Friday, January 14, 2011


It was gloriously sunny last Sunday and I didn't take much persuading when John suggested we take a walk to the top of the village in the afternoon. It is quite a climb up there, but we take it slowly and there are always great views to stop and enjoy on the way.

After weeks of freezing temperatures and heavy snow, it was encouraging to see that winter is slowly, but most surely, loosening its icy grip.... signs of new growth can be seen forcing its way through decaying vegetation in the hedgerow.

What a difference a sunny day makes to everyone and everything. The moss looks so green & vibrant and the leaves of the ivy that scrambles over the stone walls look quite freshly polished.

This lane is a delight to walk in spring.... when an abundance of wild flowers will be blooming amidst the verges and hedgerows.

Already there is a great deal of navel wort growing in the small crevices of the old stone walls.
This old tree looks to be growing from out of the top of the wall, it isn't, but it is growing so close that its trunk has grown into and around the stones.
Way out and at the top of the village nestles a cluster of tiny cottages, long deserted by the families who once called these dwellings their home. These cottages have always fascinated me and I linger for a few moments each time my walk takes me here.
I imagine what life might have been like all those years ago for these people, living in what would then be, not only extremely poor conditions by todays standards, but a very isolated existence too. In those days they would certainly have had no electricity.... oil lamps or candles would be their only means of light, they would burn wood to keep warm and for cooking, no water on tap either, but I think water would not have been a problem, as a fresh water spring rises at the side of the lane just a few feet away.... and I guess the water has sprung here for many decades.
There would have been no convenience of shops for miles and more likely than not, poverty would have prevailed to such an extent that no mode of transport would be available either, maybe a horse in the stable if they were fortunate, other than that, they would have walked everywhere.
This small cottage consists of just one room, a front door, a window to the front and one to the back. The hard dirt floor that I can see through the window would have been common place too.
I would imagine that lots of children were raised in these cottages, despite the cramped conditions, it was an age when many children were born into a family, some perhaps not surviving into adulthood.
There are gardens to the rear of these cottage, long forgotten now and wildly overgrown, nevertheless, I guess they were once cultivated and provided very needed vegetables.
Life would have been hard in those times, when the man of the house would have to walk many miles over the mountain to find work enough to put a crust of bread on the table for his family or, maybe he was a shepherd who would stay out on the mountainside for days on end, sleeping in a makeshift hut to protect him against the harsh elements whilst he cared for the sheep. Who knows! I can only wonder.....
I lean on the gate and look around, the view is fantastic from up here, on sunny days like this, the sea sparkles in the distance. I wonder.... did the folk who lived here ever have the time to stop and enjoy the view as I did that sunny afternoon.
If you click on the picture below, you will see another deserted dwelling, this was a farm house in its day, with many interesting out buildings.... but what isolation! But that could be another story.

There is something special about this place, I feel drawn to it, it has a good feel about it. All is quiet as I stand looking out by the gate, all except for the wind in the trees and the sound of running water. But wait.... is it my imagination, or can I really hear, blowing in the wind, the sound of children's voices as they play in a long forgotten time...... I am left to wonder!
We walk back not speaking much but deep in thought.
It is an easier walk back down hill..... There is now a chill in the afternoon air.
We are getting closer to our village now... clicking on the picture again will give more detail of the cottages clustered together that now form our village.

As we enter our home, our senses feel heightened by the cold. I am aware and appreciative of the warmth that greets us. I turn on the lights, check my computer and start to cook supper, all done by flicking a switch, pressing a button or turning a dial. Goodness, how times have changed.

I wrote about these deserted cottages a year or so back, but the pictures I took then were poor and did not upload well.... and I ended up deleting the post.
What a difference a few days make.... the following pictures I took whilst out walking midweek, gone were the sunny skies.... the village was shrouded in mist
We had experienced heavy rain and the little river that winds its way along the roadside was flowing fast.

It is this same little river that skirts the bank of our garden and on this last picture the trees that can just be seen in the distance are the ones on our bank.
Have a good weekend everyone and may the sun shine for you.


Willow said...

What a difference sunshine or rain makes in a day and a walk.

I don't think that it would have been comfortable or easy to live there in those little cottages, but the view would have been beautiful.

PG said...

And no internet - the horror of it! I often wonder what previous occupants of our cottage would make of the way we live now, which is primitive by today's standards butwould have transformed their lives. I do love those little cottages, such a shame they are going derelict - beautiful country pictures as well, my kind of lanes.

elizabeth said...

Such a beautiful visit.
I hadn't visited your blog for a while but whenever I do I delight in your clear eye and wonderful match of pictures and text.
Greetings from New York!

