The Gwaun Essay

Submitted By HelenHolwell
Words: 949
Pages: 4

The Gwaun (heath) Valley

In Wales it is always a beautiful summer. A spring which had caused the flowers and the trees to explode with colour had merged effortlessly in to a glorious summer which produced the lustrous rolling green fields of the hills that created the Gwaun valley. A Red Kite drifted with ease on a wind current in the sky above; momentarily blocking the dazzling sunlight and transforming my view into a smudge of grey and brown; its colours barely distinguishable. Above the rolling fields the craggy tops rose.

As I left the bottom of the valley the warm slow breeze slowly disappeared as we climbed up the side of the rugged hill. And a panorama of the basin, mellow and gentle, forced my tired eyes open. The deep blue sea in the distance made me squint as its brightness dazzled me. Sluggish moving tractors, the sports cars of Wales trundled and clunked on their way below me; far in the distance. As I rode up the hill, the tracks got narrower and the settlements further apart. As my horse tired I dismounted for a rest. In a gap from the high bushes and rambling brambles of the bridle path a gate provided an extraordinary view. It was dazzling. Before me the valley was carved out, showing me my journey as if it were a map. The bridle path I had taken clearly shown by the high hedges protecting it.

I remounted and as I followed the track around the hill, I left the stony paths and came to the open heath. It stretched before me like a magical land. Shrouded in mist and covered in heather springing up from behind miniature mounds of slate like a jack-from-a-box. The sky had turned a mystical grey and a small breeze made the hairs on my arm stand up. My horse whickered and I noticed a small group of mares and their foals. Welsh mountain ponies still run wild in the hills of the Gwaun valley as they have for hundreds of years. As I cantered across the heath towards the highest point of the hill I saw spider webs decorating the small bushes; sparkling with droplets of water like diamonds and heather cushioning new born foals protected by a fierce stallion and caring mothers.

When I reached the summit, Foel Cwmcerwyn, I could taste the salt from the sea on the wind. The view was extraordinary. To either side of me were the sharp, steep slate faces of the mountains. Behind me was the heath, dropping in the distance to the next valley Ffordd Bedd Morris. And in front of me was the open basin leading down to the now dull sea. The waters were choppy and the horses were frothing in white peaks. The sky was now grey and dark clouds were forming, throwing shadows over the idyllic heath. The height of my horse gave me a clearer view of the approaching storm.

As I was told by the couple who own the holiday cottage we rent who has lived his whole life in the valley Gwaun, Foel Cwmcerwyn is a site of mystical intrigue as the mystery of Twrch Trwyth, the black boar who was meant to have killed Arthur and his knights by turning them to stone. As the myth is told it is here that you find one of Arthur’s graves, and on Cerrigmarchogion-the rocks of the knights-the resting place of his knights killed by Twrch Trwyth, the black boar, and turned in to stone. Twrch Trwyth, the supernatural boar, is best known as the…