Ferreting Around and Getting Lost in Radyr Woods #Walks #MondayBlogs #Photographs #Wales

I’d no intention of getting lost – but there again, I never do. It just happens. Usually I have a husband (not a random husband, the one I’ve had for some years) to point me in the right direction. He’s used to me saying ” how far away are we from where we were?”, but this time I was on my own. Well, me and daughter’s dog, Benji.

Looking non too happy. (the reason will become apparent later)

Radyr Woods is around fourteen acres of woodland, with a network of footpaths, boardwalks, and steps throughout the wood.

There is easy access to a mixed woodland and include a local nature reserve (Hermit Wood), with a canal, streams, ponds, springs, grass and heath land.

And ducks.

Look carefully… there is a duck, hiding on a mix of branches… honest!

And another… swimming this time.

And there are interesting panels explaining the intriguing history of the area...

Apparently there are the remains of a late-Prehistoric burnt mound where hot stones would have been immersed in water until it boiled and the burnt and broken stones or pot boilers formed the mound. Although it’s not known what the mound was used for (one could guess rituals – but I’ll go no further with that idea) The mound wasn’t discovered until 1911, but it is evidence that the site was inhabited centuries ago. There are also rumours that a 10th century holy well existed on the site In medieval times Radyr Woods formed a part of the walled deer park of Radyr Court, the historic home of the Mathew family.

The area was farmed and quarried up to the mid 20th century. Conglomerate stone from the Radyr Quarry was used in the construction of both Llandaff Cathedral and Cardiff Castle.

There were quite a few other dog walkers to pass pleasantries with and allowing the dogs to sniff one another’s bottoms socialise. Then I met a man walking his dog, and his ferret

He offered to show me how the ferret walked on the lead. But I had seen him walking towards us for some time. And Benji was showing rather too much interest in the proceedings. I thought it safer for the man to hold said ferret up high-ish. Still a bit too close to Benji, I thought. His dog just looked bored.

I walked on, not noticing which paths I took. Until I realised I didn’t know where I was, and how to find my way back.

When one path seemed to run out and I sank into the mud I thought I’d better turn back. After wandering aimlessly for ten minutes I met a young woman I’d spoken to earlier and when she realised how clueless I was, she took pity on me and, with the aid of Google maps (“you haven’t got Google maps?!”, looking askance at me), walked back with me (quite a long way) to where I eventually recognised a path.

Quite fortuitous meeting her, actually. She belongs to a reading group and I’ll be going to talk with them sometime soon.

As for the sulky looking Benji at the start of this adventure – covered in mud when we eventually arrived back at the house, he needed a bath. And wasn’t impressed.

St Justian’s to Porth Clais: Walking in the footsteps of St Justinian – or, Sometimes Scrabbling on Hands and knees #Pembrokeshire #Wales #walking #photos #ThrowbackThursday #memories

Literally on hands and knees

But it was worth it

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The new-ish Lifeboat Station
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And then wonderful views overlooking Ramsey Island

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Just to prove I was there!!
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And look who we saw! (from a great distance)

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Seal pups and their mums
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So… who was St Justinian?

Justinian was born in Brittany in the 6th century. At some point in his life, he made his way to Wales, where he settled on Ramsey Island.

Justinian soon became close friends with St David, the patron saint of Wales, and visited him often in the monastery where the cathedral now stands.

He was less impressed however by the lax behaviour of some of the monks and decided to isolate himself on Ramsey island. According to legend, he took an axe and chopped up the land bridge that linked the island and the mainland. As he worked, the axe became blunter and the lumps of rock remaining became larger and larger. They are still visible today in Ramsey Sound, where the waters foam over them at high tide. Followers joined him on the island but his actions didn’t go down well with everyone though. They soon turned them against him and they beheaded him!

To the astonishment of his killers,he picked up his head and walked across the sea to the mainland, and where he set his head down, another spring of water issued forth. This is the one enclosed today by a stone canopy.

A spring of water gushed up from the ground where his head first fell and this became the famous healing well.

Justinian was buried where the chapel now stands. Within its walls are some stone footings, which may mark his original gravesite. His body was removed to the cathedral, probably at some time before the end of the 15th century.

During the early medieval period, two chapels were built on Ramsey. One was dedicated to St Tyfanog; the other to St Justinian. There is no trace of either building today, though their sites are known.