Beth said...

Hi Marion, I enjoyed your post today. Such beautiful country and it appears spring is definitely close! I believe you have short winters. We still have the rest of January, all of February and part of March to endure the cold. The stone cottages are lovely. Thanks for showing them!
Blessings, Beth

Babara said...

This walk to the old lost cottages was certainly a voyage into the past. Luckily you did it by sunshine, so you could enjoy it ! I can imagine that a hundred of stories come up when seeing this, somehow now mystic place.
It's always a pleasure to join you when visiting places in your neighbourhood!
Take care,

Pearl said...

Such a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing your photos and lovely story. I feel like I had a little walk along with you.
Hope your new year is going well.

Mountain Mama said...

Oh my goodness Marion!!! I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate this post. All of my life when I have seen pictures of countryside and homes like these I have been so drawn that I can almost feel the place. I somehow seem to connect with it so much. I can remember the smokey, acrid smell of peat burning although I have never experienced it, I can feel the warm stones under me from sitting on the sun warmed rock fence. There is so much I can relate to but I have never been outside the United States except for a few trips to Canada and Mexico. I can't explain the connection I feel but it is just as real as memories of my childhood. Maybe it's something in my DNA? Thank you so very much for sharing. You have warmed my heart with some far off memories of perhaps another time and you wrote about it so well too. I don't believe in reincarnation but we don't fully understand DNA and perhaps there is a memory DNA from our forefathers that we don't know about yet. I only know what I feel and it is very real. Thanks again

Denise said...

Hello Marion, what a lovely surprise to see your nice newsy comment this morning, and all the interesting coincidences. Many of the names you mentioned I recognized immediately. Willenhall, Tipton, West Bromwich, Smethwick of course (where I was born) and now this lovely life you have in Wales. I enjoyed the walk you took us on. Those cottages were made to last weren't they? I bet they could tell some stories. I'm going to add your blog to my blog-roll and also to other list as I would like to visit you often. Thanks so much for stopping by and I shall enjoy becoming a regular follower. Happy New Year :)

Alke said...

thank you for taking me with you on your walk. i am glad i found your blog by surfing around a bit. i love uk and the very special countryside there, the way houses and walls are built. and of course the friendliness of the people. for one like me, born and living on the continent, wales is something special to see and read about.
i am going to put your link in my new blog, because i am looking forward to visit you here again.
lots of greetings

HORIZON said...

Hello Marion, l hope you remember me. Just wanted to say hello again- l've been gone for quite a while and am finally out of hibernation. It is all taking a bit of getting used to again. I hope this finds you well. Beautiful post - you live in a lovely part of the country. What a winter we've had- phew!

Sara said...

I enjoyed all these views; thank you. Love that stone, though I suppose it does make the buildings rather chilly inside. It's beautiful though.

Alke said...

hello marion,

yes, garden is always changing.
so, you are planning a raised veggie-bed. that is one of the projects i would love to try once, too. still i do not know yet, where to place it in my garden. so far i only had a little bit of vegetable and this in between flowers. just here 3 or 4 cabbidges, and there a bit of salad. my herbs are growing aswell inbetween flower beds and tomatoes and strawberries always in containers..
here in germany raised beds are a bit unusual. only very few do it. but so far i read in books and internet, in great britian and america it is much more common.
i am looking forward to see your bed here and maybe i can take inspiration from your garden to mine.
now i wisch you a nice weekend.

Barbara said...

This was delightful Marion. Have not visited your bit of Wales.

Always wonder how they managed in the old days with families in such small cottages but of course they did not know any different and I imagine glad to have a home at all.

So great when the snow clears and the sun comes out.

Kiki said...

Hallo and sorry,
my English is very bad. But I must write some words. It is a very nice blog.
My girl-friend lives in Oxford. I visit her each year.I'll be back in England at the end of March. And I love the Cotswolds!!! What a superb landscape!
Lots of greetings and sorry because of my bad English!

Betty said...

Gosh! When I visitied the other day I left a comment...guess it didn't go through for some reason...oh well...

Beautiful pictures of your put my pictures to shame...the winter has certainly been COLD! I am so ready for spring time.

Love you,

Kerri said...

I enjoyed this hike too Marion. Your village has truly beautiful views. Your photos of the winding lanes are gorgeous and I particularly love the photo of the village shrouded in mist.
The abandoned cottages are fascinating. Imagining the hard life back then certainly makes us appreciate the comforts we have these days. The people who lived there must have fought hard to keep warm during the winters.
That's a lovely photo of John and the sheep look so peaceful grazing in that gorgeous green meadow.
Who wouldn't enjoy walking in your beautiful village?