Thursday, 31 January 2008

Cymer Abbey

It was a wild, wet, windy, Welsh winter's day, when I visited the remains of Cymer Abbey, just north of Dolgellau. I will come back and see if I can get better images in the summer....

The Abbey as seen from the car park.
This was once home to many Cistercian monks.
These ruins are more than 800 years old.
The Abbey was dissolved over 500 years ago.
If you want to know more about the Abbey,
have a look at this website:

A doorway looking out over what was once a cloister?

An arch in the wall - I must find out what this was.

A set of 3 beautiful arches.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Christmas day walk - aka the Holy Tree walk

We went for a walk on Christmas Day morning, as the weather was good.

We started off about 4 miles from home at a small village called Llanfrynach, and I saw the magnificent Yew avenue leading to the church door. Yews are often planted in and around churchyards, and can live to be very old - thousands of years old - they are the longest living plants in Europe. Every part of the yew is toxic, but some birds are immune to the toxins and can eat the berries. The yew was exceptionally important to the Celtic people, and perhaps the planting of yews in and around churchyards is another example of the early church taking existing pagan symbols and ceremonies and incorporating them into the 'new' religion so that it would be somewhat familiar to those who joined. yews were also a very important tree in medieval times as the wood was particularly good for making longbows. In fact, there was a serious shiortage of yew wood for longbow making in 1350, and king Henry II ordered his bowyer to enter private land and cut as much yew wood as he needed.

The church porch window with holly branches as decoration.

A large oak tree, with an enormous growth on the trunk. I wonder what causes this?

A close up of the growth

This is also oak bark, but with lichens and moss growing on it.
I love the texture and colours.

We saw many trees with hollow trunks and holes, I took pictures of a few of them. This one appears to have very little inside, and yet it didn't look dead - I did wonder how it remained standing, though!

This was another hole - this time at the base of a tree.
We decided it would make a nice hole for fairies to hide in!

This was quite a large tree - you can see a small hole roughly in the centre of the picture but the large irregular shape at the bottom right was also a hole right through the tree...

This tree was just spectacular - unfortunately there is nothing nearby to give any idea of scale, and I had to stand quite some distance away to be able to get the whole tree in shot.
We estimated that the distance from the ground to where the first branches leave the trunk is about 12 foot, making the tree over 100 feet tall... and wide...
I must come back in summer and take a picture of it in leaf.

This is an old abandoned farmhouse. The views are fabulous in all directions. I guess there were either no children to inherit the farm, or maybe it was just too small to be profitable. There is a deep valley between the front of the buildings and he hills in the distance.

This is a close up of the farmhouse wall - wonderful colours
and textures provided by the local stone, ferns & lichen.