Walking back from Spaniard Rocks now, I took a route closer to the dunes where the character of the shore is quite different from the wet sand and strandlines between high and low tide levels. Here there are pebbles. Rhossili’s pebbles intrigue me. I love scrambling over the banks of stones at the very top of the beach. The colours are lovely pastel shades with pinks and blues and overall reminding me of sugared almonds. A total delight. Many rock types are represented. Some have interesting patterns.
I like the way that the numbers of beach stones seem to increase or decrease depending on how they are pushed around the shore between one visit and the next, and how the sand changes its level and distribution throughout the year and the transition from season to season. This time the wooden ribs and keel of the shipwrecked ketch Anne were only just visible above the sand and pebbles. I like the way that pebbles are arranged partly buried in the damp sand that quickly dries to a different hue and texture. The pebbles underlie the tall sand dunes of the Llangennith Burrows. The dunes have been scooped out by stormy seas and footsteps in many places to demonstrate that even wind-blown sand is stratified; and marram grass roots exposed to air show how deep they penetrate the soft fine sediments to bind them together and stabilise the dunes.
This is the first part of a walk I took along the beach on April 7th, 2017. It shows the images in chronological order, step-by-step as I progressed along the shore. Starting at the Hill End car park on the tip of the Gower Peninsula, I took the short path through the dunes to Rhossili beach and turned right (north) towards the Spaniard Rocks which lie near the tidal island of Burry Holms. The tide was out and the beach had been scooped into hollows by the retreating waves. The sand was covered with fine black coal particles, plants stems, and wood fragments with many seashells and dead starfish making patterns on the shore. Young gulls and crows were feasting on the strandline debris.
You can click on any picture to see the whole gallery in enlarged format.
It was so windy on one particular day at Rhossili that a layer of surface water was retained on the beach even when the tide had receded. Sea foam was whipped up and driven at high speed across the surface film, making natural scalloped patterns as it travelled landwards. The wind was incredibly noisy and so strong that it was difficult to stand upright and keep the camera level – but I wanted to catch the exhilarating moment.
I spent Christmas week last year at Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. The weather was wet and wild, and resulted in some spectacular effects on Rhossili beach. These pictures were taken on 23rd December and show some of the designs and textures in the sand which had been separated out into a surface component of pinkish-yellow sand, and an underlying layer of darker almost black sand, sifted and sorted by storm waves, and rearranged by the wind and driving rain.
Click on any photograph to enlarge it and see more detail.