Beside the sea

Recent storms here in west Wales have exposed all sorts of interesting things along the coast, from tank tracks and evidence of peat cutting in the exposed peat on the beach at Tywyn, to the foundations of the old bath house revealed when part of the promenade collapsed in Aberystwyth.

On Thursday I took the learners attending my ecology course to see another of the features revealed by the storm… the submerged forest at Ynyslas. The stumps of the trees here have been radio-carbon dated and are about 6000 years old. They were drowned when the site they were growing on became wetter and a peat bog formed – preserving the stumps and fallen trees. Subsequently the sea level rose and and the site disappeared under the sandy beach. There are usually a few of the stumps visible poking out from the sand, but at the moment a vast area has been uncovered, providing a rare opportunity to see this amazing preserved ecosystem.

Whenever it is exposed like this it gets a little more eroded, but soon, the sand will cover it again and it will be hidden from view. If you are in west Wales, it really is worth a visit in the next few weeks.

There is a vast stretch of peat on the beach

There is a vast stretch of peat on the beach

Tree stumps emerge from the peat

Tree stumps emerge from the peat

You can see an amazing amount of detail

You can see an amazing amount of detail

Quite fine root systems are visible

Quite fine root systems are visible

Branches and trunks lie where they fell, embedded in peat that is now eroding

Branches and trunks lie where they fell, embedded in peat that is now eroding

Not only is this a fascinating piece of history...

Not only is this a fascinating piece of history…

... it's beautiful too

… it’s beautiful too

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Comments

  1. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing that. Here in the desert, such things seem so far afield.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    Reply
  2. Indeed – I just posted a century plus-old diner that is in the desert “ghost town” of Tombstone, about 15 miles from my house. It’s not really a ghost town, because people still actually live there, but it is a tourist place where many things are still as they were then. I love going there to photograph. ;->

    Reply
  3. Lovely account and really interesting read x

    Reply
  4. Nanette

     /  March 1, 2014

    I’d love to see that, history revealed under your feet and then it’s secrets are hidden again….marvellous you can go and explore and enjoy it all. What sort of texture does the peat have?

    Reply
  5. Good to know that the storms have done something good… even if it’s just revealing some very ancient history to interested eyes. I hope the stumps will soon be safely tucked away from erosion once more, waiting for the next big weather event.

    Reply
  6. Nanette

     /  March 1, 2014

    thanks for the description…..the peat looks hard, like solidified lava…..nice to think of it as spongey.

    Reply
  7. Wow, this is stunning. Absolutely stunning. (Though all far far far too modern for me, cos I’m a geologist at heart! πŸ˜‰ )

    Reply
  8. What a fascinating and beautiful sight it must be, To think this happened during the neolithic period when our ancestors may have been clearing forests with flint axes and starting to create farms. When they invent the time machine I want to go back and see it as it was before it became so wet.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Reply
    • One of the people on my course teaches bush-craft, so knows what axe and saw cuts look like. He could not see evidence of flint axes, but did identify a trunk that he thought might have been brought down by beaver… more research required to find out what has already been recorded at the site.

      Reply
  9. Coincidentally, the news here last night talked about the UK storms revealing unexploded WW2 ordinance. I think I like ancient submerged forests better. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  10. wow! very interesting. Are the trees fossilised ? They look so alive as if ready to sprout ! Even the fine roots are so well preserved thousands of years later …how amazing !!

    Reply
  11. sarahfoto

     /  March 2, 2014

    Wow, I wish I was there with my camera!

    Reply
  12. That’s so cool! Love it when hidden treasures like that are uncovered.

    Reply
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