About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm 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.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

A bluster on the Ogmore estuary

I'm in solidarity with the striking railway workers, of course, even though strike days mean a round trip from Bristol to Cardiff in rush-several-hours traffic to retrieve the Northerner, who relies on the train to get to work. Last week neither the evening nor the morning train was running, and as His Nibs was working a slightly truncated day, I decided to brave the blustery weather and stay in Wales for the duration. 

Cwtch the collie came too, of course, and after lengthy discussion, we decided on a sit-down on the beach at Ogmore-by-Sea, followed by a wander up the River Ogmore to Ogmore Castle. 

Looking over to Traeth yr Afon ...

... and the dunes of Merthyr Mawr

When I say 'blustery', it was actually blowing a gale, and we soon decided that hunkering on the beach wasn't an option and headed upstream, where we hoped it would be more sheltered. It wasn't ... but at least the wind was behind us, which was as well as a very wet rain started falling. 

There was the distraction of some giant parasol mushrooms growing amongst the bracken, though, and a sheep who clearly recognised Cwtch as a gringa, by upbringing if not birth, despite her Welsh name.

As we moved further up the valley, it stopped raining but stayed windy, which meant the back of my jacket and jeans soon felt quite dry.

Just above the bridge that leads to the sewage works is the point where the River Ewenny flows into the Ogmore, and it was along the bank of the former that our route continued, just a short way, to Ogmore Castle, complete with an array of molehills.

We're told Ogmore Castle was initially built of earth and wood by William de Londres, shortly after 1100, being fortified with a stone keep in 1116, when a Welsh lord attempted to get his land back. A curtain wall followed in the early 13th century. The moat was designed to fill with water at high tide. It was in use until the 19th century, as a court and a prison amongst other things, since when it's fallen into ruin.

There were sheep here too, guarding the ruins and equally unimpressed by Cwtch, who was safely on the lead at this point on our walk. 

Below the castle is a set of stepping stones crossing the Ewenny. Even though they were relatively low in the water, they looked a lot easier to cross than many of the ones I've tried on Dartmoor, but I didn't fancy doing it with a collie who's afraid of water in tow. 

I decided to walk back down to the beach along the edge of the warth, even though it was quite slippery in places from where the sheep had churned the mud. It was interesting being down at the level of the river instead of on the footpath above it, and I found a curlew feather. It was a job keeping it from blowing away in the wind. 

The red plant I took for glasswort, though it was more prostrate in habit than other glassworts I've seen. 

Eventually I realised that I wasn't going to be able to get all the way around to the beach along the side of the river, and would either have to retrace my steps a fair way or climb a short but steep and muddy path up the side of the cliff. This photo looking down doesn't really give you an idea of how steep it was ... 

... but I had to resort to hand and foot climbing, and was reminded of the last time I decided I was way too old for this sort of thing.

Back at Ogmore-by-Sea it was gloomy east of the river, where we were, and fine to the west. 

There was just enough time for Cwtch to have a little play on the beach ... 

... before we had to make our way back to Cardiff with our small treasures. 


  1. What a lovely day out! And such treasures...great hagstones!

  2. I'm just back on my beloved west coast 'between the silence of the mountains and the crashing of the sea' after a few days in London.

    The Cezanne exhibition was fab, I came into contact with the oil protesters (though on the street, not at the National Gallery)

    All very exciting, but I'm glad to leave it all again

    1. When I go to London and see all the free talks and exhibitions I could be attending, I seriously wonder if I've spent all my life in the wrong place; then, by the end of the day, I'm completely overwhelmed with humanity and my bogies are black and I just want to go home ...