Posts Tagged ‘Ceredigion’

The submerged forest

September 9, 2015

My wife spent three childhood holidays at Borth on the Cardigan Bay coast to the north of Aberystwyth. She has regaled me with tales of the sunken forest, sometimes visible at low tide. I was very keen to see this phenomenon and when we holidayed near Machynlleth we consulted tide tables and picked a day with a goodly tidal range and went to see what we could see.

We learned at nearby Ynyslas that there was never any guarantee. It all depended how the most recent tide had left the sand.

But we were in luck. In fact what we saw was much better than anything my wife remembered from nigh on 60 years ago.

Of course, we didn’t expect whole trees to be visible but rather stumps, left behind after rising sea levels killed off the trees and they tumbled into the briny.

Anyway, let’s see what we could see.

image002There we see trees, with root systems, covered in green slime seaweed. You can take your pick for when the trees died. Figures vary between 3500 years ago to 6000 years ago.

Personally, I was almost overwhelmed by what I saw. Yet I was also surprised as was another chap I met. The term ‘petrified’ forest has been used for these trees, yet clearly they were not petrified – literally turned into stone. They are preserved by the conditions but are very much still bits of wood.

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These ancient remains are on the sand, just below the Borth sea front.

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The stumps are scattered over quite a wide area.

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What I hadn’t expected were peat beds.

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The black area, slightly raised above the sand is peat and studies of the peat have revealed much about the past, including some evidence of human habitation.

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The rising tide started to hide the forest again, but just seeing it was a real high spot for me.

At Cenarth

April 23, 2014

Back in 1983 – 31 years ago – we hired a little wooden chalet near Cenarth in south west wales for a week. It was, we recall, absurdly cheap and we rather relied on good weather to keep us tolerably warm. Our children would have been about 6 and 3 at the time.

Here’s the three year old sitting in the bridge at Cenarth.

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Those (for there was one at each arch end) holes were tailor made for enjoying by a little one. The older one could enjoy the rocks in the river Teifi and we could all enjoy watching the water rushing downhill as it made its way towards Cardigan and the sea.

But here we’ll have a human story – one that brings a smile to us now, all those years on.

We were in the little chalet. The children were in bed, but not asleep when this sentence was heard through the paper thin walls as older child deemed it time to educate the younger one.

‘Strange things will happen to you when you are a teenager.’

We listened agog for what would come next.  It seemed that our older child was aware that a pause would build up the tension. Eventually it came.

‘You’ll wear black leather clothes and dye your hair purple.’

In the event, I’m not sure either ever happened!

I wonder what little gems our grandchildren will pass on to their parents.