Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Autumn, Ancient Settlement, Seals Pupping


We are still picking sweetpeas from the poly-tunnel which on a grey damp day such as today is very cheering.
We have had a change in the weather...the Indian summer has come to an end though the Farmer is not too unhappy about it. He had reseeded a field last week in the sunshine aqnd the rain that we have had since has been perfect for the seeds, light & not too persistent.
Autumn has come, the leaves are falling & the swallows & martins left us some weeks ago, which is very early, they are usually around until the end of Septemebr.

This summer we acquired an extra few acres,acres that have been almost totally neglected for the past 20 years. So, there has been a concerted effort by the Farmer & the Sons to reclaim fields that have been taken over by aggressive brambles and bracken to say nothing of the self sown trees, mainly willow and blackthorn. This clearance work has involved chainsaws, tractors with mowers and even a digger at times. The fields are adjacent to our main holding but seperated by a lane and whilst one can walk there more quickly than driving they are a great opportunity for the farm which will enable us to milk a few more cows.
As well as these neglected & overgrown fields there is also a beautiful woodland of twisted mossy oaks & with a small river running through. In the spring this wood is a mass of bluebells.

The best thing for me about the land is the fact that there is an ancient historic site on the top field. It is large stone banked enclosure, possibly neolithic in origin though I have not been able to find much information on it, but I will keep digging in the internet. I do not think the site has been the subject of a an archaeological dig.
This area has a number of ancient 'fort' sites all within reasonable distance of each other. They may have formed a chain of settlements across the this hilly & wooded countryside. The name of the land is Gaerwen which translates as White Fort. The local geology provides plentiful quantities of white quartz which may have been used in the construction that made a gleaming white enclosure.
Arrow heads have been found nearby but a couple of thousand years of of farming will have obliterated much of whatever evidence there may have been of the previous inhabitants of the valley.

The change of the season means an end to our sea swimming days out. The sea is less enticing in the cooler weather and I am only a warm water swimmer. Another reason not to enter the sea at the moment is the presence of bull seals in our favourite cove.
When we went down there last week there was a lot of roaring & bellowing coming from one of the small caves that run into the cliffs and we learned that it was seal cow giving birth to her cub. Out in the shallow waters of the cove (just in the area where we swim) a large bull seal was patrolling up and down waiting for the cub to be born so that he could then go to mate with the mother as is the way with seals, post-partum copulation & insemination.
That particular beach is known for having seals pups on it and the local people set up a watch group to guard the babies from over-inquisitive onlookers (& their dogs!). The cubs can be viewed from the sea wall but no-one should venture onto the beach itself.


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