In 1906 Edith Holden started a Diary, now known as ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’. In it, she observed Natures cycle through the months of the year, writing simply about the weather, the birds, the flowers and the natural world around her. All the pages are beautifully ornamented with her original artwork and favourite poems. In this Blog, I’m going to try to emulate her Diary in a modern way. For a start, this is a blog on a computer, not pen and ink lovingly written on paper! However, I hope that the end result will have some similarities, in that I want to capture day by day, month by month the steady rhythm of Nature through the year. For although our 21st century lives are hectic, chaotic, noisy and deafened by electronics, the beat of the natural world, which is the backdrop to all our lives whether we notice it or not, remains ever the same. So take a sedate, gentle and steady-paced journey with me through the next year, observing the natural world. Our way of life may have changed almost beyond recognition since 1906, but nature is doing what it always has done, the cycle of nature remains constant and reassuringly predictable. In that respect, nothing has changed. ‘ No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.’ (Hal Borland)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

March 24th.

Well March has certainly been unpredictable so far. After days of heavy rain it is now Arctic cold again with snow over much of Wales. The Usk valley is such a sheltered spot that we rarely get heavy snow, and as usual the valley here is still relatively green compared to the surrounding hillsides of Abergavenny and Pontypool and Wentwood.. It is bitterly cold though and I couldn't help feeling sorry for the lambs on the hillsides trying to survive birth in these hostile icy conditions. Funny to think that this exact time last year, we were splashing in the river in the hot sun! The flood water in the fields is still full of birds though; mallards and seagulls who were joined today by a small number of canada geese. Saw a beautiful female sparrowhawk, who was being mobbed by magpies. The banks of primroses along Factory Lane were tightly shut against the cold unfortunately,on a sunny day their flowers tumble all over these shielded slopes.


  1. Just come across your blog, and I wanted to say how lovely it looks. My wife and I are occasional visitors to Usk having family there, and over the years we have done plenty of walking and pottering about round the area, so it's nice to see how things are changing on a day to day basis.

    I'll try to keep up with your posts as they arrive, and I've added a link to my own blog so I don't miss one - and, who knows, others might find you as well.

    All the best.


  2. Thanks Jules, it's nice to know that others are enjoying it, maybe you recognise some of the places in the photos.Had a look at your blog too which is really interesting, infact I want to do some hiking in the pyrenees so perhaps you could recommend a good route?

    Warm wishes,

  3. Hi Sam

    Thanks for the reply - I'm sure there are (or will be) places we recognise in your posts.

    As for the Pyrenees, I stopped in a place called Gavarnie near the famous Cirque de Gavarnie and the less well known Cirque du Troumouse. Fantastic place, and I'd definitely recommend it. But I think there are many places you could stop and all would be brilliant.

    I couldn't recommend one single route, but there is good walking round Gavarnie - just pick up a map and the trails are clearly shown. The GR10 passes near/through this srea - a major route on the French side of the Pyrenees - and there is also an equivalent on the Spanish side and the Pyrenean Haute Route if you fancy a really stiff challenge!

    For research purposes, one or more of the Cicerone guides to the area might prove helpful for planning, research and routes (link below).