King of the Hill and I took a day off work last week, and drove to the sea.
Leaving the towns and cities behind, we turned off the main coast road. Gradually the lanes narrowed, until we found ourselves driving through sun-dappled woodland. We crossed a small river, and the canopy of trees opened to reveal a picturesque village of thatched cottages and pretty gardens dotted along the road. Around the churchyard, drifts of snowdrops gleamed against the burnished background of last year’s leaves.
Their elegant heads nodded softly above the mulch of leaves.
On we drove, back into the woods, until the lane culminated in a car park. Beyond here, Wales’ tallest system of sand dunes bounded towards the sea a few kilometres hence, and we set off along one of the grassy paths towards the distant shore.
We made our way through this national reserve; the landscape glittered beneath a heavy coat of dew around us, transforming the delicate carpets of moss and grass into a kaleidoscope of light.
Rabbit warrens threaded through the dunes around us, as the paths turned from grass to sand. Stands of birch trees painted purple stripes across this rich tapestry of green and brown beneath a pale sunlit sky.
The dunes became higher and the sand finer; we found ourselves running up steep soft paths to the summits, looking for an elusive glimpse of the sea which we could always hear murmuring ahead.
Then the undulating land softened around us, and suddenly there it was, a triangle of blue between the grassy dunes ahead.
We spilled over the last summit onto the beach, and the roar of the waves rolled around us.
Ahh the sea, how she moves! We watched a couple of canoes playing along the shoreline for a while, and walked along the soft sands in the sun.
All morning, we only passed a handful of people and dogs along the network of paths through the dunes. The beach was almost deserted. How wonderful to have it all to ourselves for a while.
Turning back inland we reluctantly left the sea behind us, and immediately thick silence flooded through where a moment ago there had only been the roar of the waves. Few sounds travel through the dunes, beside the call of the birds in the trees.
I admired the wonderful verdant mosses that we passed, and some gnarly bark on many of the trees along the path.
The February sun held surprising heat, and we both ended up stripping off our jackets and jumpers to walk bare-sleeved through this rugged land. What a wonderful way to spend a day together away from the routine…
There are a few more pictures from the day on my flickr account, for anybody who has not yet had enough…