Grey Britain and an oasis of colour: Newport Wetlands

Britain is grey.  There is the odd day when the sun shines but we all know it won’t last and that can cast a shadow over the enjoyment of the sunshine during its brief appearance.

I had friends come to stay over the weekend and the plan was to go out walking in the mountains.  Sunday was mostly dry and warm ….. but grey ….. with occasional drizzle just to remind us that this was Britain in summer.  The walk up the ridge to Abergavenny was pleasant enough but the spectacular views, south to the coast and across to Somerset, east to the top edge of the Wye Valley, north east to the Malvern’s, northwest to the higher peaks of the Brecon Beacons and west across the top of the South Wales Coalfield, were all lost in the grey mist.

Monday was quite different.  The morning dawned very grey rather than just grey.  And wet. The mountains had disappeared completely into the clag though were probably up there somewhere.  We had planned to go a little further north for a short walk but knocked that one on the head and headed down to the coast and the Newport Wetlands, a bird sanctuary and wetland environment created out of the power station ash pits in order to allow Cardiff to flood its wetland area under the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

The first couple of times I had been there the site had been under development and to my untutored eye there was little to see.  It had been grey, drab and very muddy. I saw only mallard ducks and the odd heron both of which are on the canal at the end of the garden and coots which are very similar to moorhens which again are frequently to be seen at the end of the garden.  I had been told that Newport Wetlands was now much better and it was.  Check it out at

Walking around the well laid out paths, what struck me most were the incredible colours in the plant life.  So this blog is a brief pictorial oasis of colour in the otherwise pervading greyness of a British Summer.

The very grey and very sticky mud of the Bristol Channel ... much loved by wading birds

Looking across the mud flats and the Bristol Channel - very grey

Some of the inhabitants have just had enough and bury their heads

.... or preen themselves

But start to focus elsewhere and things look a little brighter

Mixed colours of flowering plants everywhere

There seem to be a lot of wild sweet peas

.... small but delicately well formed

Vivid colours in seed heads as well as flowers

A heavy crop of sloes


Sharp plants

Softer textures

Colourful grasses

Munching away the colour

.... but adding colour of their own


Young and bewildered by the onlookers

Tight-packed multiple flower heads

Big showy flower heads

Who knows what lurking in the undergrowth

A reminder of the industrial neighbour which once occupied the site.

and a sad reminder that this is Grey Britain and we still need to turn on the light.

This entry was posted in Grey Britain, Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s