A little wilderness beyond Blackweir Bridge
January 27, 2017 by squirrelbasket
Clematis vitalba or old man’s beard beside Blackweir Bridge – I had never noticed how lovely the seeds were before
The other day after lunch with an old friend I decided to walk back from Cardiff city centre to Pontcanna Fields over Blackweir Bridge, as I hadn’t been there for decades. My hour-long ramble started in Bute Park and took me to areas I had sometimes wondered about as I viewed them from the path on the opposite side of the River Taff.
This is the red bridge I usually take to cross the river – beside it is the old hybrid wingnut tree, Pterocarya x rehderiana
The swamp cypress, Taxodium ascendans, beside the red bridge
This time I turned away from the red bridge and headed north in Bute Park
Tall tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, in Bute Park’s Camellia Section
Continuing north, I passed the Nursery Lawn, with this Manchurian alder, Alnus hirsuta, also called the hairy alder
I love the long alder catkins at this time of year
Also on the Nursery Lawn, among the molehills, is this blue cedar, Cedrus atlantica “Glauca”
That was the end of the “civilised” part of the park and now I was on my own on a mud path beside the river…
Looking back on the riverside path
On the river were these two wonderful cormorants, Phalacrocorax carbo
I have written all about cormorants on this post.
Cormorants are so distinctive and now a common sight on the River Taff – a few days later I saw three together
They seem to have such character…
…this one in particular…
In the wild woods – but I didn’t trouble to identify this shapely tree – oops!
Evergreen or holm oak, Quercus ilex, beside the Blackweir sports fields
The woodland seems so natural around here
The front tree is an oak with a few leaves hanging on
Behind is a beech
Bright but dead beech leaves
There is some greenness under foot…
These leaves are distinctive – I think they may be winter heliotrope, Petasites fragrans, although if it is there should probably be flowers by now
I had better explain that my REAL purpose in coming here was to find a tree to follow. Not just any tree, but one I had “fancied” when browsing the Cardiff Council plants database. It is somewhere in the Blackweir area and is a purple Norway maple, Acer platanoides “Goldsworth Purple”. It looked really super, with purple leaves and lime-green flowers in spring. But among all these trees in winter there was no way I could find it, of course. And anyway, I now realise this area is much too far from home to visit every month. Maybe I will look once again when the trees are in leaf.
I doubt if this is it, but these are some sort of maple keys…
…and some sort of maple leaves
Old oak tree at the north end of the Blackweir sports pitches…
…it has lost a huge branch…
Turning towards the river, I had a surprise…
A stand of Wellingtonia or giant redwood, Sequoiadendron giganteum – apparently they were planted in the 1940s
Looking up – a long way
Finally I reached Blackweir Bridge…
Blackweir Bridge over the River Taff
A useful map…
…I was HERE
A gull on the weir – greater black-backed, I think, Larus marinus
Old man’s beard, Clematis vitalba, beside the weir
Old man’s beard is also known as “traveller’s joy”. I’ve just discovered that the French name is herbe aux gueux – the beggar’s herb. Beggars used its sap to irritate their skin to make ulcers, to gain sympathy!
Looking south from the bridge
Crossing Blackweir Bridge
Looking north from the bridge
Looking back towards the other side, where I had come from
Familiar territory – in Pontcanna Fields as the winter sun was fading, although it was only 3pm…
Sorry to go on a bit, but I found my little trek quite exciting. I don’t get out much!