I walk from home along the footpath towards the road that reaches the beach. High on a branch silhouetted by the sunlight is a Speckled Wood. Viewed from below it looks iridescent. Under a canopy of leaves the sun shines through, highlighting the Ferns, Lords and Ladies, Brambles and Ivy. A stream flows gently past, lined with Elder trees in full flower and newly emerging Hogweed. The Ash trees are full of squawking Jackdaws. Below them, swimming in the stream, is a Mallard with her chicks. The sunlight forms undulating patterns on the water as the ducklings cause ripples across it.
The next stage is on the road passing Ham Manor Caravan Park and downhill, woods to the left and house on the right. The Horse Chestnut trees are beginning to set fruit and the flowering Brambles are trailing over the walls.
I take the left hand path just past the coastal cottages track and ascend into the woods and the Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. It is cool in here under the trees with the smell of earthy dampness. All the usual shade plants are here, the Brambles and Himalayan Balsam are rampant. I burst out into the sunlight with meadow to the left and hedgerow to the right. The meadow is full of colour with many types of grasses: Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris radicata), Creeping Buttercups (Ranunculus repens), Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) and White Clover (Trifolium repens). The hedgerows are populated with Sloe, Hawthorn and Brambles, all growing alongside Thistles, Red Campion and Oxeye Daisies. Here and there are the yellow spikes of Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria). Insects are buzzing and a few butterflies are sunning themselves: Speckled Woods, Small Whites and a Red Admiral.
Just before the cliff edge you are walking among the castle ditches where an Iron Age Promontory Fort was located. This encampment dates from the latter part of the pre-Roman Iron Age and is a typical promontory fort depending for its defence on a combination of steep-sided valleys and cliffs. It may have been used until the 12th Century when it offered protection to local inhabitants. Until the 19th Century this event was re-enacted by local people on the 3rd May and known as the Annwyl Day Celebrations on Colhuw meadow.
At the cliff I descend carefully, watching my footing as the path is a little rough in places. Out in the bay are wind-surfers: orange, blue and yellow sails, weaving in and out as the waves and wind takes them. At the cliff edge are clumps of Wild thyme and Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria). I proceed to the beach car park and the walk home through Cwm Colhuw valley and rejoin the road passing Ham Manor. This section has been mentioned previously, still with plenty of dog walkers. The only thing to add was the cows had wandered further into the valley and were chewing the cud and messing the path through the fields. It is their field after all and they seemed peaceful enough as I passed them.
Since this area is my patch, so to speak, I will visit it many times. This visit was in June.