Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Coed Simdde Lwyd Oak woods

I've visited some more sessile Oak woods still within the Rheidol Valley but this time downstream of Coed Rheidol (where I was last week). They are called Coed Simdde Lwyd which means 'Wood of the grey chimney' in Welsh. Not such a nice name but it harks back to an age of heavy metal mining in this area.Indeed there are many ruins of mines dotted around Ceredigion.
These woods are much bigger than Coed Rheidol and as they are south facing are drier with less luxuriant moss growth. I saw hundreds of oak saplings, some covered in red pea galls, so the woods are regenerating well. I collected some galls to draw at home. These galls are fascinating; they look like tasty little fruits.

The wildlife Trust of South and west Wales have put in some new paths, one I followed right to the top of the steep valley (phew,very tough!!) above the woods,with glorious views of the Rheidol valley and the sea beyond. Some of the gnarled trees at the top are only just bigger then me!! There were plenty of bluebells and bees here too. I could here the unique call of a cuckoo in the distance.


 Following the valley top I then descended back into the cool woodlands, and found a rushing stream cascading down. Here the plant-life is slightly more varied with more species of tree, including Wych Elm and Ash and I collected some golden Saxifrage to draw; its a common plant found in these damp places.
So as promised I have uploaded some sketches, some from the oak woodlands of the Rheidol and also Coed Cwnch in the Elan valley too. You can see bilberry, barren strawberry, golden saxifrage and common violet with the hairy wood-rush and some mosses. Also a bumble bee.


Below is the actual oak woods painting with some spring additions so far; hazel catkin & hard fern (Blechnum spicant) crosier,

Below is a wood anemone, an acorn germinating, the red pea galls and some wood sorrel. I germinated the acorn myself, but the fresh oak leaves are from a one year old sapling. Really enjoying this painting but its a good job that these oak woods are quite low on species diversity as I wouldn't fit everything onto the page!!


  1. Claire, what a beautiful place! I've never heard cuckoo song except in Italy. How lovely!

    Your botanical sketches and paintings are delightful .. really special.

  2. Dear Claire,what a wonderful place and wonderful Art!!! I love read from you! Hugs,Rita.

  3. Thank you so much Theresa and Rita, its a lovely place xxx

  4. Lovely photo's, and interesting trees, they remind me of curly willow a little. Very nice botanical art too, I always look forward to seeing your work.

  5. You live in such a magical place Claire - I love your working drawings :)

  6. I somehow missed this wonderful blogpost with everything going on... lovely work, Claire! xx