17 Mar 2014

Hornor Paintings

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

This week we decided to try to match up the Hornor paintings with the current landscape.  There were two which were of particular interest to us, that from the side of the mansion overlooking Cae Blaen on to what was Llyn Mawr and the birdseye view of the whole of the estate.  Of course, Llyn Mawr no longer exists and as these are paintings we can’t expect them to be an exact representation of the views.  But that of the whole estate seems quite accurate.  Perhaps he went up in a balloon?

The mansion covered a lot more ground than that of the remaining outline ruins, but even allowing for some uncertainty as to the exact view point from where it was painted, and also for artistic license, it was still possible to match this painting up with the existing view.

This was especially true of the view of the background hills and Paxton’s Tower, although the view over Cae Blaen and on to Llyn Mawr had obviously been adjusted so that the latter was more clearly visible.  But we were intrigued and decided to look further into Cae Blaen, a field we had not previously explored.

Entering it near the bridge which separated what was Llyn Mawr and the still existing Llyn Uchaf, perhaps the most noticeable thing that struck us was how big and especially how deep Llyn Mawr must have been.  And the extent to which the stream has cut into the ground since the lake was drained.  If, as is hoped, this lake is reinstated, it could certainly be an interesting feature.

Cae Blaen slopes down in a way which is not shown in the painting and Jan had suggested that there might be a Ha-Ha there.  But  we found no sign of one and noone has heard any mention of such a feature.  However, we did hear a Chiffchaff singing away, the first of the year, Fox poo – no mistaking the smell – and possibly Hedgehog droppings.  And it was good to see a Five Spot Ladybird and the first appearance of Lesser Celandines, Golden Saxifrage, Dandelions and Primroses – Spring is coming at last.  Down by the large oak in the middle of the field were a number of Wolf Spiders plus a very intriguing Waterfowl footprint in the mud near the stream which runs through there down into what was the lake.

After basking in the glorious sunshine in this under appreciated meadow we left via Trawscoed meadow and the ladies headed off into the woods near the start of the Welsh country walk whilst the gents explored the meadow.  And a nice surprise near the rushes as we disturbed what we think was a Woodcock – they have been reported there a couple of years ago. Apart from that and finding that the Hornets nest in the old Beech stump seems to have disappeared nothing to report except that we got very hot walking back along the lane from North lodge.

Meanwhile back in the woods the ladies were being treated to a caucophony of bird song.  And Hazel was very pleased to find an old Wren’s nest built in an outcrop of twigs on the trunk of a tree. But the twigs at the exit of the Hedgehog box were still in place.  Is it too early or too cool for it to emerge from hibernation or has it not survived the winter?

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