I was thinking about this weeks challenge and wondering what to submit. There are many things I treasure, some I wouldn’t share, some I would. But one of the things I treasure the photo opportunities I have found with the scenery, wildlife and historical buildings in North Wales.
We have beautiful sandy beaches along our coastline which stretch for miles, and the added bonus of a very photogenic lighthouse, nearby.
Talacre Beach is a great place and can be very popular during the summer, but even at it’s busiest it never feels crowded. In the winter time you can spend hours on the beach and if you’re unlucky you might see one or two dog walkers. The lighthouse was built in 1776 but fell into disuse in 1884. Only 18 metres high, its not big but it’s always a great photo opportunity. The best time to visit Talacre is sunrise or sunset, especially if you want that extra special photograph..
Further along the coast is Prestatyn and when the sun goes down we get some amazing sunsets. If only I’d been at Talacre that evening.
But as well as those glorious beaches we have some great mountain ranges and lakes. They may not be the highest, but they are certainly rugged and a walkers dream.
Cwm Idwal is a hanging valley in the Glyderau range of mountains in northern part of the Snowdonia National Park. Its main interest is to hill walkers and rock climbers, but it is also of interest to geologists and naturalists, given its combination of altitude (relatively high in UK terms), aspect (north-facing) and terrain (mountainous and rocky). In a 2005 poll conducted by Radio Times, Cwm Idwal was ranked the 7th greatest natural wonder in Britain.
Of course almost anywhere you go in North Wales, you will see sheep. Lots of them. Sheep farming is important to the economy of Wales. Much of Wales is rural countryside and sheep are a very common feature in the landscape throughout the country.
Sheep farms are most often situated in the country’s mountains and moorlands, where sheepdogs are employed to round-up flocks. Sheep are also reared, however, along the south and west coasts of Wales. I read recently that there are more than 11 million sheep in Wales and that sheep farming accounted for 20% of agriculture in Wales. Maybe that’s why in surveys with tourists to North Wales, the sheep are always the first thing they mention.
In some areas of North Wales, especially the Carneddau, Mountains you can find Welsh ponies which roam free and have done for years and years. The ponies go back to Celtic times and form the gene pool for many different breeds of horses in England and Wales.
Talking of horses leads me nicely to Harlech Castle. Can’t see the link? Let me explain.
Harlech Castle is a medieval fortification, constructed atop a spur of rock close to the Irish Sea. It was built by Edward I during his invasion of Wales between 1282 and 1289.
Have you got the link yet?
Over the next few centuries, the castle played an important part in several wars, withstanding the siege of Madog ap Llywelyn between 1294–95, but falling to Owain Glyndŵr in 1404.
During the 15th century Wars of the Roses, Harlech was held by the Lancastrians for seven years, before Yorkist troops forced its surrender in 1468, a siege memorialised in the song Men of Harlech.
If you still haven’t got the link, here it is. King Edward 1 was a knight as well as a king. Knights rode horses into war. I know, I know,,,,,it’s tenuous at best, but hey it’s my lead in.
UNESCO considers Harlech to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”, and it is classed as a World Heritage site. So we move on from a great big castle to a small house. Actually the smallest house in Great Britain or so it’s claimed.
The Smallest House in Great Britain, also known as the Quay House, is a tourist attraction on the quay in Conwy, Wales. The house, which has a floor area of 3.05 metre by 1.8 metre (10 feet by 6 feet) and a height of 3.1 metre (10 feet 2 inches) to the eaves, was used as a residence from the 16th century until 1900; as its name indicates, it is reputed to be Britain’s smallest house…..
…..and so from one type of house to another. Pentrefoelas church was designed in the late 1850s by Sir George Gilbert Scott, one of the most celebrated architects of Victorian Britain. He incorporated the south transept, of 1774, from the earlier church on this site.
Pentrefoelas church is noted for its stained-glass windows and a challenge for visitors is to spot the strawberry hidden in one of the windows. Some of the windows are by the noted stained-glass specialist Sir Ninian Comper (1864-1960).
That wraps it up for this week and I hope you enjoyed the treasure that we are lucky to have here in North Wales.
I leave you with this. Could you live in the smallest house?