Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Power of Nature

We have had ample demonstrations recently of the power of nature, the tsunami in Japan and the on going earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealad are but two of them.

I have had a reminder this week that nature also shows its  strength in quieter less dramatic ways but no less awe inspiring for that.

This was taken in an area of woodland  in which were former mines in Lydney close to the Forest of Dean. In a few more years much of the workings will be completely hidden by vegetation.

An even more dramatic example here. Taken nearby in an area that was heavily quarried  this old yew tree has actually split the rock as it grows through the obstruction.

Another picture of the same tree showing the sheer size of it. The roots are out of the shot on the left on the other side of the rock pillar.

It must have been growing prior to the quarrying as all the surrounding stone has been removed but the quarry workers allowed this to remain.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Just down the road from Tintagel is Boscastle - the only thing I can find fault with here is that it isn't Welsh! We've visited now a number of times and I will always be happy to return.

The village with has a picturesque harbour and we were honoured by the company of a seal who was as interested in watching us as we were in watching him!

In 2004, the village was almost washed away by a flash flood but there is little sign of that now other than an exhibition in the village, some water height plaques and the dehumidifiers still present in the church.

Boscastle is of course famous for its Museum of Witchcraft.

Follow the link and take a virtual tour of some of the exhibits

 Leaving the village  though is a  enjoyable circular walk which takes you along the river up through the valley that was the cause of so much devastation. Much of this is ancient woodland and the "feel" is very different from mor emodern managed woodland. Very calm and peaceful. Dippers bob along the river and there are large lazt trout swimming in the deeper pools.

The circuit takes you back past the chuchyard and close to the grave of the famous Boscastle witch Joan Wytte.  She died in prison aged only 38 and there is some irony that she was actually sentanced for brawling rather than witchcraft. For many years her skeleton was on display at the Museum  until it was buried by the current owner.

A gravestone bearing the wording " Joan Wytte. Born 1775. Died 1813 in Bodmin Jail. Buried 1998. No longer abused" is placed close to her grave but the actually location of the burial is kept secret ( probably wisely). None of my pictures of the gravestone came out very well; this is the best. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

In search of King Arthur

Without any success I hasten to add! Geoffrey of Monmouth has a lot to answer for but I guess the local tourist industry is grateful.

Tintagel, whilst a beautiful setting, has not a shred of evidence to support its claim to the legendary king but that doesn't stop the town capitalising on the possibility of course! Another Green World which is Peter Pracownik's shop and studio is well worth a visit if you like fantasy art and the Old Post Office is quite interesting. Otherwise just head down to the coastline and castle itself.

The scenery is amazing. No photographs do justice to it. The castle itself was built on the headland and the complex spreads on to the adjacent island.

Built around 1230   but with evidence of habitation dating back to Roman times the castle is now completely ruined.

It is a steep walk down to the castle ( you can pay an additional charge and be ferried by landrover) and once you are there you are faced with  endless flights of steep steps back up but the views are worth it.

 Merlin's Cave is accessible from the beach ( more steps!) and the long climb up to the top of the island is rewarded by the remains of Edward of Cornwall's castle.

Little is still standing, some of that being rebuilt aswell but the floor plans of mainly rooms/dwelllings can still be seen

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Garden of Eden meets Dionysus

From one end of the country to the other and the Eden project in Cornwall. This was once a disused clay pit which has been transformed by the use of  "biomes" ( large plastic bubbles to the rest of us) into a global garden.

The scale is quite breathtaking and in the rainforest biome you could quite easily be in a sanitised rainforest. An aerial walkway gives panoramic views of the interior. In keeping with the educational nature of the project there are some static displays depicting village houses and an eye opening area of devastation representing the amount of rainforest cut down every ten minutes.

Next door is the  Mediterranean biome with the most amazing piece of installaton art - The Rite of Dionysus by the sculptor Tim Shaw.

Dionysus himself is represented as a huge copper bull in a vineyard and  surounded by the maenads or the "raving ones".

Classically the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunkeness until all self control was lost and they would  hunt down animals  and tear  them to pieces.

The spirit of this frenzy has been captured manificently by Shaw in his depiction of the dancing maenads.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...