Cliffs, Cows and Coastline: An Unexpected Trifecta

During our travels, we see some of the most beautiful places the United Kingdom has to offer, from medieval castles, royal palaces, country manors, and elaborate gardens, nearly 40 now in fact. But, from time to time, one needs to revisit the root of it all, the land. For me, a garden is the living representation of a time, a person, and their relationship with nature. But to visit so many gardens, to read so many stories, and to experience these relationships, one can become overwhelmed with history. To take some time and go back to nature, you can cleanse the palate in a word, allow your mind to rest, and give yourself a fresh perspective.

While natural areas in the United Kingdom are difficult to find, the best place to get in touch with the land is often where it ends, on the coast. The National Trust is making a concerted effort to acquire coastland to preserve habitat and the native landscape, as often as it can. Fortunately for us, while on the road, we have managed to find some beautiful remnants of the native landscape.

While in North Wales, we took a slightly damp, certainly atmospheric, path through nature. A verdant diversion through Snowdonia National Park was a curious combination of mountains, small lakes, flat heathland, and steep ravines.

A deep ravine cuts through the hills, home to some brave and hardy sheep.

A deep ravine cuts through the hills, home to some brave and hardy sheep.

Narrow, small waterfalls such as this can be found along the road, feeding the stream in the valley.

Narrow, small waterfalls such as this can be found along the road, feeding the stream in the valley.

During our weekend in South Wales, we ventured out to the city of Swansea, where we continued driving. All the best to Swansea, but we had our eyes on something else. Three Cliffs Bay and the lovely, but unpronounceable, Pwll Du Bay, provide some of the best views one could ask for, and as you can see, attracts quite a crowd.

A little umbelifer in the hillside.

A little umbelifer in the hillside.

These lads and ladies were more concerned with the grass at their feet than the scenery, but there could certainly be worse company.

These lads and ladies were more concerned with the grass at their feet than the scenery, but there could certainly be worse company.

The not-as-steep part.

The not-as-steep part.

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Pardon me, just passing through…

In Cornwall, after a beautiful, blue sky, warm sun visit to St. Michael’s Mount, we drove up to Kynance Cove, where the fog was so thick you could cut it. This did not detract too much from the incredible land forms. Pure black stone speckled with wild geranium and tiny umbelliferous plants tucked in the cliffs and crevices, created an enchanting environment to simply watch the waves come in.

Many thanks to James for taking this, I can savor this  moment much longer now.

Many thanks to James for taking this, I can savor this moment much longer now.

On our way to Kent, for our placement at Sissinghurst Castle, we dipped down to the southern coast and made a pit stop at the Seven Sisters, smaller predecessors of the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

Little native Echium in bloom.

Little native Echium in bloom.

A bit rough, but it is still a beach.

A bit rough, but it is still a beach.

There is a second benefit to going into nature for me, which is the memory of home. While not the same of course, one can find the same peace in the open waters of the sea as can be found in the upland lakes of New York, and that keeps me connected.

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