Thursday, 3 June 2010

Minerals and Molluscs

...... the Great Orme to Point of Ayr.

In the Bronze Age, copper was mined on the Great Orme, at Llandudno, and the mines are now open as a tourist attraction. Further along the coast, at Llandulas, a working quarry sends its output by sea. There are many other disused quarries along this stretch of coast. At Point of Ayr, on the Dee estuary, there was, within my memory, a working coal mine, its two main shafts metres from the sea. This is now the site of  gas -processing for natural gas produced just off-shore. Mostyn Docks, now extended as a ferry port, was predominantly a freight port, taking amongst other things, granite from Penmaenmawr.

This stretch of coast is a working environment with many stretches predominantly agricultural, the lovely resorts of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay and the industrial heritage outlined above. The cycle track which runs from Colwyn Bay to Prestatyn, is surfaced and marked like a small road - and is just as busy! This is my main impression of my recent visit. How well used that stretch of coast is. Trains and traffic noise from the A55 are very noticeable, yet I could still hear the sea and a beautiful warbling song from an LBJ (B'l Oddie - short hand for 'little brown jobbie' - or as yet unidentified small brown song-bird). Cyclists and walkers, in crowds, use the track and yet, mostly, do so with courtesy to one another. It was particularly good to see the drivers of a number of mobility scooters taking advantage of the good surface to enjoy the view and sea air. There was too much litter - I find this offensive, but growing amongst it such beautiful plants - some sample pics at the end of this post.

The sea itself? It still provides transport, nourishes the rock pools (featured yesterday), provides exhilarating sea air, supplies energy from the gas platform and now two wind farms (one of which is very large), and bobbing about on the gentle waves (one not bothering to swim but floating head up watching us) four seals have made it their home!

A wonderful balance of nature, industry and recreation!

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