A cold snap in late November 2016 introduced winter weather to Cardiff and much of Wales. Subzero temperatures, heavy frosts, clear skies, frozen windscreens and freezing breath, the world turned an icy white.
My post on early autumn colours a short while ago looked at parkland towards the middle of Cardiff, in and around the city centre. This sudden grip of winter weather offered a renewed appreciation of the outer suburbs of the city where I live now. Cardiff as a city is so much more than its centre.
[Read the Composed piece: When autumn comes to Cardiff]
Cardiff city centre has iconic architecture, exceptional shopping and world-class entertainment facilities. You can familiarise with it in a day or over a weekend. But you can keep exploring and keep discovering different rural parts of Cardiff over years. The greenspace of the city centre, loyally anchored by the River Taff, sprawls farther and wider than even its oldest residents might imagine.
Everything in recent months has been keenly felt and observed. More perhaps than recent years because we are still new to our neighbourhood and the area of St Fagans. We are still discovering little pockets of woodland and paths. With the autumnal recession of leaves from trees, new views of distant hillsides are slowly being uncovered. It’s the slow reveal of a wonderful trick of nature.
[Read the Composed piece: A new St Fagans photographer]
Bitingly cold mornings have shown our surroundings in a new glistening monochrome, draped in paralysed whites and blacks, creating an almost perfect stillness. That would be, if not for the unignorable signals of nearby civilisation. The constant drone of the A4232 dual carriageway over the Ely River, the regular blasting roar of trains hurtling along next to Plymouth Woods, the always disappointing debris of litter, abandoned vehicles and reminders of human life.
You can venture a short distance away to escape this. Rolling hillsides are viewable just beyond St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.
A short distance more can take you over a patchwork of working hills to Radyr, where you can meet the River Taff once again, as well as part of the Glamorgan canal network.
Beneath the frozen stillness, these places take on a new wintry dimension. It’s magical and kind of humbling, having easy access to all this. Even when your bones are chilled, fingers painfully numbed and your pup misbehaving, you feel lucky to have so much of rural Cardiff on your doorstep.
Need any Cardiff winter photos or a wintry outdoors Cardiff photoshoot? Please get in touch.
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