Saturday, 17 February 2018

Revisiting Clyro

Whilst we regularly drive through Clyro on the main road which takes us towards Hereford (and ultimately Malvern), it has been a long while since I last visited it.  Many many years ago a friend gave me a book entitled "After Kilvert" and I will confess, it was a good few years before I finally got around to reading it, and then regretted not having done so earlier, as I was captivated by the Rev. Francis Kilvert, who was a Rector here at St Michael's Church, from 1865 - 1872.   I then sought out his diary, which I have read and re-read and dipped into many times down the years, and it is a delight to read.  He wrote about the people of the parish, and their memories and experiences.  He fell in love several times but the fathers of the young ladies concerned would not allow him to offer hiss hand in marriage to their daughters because he had nothing to offer - Clyro was such a poor parish and he had no real prospects.

Whilst he did eventually marry (Elizabeth Ann Rowland, who he met in Paris), he sadly died from Peritonitis just 10 days after their marriage.  By that time he was the Vicar of Bredwardine, also on the Welsh Marches.  He was born in 1840 and died in September 1878, aged just 38.  He is buried in the churchyard there.

He kept a number of diaries, but sadly only 3 remain and are kept in the archives at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.  In the 1950s, when William Plomer, to whom these diaries had been passed on by Kilvert's widow, contemplated publishing more of his diaries, he was horrified to discover that all Kilvert's remaining diaries and papers had been burned by a surviving elderly great niece - who was ironically President of the Kilvert Society!  She said that she had done so to protect "private family matters."  What a loss.

The church of St Mary's Clyro, where Kilvert was curate for 7 years.

The Baskervilles lived at Baskerville Hall, now a private hotel.  This is I think a son of the Baskerville who Kilvert visited, born 1884 and who died in WW1.  The Baskervilles had links with Marlborough and other parts of Wiltshire, and Kilvert was born in Wiltshire, and his father was the Vicar at Langley Burrell.

Kilvert was the curate of the Rev. Richard Venables.  This gravestone is in memory of his third son, Joseph, who died at Lysdinam, the family home and estate in Newbridge-on-Wye.

Ashbrook - the house where Kilvert lived when he was curate of Clyro.  It subsequently became the Kilvert Gallery (which I visited once, from curiosity of course!)  It was put on the market several years back at a silly price of £800,000.  It is worth, without the Kilvert connection, not much over half that . . .  Sadly, as you can see, there have been no takers and it is boarded up.

I will try and find time to return later and add a couple of extracts from his diaries.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Today's Medieval Trackway walk

I had to take advantage of today's sunshine, and although I am still shaking off a bit of a cold, I haven't been too bad and thought I was up to a longer walk today so planned to revisit the old (Medieval) trackway which joins our valley to the top Llanfynydd road.  You can just about see it going from left to right in the middle of the photo.

It was in use until probably the early part of this century but I need to check the tithe maps to see when the steep lane up past Goitre and meeting the top road at Pantglas was joined up, instead of going through the farmyards.  This photo shows the view up the valley (the lane I was on is between the hedgerows which go past the fir tree to the right of the photo, by the old cottage (once much smaller and belonging to the Gamekeeper).  As you can see, our valley is quite heavily wooded still and in times when the trackway was in use, would have been more heavily wooded still.

As you can see in this photo, the sides of this holloway track are rock, covered in plantings of ash and hazel, and there is a rocky base to this road beneath the mud and the little streams of run-off water running down it.  My trainers got pretty mucky (I find them more comfortable than my walking boots).

I hadn't noticed this well before.  It would probably have served the cottage on the hillside to the left - a walk of about 1/4 of a mile for water though . . .

The track ahead, slightly less muddy (at one point it was pretty boggy and I nipped across a fallen fence into the field, which was a great improvement).  The gate marks the end of Jim's land and the beginning of the next farm's.

Looking back down the valley.  The fir trees were planted by earlier occupants in our valley - probably the Lewis family who built Upton Hall around the 1920s.

Another valley view.

A group of Rams were sunbathing in the mud!

Distant view across to Black Mountain, almost hidden in the misty distance.

The photo above and the next three show the extent of the trackway.  This one is nearest the Llanfynydd road, and the bottom one nearest Jim's.

Above - the field of Rams.

The first brave Red Campion keeps some young Nettles and Cow Parsley leaves company.

