost. I made a decision to paint an abstract piece of how this made me feel.

forest destruction

We need to take more care of our planet.

Say No to products with plastic micro beads in them. Say Yes to more greener energies.

Take care of our wildlife and create more wild green spaces.

If we all did even just a little bit, it would make a big difference, not just to planet earth but to ourselves.