We had to go to Swansea recently and decided to add a couple of extra days for amusing ourselves. We had rented a flat for this stay overlooking Swansea Bay and this was the view from our balcony. It’s a pity it was cloudy.
The weather on the third (last) day was better.
The morning of the second day was when our trip began to get interesting. We drove to Rhossili Bay at the end of the Gower Peninsula. The weather was cloudy but dry which was not good for photography but there was little we could do about it.
Having parked the car we walked to the cliff top and we couldn’t really miss seeing Rhossili Bay could we?
We started walking roughly west along the cliff top (that’s left out of the picture above) but not too near the edge you understand. These cliffs are fairly high and the rocks are steeply bedded. It is very unlikely that one of those figures in the picture below is likely to be me.
As we walked along, on our left away from the sea, there were some meadows which were covered in Dog Daisies but, looking a little closer, one could see that there were a variety of wild flowers growing in among the daisies. Lovely!
A little further along we had our first sighting of Worms Head which is accessible only at low tide and for a limited time so if you get it wrong you’ll be spending the night there.
There were a lot of wild flowers around, which attracted butterflies, and I managed to sneak up on this Painted Lady without frightening it away.
When we reached the coastguard lookout station overlooking Worms Head there was a path which wound down to beach level so, of course, we had to follow it. We did end up on the shore and had a different view of Worms Head. I suppose I should call it the shore rather than the beach as it is all rock here – not a sign of sand.
We huffed and puffed our way back up the path and thence back to our car. We arrived back at our flat in the late afternoon and, being so near the beach, we decided to go and have a look at the sea.
As you can see we had to fight our way through the holidaymakers packed onto the beach but we did manage to make our way down the beach towards the sea. On the way we passed a number of bands of shells which included Oyster shells and I thought that they looked rather attractive so I picked some up. We finally arrived at the waters edge and I found myself carrying about 12 Oyster shells. Those shells are now at home and all I need is to think of something to do with them. The following photograph is a sample.
Just to prove that we finally reached the sea.
That tower is the Meridian Tower and we had dinner there in the evening in the Grape and Olive restaurant on the top, 29th, floor. This is supposed to be the highest building in wales.
The following morning dawned fine and sunny – well it would wouldn’t it because today is the day we go home. However we may be going home but we are planning a few visits on the way and our first stop was Neath a short 15 minute drive from Swansea.
Here we are by the Tennant Canal in Neath. But, wait, what is that peeking over the trees at us? It’s Neath Abbey of course; yet another ruined abbey, one of many that litter this country, under the stewardship of CADW.
Founded in 1130 this is not a small place and along with Llanthony Priory and Tintern Abbey, the ruins of Neath Abbey are the most important and impressive monastic remains in south-east Wales.
There was some restoration in progress when we were there and a large part of the abbey was covered in scaffolding so I didn’t photograph any of that.
Just as we were about to leave Amanda spotted a swarm of bees on one of the walls.
Having had a good look around we set off for our next destination which, again, was only a short drive away.
This is Aberdulais Falls owned by the National Trust and, although the falls are very picturesque, it is more that just a waterfall.
This narrow gorge at the mouth of the Dulais River outside Neath has been at the heart of the Welsh industrial story, thanks to its bountiful supplies of coal, timber and, of course, water.
It all started with copper-smelting which gave way to ironworking, the milling of textiles and grain and, most significant of all, the manufacture of 19th century tinplate. It is a truly picturesque scene now and it is difficult to imagine the heat, dust, noise and dirt that must have dominated the scene back then.
There is a very large waterwheel which can often be seen running but they had had to stop it before we got there, naturally, because a blackbird had decided to set up its nest in the wheel.
The waterwheel can be seen in context with the remains of some of the old furnaces and the smoke stack.
This is the highest (up river) of the falls and was quite spectacular even though it hasn’t been particularly wet lately and just below it are the next waterfalls.
There is a tea room and toilets here which is rather handy so we made use of both and left for our next destination which, you may have guessed, was just a short drive away. This was the village of Melincourt and we parked in the sign-posted car park (free) and followed the sign-posted path for about 15 minutes. This is what we came to see.
The path up follows the stream valley and makes a pleasant walk to the falls but, having seen the falls, it was time to walk back to the car and proceed to our final destination. This time it was more than a short drive so lets get on with it.
After driving along a narrow lane, one cars width, for what seemed like forever we finally spotted the National Trust car park. Although this is owned by the National Trust entry is not controlled and one can come and go as one pleases. We parked and started off down the path which turned out to be nowhere as near straight-forward as the previous destination.
The path was steep and one eventually arrives a a point where it seems to level off and gives one hope that this must be near the bottom – but no. We had to climb a bit and then descend again and the route included these steps and a bridge.
That’s Amanda down there on the bridge – wait for me!
We did get there in the end.
This is Henrhyd Waterfall and that tiny figure on the ledge behind the water is Amanda.
This was our last call of the day so it was time to go home but first we have to go back UP that path. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be and we arrived at the car without having to crawl the last few yards.
We were still south of Brecon so we still had an hour and fifteen minutes to drive home. We got there. Until next time.