Pictures of places in and around Swansea, Wales.
Saturday 28th July 2001.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind
permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland
Today I am going to walk from the church in Bishopston village down through the valley to the sea at Pwlldu. It is not a long walk, my map shows it to be about two and a half miles.
It is just before 9.00am so I have plenty of time to take a look at the church before setting off down the valley. The church is dedicated to St Teilo and was built during the 13th to 14th century . In the tower are two bells dated 1713 and 1714.
The valley is now a National Trust property and is under their management and protection. The Welsh name for the valley is Cwm Llandeilo Ferwallt.
Although I have visited the valley on many occasions, this is the first
time since I was a lad that I have entered the valley from this point. I look
for the small gate through which I used to go but the only gate there now carries
a sign bearing the words 'Private. No public access'. I look about for another
way in but see none except for the dry bed of the Bishopston Stream or Cretan as it is known locally.
For part of its journey down the valley the stream flows underground emerging to the surface further down the valley . So, having no better alternative, I decide to walk along the stony bed of the stream.
It's pretty hard going picking my way over the stones and after a
hundred yards or so I begin to wonder whether to turn back or continue.
Just ahead I see the start of a narrow track on the bank. It appears to
run parallel to the stream so I clamber up out of the stream bed eager now to to press on. Even though the track is badly
overgrown it is far better than walking over stones and slippery moss covered boulders. .
The track is no more than twelve inches wide and does not appear to have
been used for some time. I push my way through the waist high dew soaked
vegetation to emerge a little further along on to a reasonably wide path but
not before the wet undergrowth had tranferred a great deal of its moisture to
the legs of my trousers which now stick and cling uncomfortably to my knees as I walk.
The path ahead widens and is fairly smooth underfoot. It is easy walking now. The morning sun filters through the green canopy above me creating patterns of light in the cool forest shade. It is so quiet. Suddenly a startled bird rises noisily out of the bushes
immediately in front of me, shattering the peace. I listen as it flies off through the trees. Now all is quiet again but for my own footfalls. My trousers are nearly dry and I am enjoying my walk.
I walk on at a leisurely pace skirting around the many soft muddy patches
in the pathway. From a dip on my right, I hear the sound of rushing water.
I had been to this spot before on a previous visit and knew I had arrived at
Guzzle Hole. . It took but a minute or so to scramble down to the entrance and
to venture a few feet inside. The interior was dark, too dark to see anything
clearly but there was no mistaking the roar of the stream as it plunges deeper underground before emerging to the surface lower down the valley.
A little further on I stop to look at another opening in the rocks. I'm told it is the entrance to a disused
The stream, no longer confined underground, now flows along the surface to the sea at Pwlldu.
This part of the walk I like best... a gently flowing stream, a warm sunlit day and a shady pathway to slowly stroll.
I pause at this little bridge and wonder what is on the other side of
the stream. Although not part of my planned walk there is time enough for a
temporary deviation so I go over the bridge and along a track .....
.........to where, growing
on a fallen tree trunk I see these enormous fungi. Across the top they measure about twelve inches in diameter..
I am back on my planned route now and near to where the stream snakes its way towards the beach and the end of its journey to the sea.
Pwlldu today is very different from that of the 19th century. At that time
extensive limestone quarrying of Pwlldu Head was taking place and the stone
shipped across the Bristol Channel to Devonshire where it was burned in kilns
to provide lime for agricultural purposes.
At times there were up to 200 people employed in quarrying and related activities.
The building in the picture, now a private residence, was the Beaufort Arms, one
of four public houses serving the needs of quarrymen and seamen. The others were
the The Bull, the New Inn and the Ship Inn.
The Bull and New Inn have not survived but the Ship Inn still stands and like the
Beaufort has been converted to a private residence.
Here on the beach at Pwlldu I have come to the end of my walk....well not really, I still have to walk back to Bishopston. Bye.
Back to Archive Index.
Copyright © 2000 Alex Thomas. All rights reserved.