Winkles on Wood at Whiteford (1) - Detail of convoluted patterns in the woodgrain of an ancient piece of wood on the beach at Whiteford sands, Gower, South wales, also showing common winkles grazing.

The storm waves shift the sediments around Whiteford Sands. They scour the sand away from some areas and dump it in others. The base of this ancient piece of wood seemed to be embedded in sand during the summer. The storm has washed it away to reveal a layer of  cobbles and pebbles holding it fast. Hundreds of winkles have survived the violent waves (presumably by hiding under stones) and emerged to climb up the deeply grooved and water-worn timber. The winkles feed on a fine coating of microscopic algae. The parallel vertical lines or ribs of the wood grain transform into the most interesting convolutions and patterns. The rough texture of the wood contrasts with the smooth glassiness of the surface water in the pools covering the stones.

Winkles on Wood at Whiteford (2) - Ancient timber with grazing winkles amongst water covered pebbles at Whiteford point, Gower, South Wales. 15. 11. 2009.


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8 Replies to “More winkles on wood at Whiteford”

  1. Thank you. There are some incrdible pieces of ancient timber around in this area. 10,000 years ago there was a forest there which rising sea level buried under peat and clay. Now the sea is wearing back these layers of sediment to reveal the old tree stumps and other vegetation. They are not fossilised remains but actual – preserved by the anaerobic conditions. I think this picture shows a piece of old forest.


  2. Jessica, I was reading (obviously too fast!) and thought you said the word “wrinkles”. And I was thinking…how utterly cool. Never thought of calling those lines and marks “wrinkles”.


  3. There is evidence of this submerged forest all around the Gower Peninsula. Later this week, I am going to post pictures of tree trunks emerging from the clay at Broughton Bay (just around the corner from Whiteford Sands where I photographed the winkles on wood). At this place, the broken remains of the tree trunks and the roots have been preserved upright in situ as they were when they were first engulfed by the rising sea level – about 10,000 years ago.


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