Nature

The freshwater Dyfi valley, its brackish estuary and the surrounding hills, the sea of Cardigan Bay and the rainy Welsh weather have combined to provide rich environmental niches for different types of vegetation and the wildlife that they attract.   The Dyfi valley has carved flat coastal and inland sands and gravels, whilst Balkan Hill, rising from the riverfront, and the rest of the hilly topography, is part of the same rock formations that make up the famous Cader Idris.

Estuary waters are brackish until they meet the River Dyfi, which penetrates inland beyond Machynlleth and produces a freshwater ecology, with a rich water and floodplain profile.  Along the rocky estuary plants survive on astonishingly barren surfaces, whilst on the beach, a variety of seaweeds are always present.  In the dunes the saline sands produce a distinctive maritime vegetation, both saline- and wind-tolerant, requiring little in the way of nutrients.   The acidic soil of Balkan Hill favours a completely different and much denser environmental profile.  Rising sharply from the beach and the narrow ribbon of road and promenade, it soars sharply before levelling out  towards the Bearded Lake, offering challenges for gardeners, but providing wind-tolerant shrubs, hedges and trees with sufficient soil to get a grip against the elements.  These in turn supply resources for insects and birds and function as much-needed wind-breaks for both people and their wildlife visitors.  Beyond this is undulating hill-farming country, dropping steeply to a small river at the base of the appropriately named Happy Valley.

Walks in the sand dunes, through the countryside and observations in my own garden supply a lot of material for the blog.  A selection of posts that I have published in this category are as follows: