Monday, 9 August 2010

Walk and Talk May 2010

Who can remember the song ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’? Was it Sandie Shaw, Dusty Springfield or maybe someone else? Anyway the reason that melody came to mind was solely because of the ‘Walk and Talk’ arranged by Llanteg Community Association in conjunction with Kiri Howell, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Community Ranger, on Monday 3rd May 2010.
What a splendid occasion it turned out to be. We assembled at the Stepaside Heritage car park under the watchful eye of Kiri. Over forty in number, ranging from young to old, like myself, or perhaps I’ll change that to elderly!!
The weather and the ‘historical presence’ lead us to believe we were in for a very enjoyable and enlightening adventure. What a remarkable factual account from Kiri about the Iron Works. I found it easy and compelling to visualise the great throng of activity in the latter part of the 19th century with probably hundreds of active participants in the workforce.

We left the Iron Works after a group photograph taken by Bob Cole who, very skilfully, appeared in the photograph himself!! Our group then proceeded along the old tramway where once horses and then locomotives hauled the iron and coal products towards Wisemans Bridge and Saundersfoot, to continue their journey for a destiny beyond our shores. The tram lines now long disappeared, but again the power of thought could so easily recall the toil and graft of a bygone age.
We edged closer to Wisemans Bridge with Kiri stopping at strategic points to explain wildlife habitat and ‘tell tale’ signs of the different species, from otters to blue-tits and buzzards. The sun was so very welcome, yet also provided an excuse, if any were needed, for indulging in a ‘whippy 99’ ice-cream at Wisemans Bridge—simply delicious!! We then proceeded up a gradual yet testing incline in the direction of Sardis, negotiating stiles, avoiding nettles, and the occasional ‘cow pat’.

Again Bob, with camera at the ready, took a superb view of the Gower and beyond towards the Devon coast.
We were like a happy band of nomads, and, for a while, not a vehicle in sight, only the gentle breeze, the warm sun and excellent company. We stopped at Sardis Chapel, a pretty and historic building with graveyard reminders of local Iron Work memorials erected during the 19th century.

The conclusion of the walk took us past the previous workings of Grove Colliery and onto the lime kilns whilst Kiri provided an accomplished running commentary of the historical significance of this beautiful area. We emerged back where we had started some two hours previously and after a distance of about three and a half miles.
All agreed it was a wonderful occasion, with many thanks to Kiri for helping so successfully to increase our knowledge of ‘history on our doorsteps’. How refreshing it was just to walk at leisure, make new friends and, for a time, escape the hustle of the present day which is dictated so often by the hurried motor-driven pace of modern life. But then would we change it for those who toiled so relentlessly in places like the Iron Works of the 19th century? Maybe not!!
John James