Forestry Commision Wales have recently opened up a trail near Strata Florida Abbey to an ancient holy well,dating from the 11th century AD(as old as the Cistercian abbey) or possibly even older. The trail only takes one hour and winds through old oak woodlands,then crossing a large,tumbling stream (the Afon Glassffrwd).The woodland is classed as ancient (continuosly wooded from 1600 AD) and so there is a good variety of ground flora, including bluebells,bilberry,greater stichwort, common cow wheat and wood sorrel. This is wonderful to see,as most of the woodlands in Wales are conifer plantations.
The holy well is found in an area of felled woodland, which has been planted with conifer and broadleaved tree saplings.For now its a wide open space with views of the hills and tall, magenta foxgloves everywhere.(Most were taller than me!!).
I saw many bird species including skylarks and stonechats.
Recently there have been numerous sightings of a golden eagle in this area of the Cambrian mountains-an escapee from Ireland apparently.Unfortunately I didn't see it today.
The trail wound back to the woodland to the river crossing,and the exposed twisted roots of an old oak.
The foxgloves are one of my favourite flowers to paint and also one of the first I ever painted.Their individual flowers have interesting patterns and tiny white hairs.Quinacridone magenta and permanent magenta are the perfect colours for them. The painting below has a graphite drawing of common sorrel behind;not sure if I like the whole composition so I may redo one day.
Another woodland plant I saw plenty of was the pink campion -Silene dioica.