The meltwater channel that joins Cwm yr Egwlys to Pwllgwaelod is now a wild wood of willow and alder. In spite of the wide, wheelchair accessible path that follows the valley and offers coastal path walkers an easy shortcut across the neck that joins Dinas Head to the mainland, I find this a disturbing place. The valley bottom, to the side of the path, is a swamp where it’s not safe to venture and where, anyway, the trees grow too close together to allow even water-proofed walkers access.
In Celtic mythology alder woods, or carrs, were often chosen as places of hiding and secrecy where the boggy ground deterred pursuit and where the flowers of the tree provided a green dye, used by Robin Hood, Irish faeries and others who wished to remain invisible to passing travellers. So, in spite of the tree’s value in the manufacture of charcoal and its usefulness as a building material in wet ground (canal lock-gates, the foundation piles of Venetian houses), the tree has dark associations.
The valley, however, is a “haven for wildlife – reeds, grasses, willows, birds, butterflies and even otters and glow-worms”, according to the Dinas Circular Walk that takes you to two beaches and the village. The leaflet is published by Dinas Community Forum and can be downloaded here Two Beaches and the Village – Dinas Circular Walks – July 2014-1