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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.

Thursday 31 January 2019

A Birthday Walk at Beachley

It being the dog's 10th birthday yesterday, and a beautiful afternoon for a walk, we decided to continue our exploration of the River Severn, still in England but this time on its opposite bank.

To get to our starting place, we had to cross the old Severn Bridge, cross the smaller bridge over the River Wye into Wales, navigate Chepstow, cross another bridge back over the Wye into England, and then loop down  the peninsula ...
... and park near the Old Ferry Inn, right under the bridge itself.

The ferry in question is the Aust - Beachley ferry, the eastern terminal of which we'd explored the previous Wednesday. The tide was right in today, though, and almost unnaturally calm. 

Here's the western slipway, still in use by the Severn Area Rescue Association, whose lifeboat station is adjacent.  

And here's a Chinook helicopter flying over. (I'm not sure why the bridge is suddenly all tilty in this shot, but it doesn't appear to be in danger of toppling in real life.)

Local legend has it that following his ferry ride from Aust, Bob Dylan quenched his thirst at the Old Ferry Inn.

This might even be another Gents he visited.

Sadly, the pub is closed now and being converted into offices. 

We pottered on what little beach the tide had left us. 

Look, here's a Type FW3/24 pill box, dating from 1940-41 ... 

... and some interesting geology. 

Looking upstream

We decided to wander down to the tip of the peninsula.

Old Man's Beard

St Twrogg's Island - or Chapel Rock - used to be the southernmost point of the peninsula, but is now a tidal island. The ruined chapel dates from the 13th century, although there was apparently an earlier one built on this site. 

This earlier refuge, built around a holy well known for its healing properties, was originally dedicated to St Tecla (Treacla), a 4th - 5th century princess from Gwynedd. (They always seem to be from Gwynedd.) 
She became an anchoress after abandoning her father's court and was later murdered in her cell by pirates. (She is not to be confused with St Thecla who knocked around a bit with St Paul.) 

Subsequently, her cell was used by another Welsh Saint called Triog or Twrog, who kept a beacon burning to warn vessels of the dangerous rocks. There's a lighthouse there now. 

The new Severn Bridge

We were now down by the western pylon of the Aust Severn Powerline Crossing, the longest powerline span in the UK, at just over a mile long.

From here, there were views of the Bridge Over The River Wye (cue a few bars of tuneless whistling) ... 

... and the confluence the Severn and the Wye. 

The grassy path ahead looked tempting, but we decided to return for a closer look at low tide, in a season when the afternoons are longer.

Two blackbirds were chinking at each other across the path as we retraced our steps ...

... and back at the bridge, a little boat was waiting to be trailered up the slipway. 

There was just time for another photo of the birthday dog and his boys ... 
... and to enjoy the intense colours of the last of the sun.

Looking downstream

A few interesting finds on the beach, considering there was so little of it. 
I really should acquire a couple of guides to pebbles and fossils, so as to be able to write with at least a little authority, but we think this is a bit of fossilised wood,
maybe; another fossil of Something; a pebble that looks like a Scandinavian forest in winter (technical term) and ... could it be ... a carnelian?

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