The lane up the valley - behind me in this photo as I was a mile or so from home.  The walk was about 6 miles (probably a teensy bit under) and I clocked up over 15,000 steps.

Finally, some winter colour in these Ivy leaves.

Tomorrow I hope to find time to put up the photos and a few words of a visit to Clyro (near Hay-on-Wye) last Friday. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

The teensiest bit of snow here

We had to meet a friend at Hay-on-Wye on Friday, and as you can see, it was snowy on the way.  The roads were fine, and we have had sprinklings of snow at home since, but I tried to capture a few snowscenes to share.  Above is the Sugarloaf, which can be climbed from Abergavenny (about a 9 mile round walk and quite a steep climb).

Above and below: snowy fields seen from the main Brecon to Hereford Road, just outside of Brecon.

These last three are the Brecon Beacons of course, taken when we pulled into the layby on our way down into Brecon to do some grocery shopping in Morrisons.  It has been pretty cold the last week and into this one, and we had sleet flurries this afternoon, and hailstones during last night, but nothing has really settled (though the hailstones did get frozen in place on the fields and our cars).

Apparently we are due more of the stuff due to a Polar Vortex happening . . . we get the cold weather bunged our way!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Bridleway walk Part II

Above and below: two of Ty Coch's broodmares (I think they are Section C although grey is more of a Section A colour, but this one is over-height for that category.)

A wooded cwm below a farm - I am struggling to identify it and fear I need to go and look at a local map.  You can just see a smidgin of snow below the clump of pine trees.

One of two somewhat battered Periwinkles straggling up through the steep rocky margin to the lane.

Below: all the hedgerow along this stretch of the lane looks as if it has been thatched.  Thinking back, I reckon it was probably a big growth of Cleavers.

As you can see, scarcely any snow at all.  A sort of snow-sneeze rather than a snow fall!

Below - some obligatory river photos.  I am glad to say that a recent rise in water levels swept away the two very dead sheep who had been washed up on the rocks.

Random post with butterflies!

For some reason I can't load photo attachments to my emails, and so this is the only way I can show these  butterflies to a friend.  I hope the detail is good enough for you A.

Above and below - I have been intending to wallpaper my office for months.  I bought this wallpaper from Dunelm - it's called Keeper's Gorse and I have matching curtains in here too.  All I can say is I was blardy glad when I got the last half strip in place and that I had to confess that my husband was completely right - early Georgian (internal) walls are not conducive to good wallpaper hanging!  The first strip, in a corner, ran off 3" from top to bottom/.  The wall was bumpy and lumpy and even different heights across its width!!  When I got to the last half-strip, it was about 6" too short.  The air was blue in here!  Anyway, with great ingenuity, I cut a "sort of" matching piece and then cut out one of the flowers and stuck that over the join and to make it look as if it matched.  As my desk is in front of it, no one will ever know!!

Back later with the 2nd half of my walk.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Wednesday's walk

I got Keith to drop me off on the way back from getting a paper, so I could do the bridleway walk.  I started out in Cwrt Henri . . . suburbia compared with where we are.

As you can see, the wee bit of snow we had was more like cold dandruff than snow!  It soon melted once the sun was on it.  I started off wearing two pairs of gloves but by the end of the walk I was warm enough (in the sun) to manage with bare hands.

The lane leading to the bridleway gives nice views across the Towy valley.  You can just about see Paxton's Tower on the horizon on the far right of the photo.

To the left of the previous photo, I managed to get into a muddy gateway and take this distant photo of Dryslwyn Castle.

The start of the bridleway.

Looking across a very poor bit of grazing (lots of sour reedy wet pasture like this in Wales) towards the ridge overlooking Brynamman to the East and the Towy Valley and Llandeilo to the West.  A flock of starlings centre stage.

The beautiful snow-clad Carmarthen Fans (e.g. Black Mountain).

Heading back towards home now.  A nicely-restored farmhouse which once stood neglected and empty for years.  Ty Coch farm is just beyond it.

The last remaining bit of snow higher up above Llanfynydd.

The lane home.  The sun was getting nicely warm by this time.

Gorse - flowers all year round: "When gorse is out of bloom, kissing's out of fashion!"

Now you see where the header came from!  The light was amazing across this wet field.

A few more photos to follow tomorrow.  I need to get back to my Twister table topper and slip-stitch the back of the binding in place and sew on 36 buttons to hold it together . . .