Castles In Wales – Margam Castle

Castle, Margam

In Margam Country Park, near Port Talbot in South Wales, is a 19th century Tudor gothic mansion that many people would not even class as a castle.  Margam Castle was built 1830 and 1840 by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890) in a style that would compliment Margam’s illustrious history and his own family’s lineage.  The original mansion house had been demolished in 1787 and replaced by the Orangery, that still remains in the gardens today.  Margam Castle was passed through inheritance to several owners unto it was requisitioned by the Government in 1939.  In 1941, the trustees of the Margam estate then decided to sell the greater part of the property ultimately leaving an empty mansion and even though the estate was sold to Sir David Evans-Bevan in 1942, he never lived there and it fell into decline.  Glamorgan County Council acquired the state in 1973 and, despite a terrible fire in 1977 that gutted the interior, restoration of the mansion continues today.

Architecturally it is quite splendid and the imposing structure dominants the surrounding park areas.  The octagonal tower is particularly striking and sits in the centre of the mansion.  When my children were young we would come into Margam Park and spend hours in the grounds, taking advantage of the wide open grassy areas for a picnic and to play rugby.  I can remember sitting and looking across the expanse of grass at the dominant and imposing building silhouetted by the trees of the wooded hillside behind.

During our latest visit, we took the opportunity to walk to the magnificent Orangery, before following a path up a series of ornate steps up to the mansion.  Despite the clouds overhead, the beautiful trees and flowers lit up the gardens and I can only imagine the splendour when the mansion was in its prime.  From the grounds you can look towards the coast and see steam plumbing up into the sky from the vast Port Talbot steel works and it always makes me appreciate the industrial heritage of South Wales.

If you haven’t been to Margam Park before, I recommend that you visit.  It is a great place to go with young families with expansive grounds to play in or if you have an interest in history and architecture.

The photographs are all shot with a Canon 5D, all handheld with a little adjustment in Photoshop where needed to enhance certain features. More photographs can be seen on my website.

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Brave or Mad Sea Fishermen?

Ogmore-on-sea sea fishermen-8322The sea was crashing into the coast, smashing against the rocks and sending spray high up into the sky and yet the sea fishermen appeared oblivious to it all.  February stormy weather had hit the South Wales coast and my wife and I were out walking along a coastal path by Ogmore-by-Sea.  Heavy mean looking clouds were rushing across the sky and the sun was constantly fighting to bite through and light up the glorious coastline.  It was exhilarating!

Then I saw the first pair of fishermen.  They were positioned on the edge of a rock face just metres away from where the sea was pounding against the rocks.  Despite spray showering them, they stood and simply chatted, although they must have had to shout as the noise from the waves was deafening.  Out came the 300mm zoom lens and I took a few shots to try and capture what I was seeing.

Further on there was further evidence of fishing madness.  These keen but crazy sportsmen precariously perched themselves on rocks close to where the waves thundered into land.  I wondered how, in the stormy seas, they would have a chance of catching any fish, but maybe that wasn’t the point.  I was excited watching them and so the adrenalin must have been pumping through their veins as they defied the elements in pursuit of catching that special fish.  Was this a classic example of the thrill of the chase?

As we walked back, the fishermen were packing up and walking home and I managed to get one final shot of a fisherman from Bargoed Sea Anglers all packed up and just gazing out across the sea.  He appeared content, although maybe not with his catch of fish, but after winning his battle with the coastal elements.Ogmore-on-sea sea fishermen-6

Photographs of the sea anglers and sea fisherman can be seen on my website.

Why are Global Plastics Recycling Rates Falling?

A concerning report which highlights the need for governments to engage with industry and determine the best economical way forward.

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Research from Worldwatch Institute featured online by PRW.com reported that plastics recycling rates are falling despite a growth in production.  Political parties from across the world and especially in Western Europe continually advocate the importance of environmental policy and the need to reclaim, recycle and reuse.  However, this rhetoric is often without substance or knowledge.

So what is the issue with the recycling of plastic?  As as been recently reported in the press (eg letsrecycle.com), in December 2014 one of the UK biggest plastics recyclers, ECO Plastics, was placed into pre-pack administration prior to its business and assets being acquired by investor Aurelius.  Is there a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed at government level?

Plastics recycling has always been challenging and the advent of pre-sorted refuse plants in Germany in the 1990s resulted in warehouses stacked to the roof with recovered plastic that was of no use to anyone…

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