Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Ystwyth Valley

At last a rare glimpse of the sun was had today so went for a walk down the Ystwyth Valley.It is very close to home, just a half mile walk through some forest.

Eventually the muddy forest path leads out to the open valley, through a bracken and gorse covered hillside,with the river Ystwyth in the distance. You pass the ruins of an old house,and a bit further on is an old lead mine called Pant yr Hirain. There are lots of old mines along the Ystwyth; eerie places,they echo with their past history. I imagine the noise and polluting activity that was once here,now the ruins peacefully decay back to nature.


Above is Pant yr Hirain mine, jutting from the hillside. Heather,Gorse and Birch are the most abundant plants here,but looking closer at the ground there is a profusion of mosses and lichen species;forming little communities.

Above is a quirky sketch of lichen and moss communities that I found in the valley,even a little mushroom. It was done quickly with pen and wash; I think its a bit comical!

Another small watercolour study of a moss and lichen twig. The little lichen leaflets almost fit together like teeny jigsaw pieces.

Heres a cropped painting (from last winter), of a Larch twig with the beautiful, feathery Usnea lichen;I love painting this species  (I use masking fluid). You can notice a strange smell while painting lichens,sort of sea weedy; earthy,foresty and damp.

The river Ystwyth snakes into the distant forested hills.


  1. A very varied and absorbing landscape you have on your doorstep. The old lead mine looks dramatic, and I love your sketches of the lichens and mosses.

  2. A nice walk you have there Claire. Love the paintings, i like the little things in nature too.

  3. Your posts are always interesting Claire - such fascinating
    surroundings!! A lovely, light touch to your sketches too. :)

  4. Your lichen sketches are so detailed and delicate. I have sketched the same species of lichen that grows on my island in northwest USA.