Sunday, 3 October 2010

Trip to the Gower - Whiteford Burrows

The sands are big in Wales. Not like the south-east of England, where beaches are small and easy to master. A walk to the end of Whiteford Burrows must be planned in advance, but when you're walking you can lose yourself in thought as the horizon remains unchanging, only the waves and clouds moving.
Occasionally something in the water catches your attention, like the large Dustbin Lid Jellyfish. Finally, the end of the spit is in sight, and you see that the old Victorian lighthouse is covered in cormorants.
A small herd of Sea-cows munch the sharp grasses on the seaward side of the point, and Sea-horses graze the softer grasses and herbs on marshes on the other sheltered side.
This rich mixture gives a distinctive flavour to the meat of the Gower sheep, and Sea Wormwood especially fills the air with a herbal tang. I picked a sprig and put it behind my ear - a pungent perfume that kept the flies away.
Sea Wormwood
A saxifrage - dotting the marshland interspersed with glasswort.

The boundary of Llanrhidian Marsh is edged with Marsh Mallow. Last week Sue Buckingham gave a fascinating talk at Kingsdown Gardening Society about Wild Flowers and their Names, and told us the this plant was planted outside privvies in times of deprivation, as the soft leaves were 'useful'. She also reminded us of its Latin name. Lavatera humour!

Blue Fleabane

Bloody Cranesbill

I followed an interesting moth flying over the dunes, and watched it fly into a spider's web - it was wrapped up and dead in a minute, and then the Four-Spot Orb Spider got busy repairing the web in readiness for the next victim.
The number of Oystercatchers roosting at high tide around the Gower coast was remarkable, accompanied by smaller numbers of other waders. The effect of uncontrolled dogs is the same everywhere.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

I like the smell of the Herb family Steve. Ive planted up lots of containers in my garden with different species, the insects love them too.