Since moving to the seaside two months ago I have been thoroughly enjoying exploring my new surroundings and a particular favourite has been the walk from Penarth to Lavernock, a very small 1.5km section of the Wales Coastal Path.
Despite its short length, it can take me rather a long time to walk because the path is bordered with all manner of trees, shrubs and wildflowers, so my eye is constantly drawn to checking these out.
I am fast discovering that the abundance of flora supports a wonderful array of fauna: flies and bees are flocking to the freshly opened flowers of Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum), recently arrived migrant Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita) are announcing their arrival with their familiar onomatopoeic song while recharging their batteries on flying insects, and various species of terrestrial snails sleep, slide and slither amongst the leaves.
There’s also a huge diversity of lichens, presumably much encouraged by the Welsh rains, the occasional wild winds, and the clean and salty seaside air.
Here and there gaps in the trees and shrubs reveal tantalising glimpses of the fascinating geology this coast is famous for (I have yet to venture down the cliffs but that will soon happen).
Boats and ships chug up and down the Bristol Channel; planes from Cardiff airport fly off overhead to foreign shores; the lighthouse on Flatholm beckons; and views of Penarth’s iconic pier abound.
But most of all I love the places – and there are many – where the foliage closes in overhead, to create little tunnels of vegetation. I find there’s something magical about such spaces, a little like stepping through the wardrobe door to emerge in a real-life Narnia.