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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Light on the Severn

It was an unpromising day so we went down to the Severn, because if anywhere can make a dull sky interesting, it's the winds and currents of that river.

Well, hopefully.

We parked at Cake Pill Gout, which more or less marks the boundaries of Aust Warth to the north and Northwick Warth to the south. Strange name for a little stream. I wonder if the first part is to do with the sticky qualities of the mud.

Larks were singing - my first of the year - and behind us it was beautiful ... 

... ahead, towards the new bridge, not so much. 

The rain looked mostly like it was On Their Side but anyone who knows the estuary knows how quickly this can change. 

This was pretty much a joining up walk, from Cake Pill Gout to Chestle Pill, from the old bridge (more or less) to the new, from Old Passage to New Passage

At first, I thought these two white blobs might be the pair of egrets I'd seen up on Littleton Warth the other week, but closer study revealed them to be swans.   

Chestle Pill, advancing through the trees

A bit murker today than the last time I was here, in September 2015.

It was still beautiful, though, and I really like Chestle Pill at low tide, the way it snakes through the mud. I like the thought that it's still there when covered by the tide.

We were now at New Passage. The ferry crossing is believed to have been in operation from 1630, with a hiatus between 1645 and 1718. There's a tale that during the Civil Wars, King Charles was chased across the river from Portskewett on the opposite bank.
The pursuing Roundheads were drowned after being landed at low tide on the English Stones, in the middle of the river, by the boatmen, after which Cromwell ordered the ferries to cease operation.

The new bridge is now built over the Stones, which act as a foundation.

New Passage's other claim to fame - possibly slightly less glamorous than Old Passage's Bob Dylan-related one - is that John and Charles Wesley journeyed to Wales and Ireland during the 18th century from this point. 

Apparently, Charles had narrow escape in 1743 when the boat he was on almost foundered during a storm.  

Lo! He comes with clouds descending

The sky seemed to be suggesting it was time to be getting back. 

This is Pilning Wetland, which was created in 2011, when the old military firing range was converted into the freshwater pools. They're very popular with visiting birds and binocular-toting birders. 

The rain was approaching. 

We hurried. I slipped and landed on my arse in the mud. (Admittedly a more comfortable landing than the marble grave slab hidden in snow last month.)


Cake Pill Gout
I'm not good at winter, especially the bit between Christmas and the end of February, when it can be hard to tell whether the days are getting longer, but the light on the Severn always makes things brighter.  

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