Yesterday, while the rest of the UK seemed to suffer from gloom, rain and sleet, down here on Gower it was bright and sunny almost all day. There was quite a strong, cold wind but it was a great walking day. So I took myself to Oxwich. The coastal path is a beautiful walk and quiet; I met just two people on the entire walk. It is now part of the Wales Coastal Path, due to be opened officially in a few weeks time. But all the signs are now there ready and waiting.
A week or so back I did the same walk but there was a very low tide so I was able to avoid the climb round the old quarries and walk into Oxwich over the rocks. I walked right past the rock fall that happened in December 2009 which still looks very impressive
Yesterday the tide was not out far enough so I had to take the inland route. On the way up from Oxwich, over the quarries, I counted 268 steps; a tidy climb.
Oxwich has a nature reserve comprising sand dunes and marsh maintained by Countryside Council for Wales. The reserve boasts over 600 different varieties of flowering plants. As I entered it, I spied a yellow flower and in my mind I instantly thought “parsnip”. No, I thought, that is wrong. But what is it? In the next few minutes, I thought there is another yellow flower; similar leaf but with flowers on a stem. Then, flash, the flat one is primrose and the stem one is cowslip. My mind had somehow fused these names together and given me Parsnip. Funny how brains work.
There is a newish bird hide on the reserve and I spent a pleasant half hour there watching not a great deal of activity. But my investment of time was rewarded by a fleeting visit of a swallow (my first sighting of the year) then a heart-warming excursion of a female mallard with her family of 12 ducklings, scuttling hither and thither. She emerged from the reeds on one side and marshalled them across a stretch of open water and into another reed bed on the far side of the pool.
On my return walk I found some early purple orchids in flower, another first for the year. Never mind Spring. One swallow makes it summer now.