Hello everyone again!
Happy March! I’m very happy to say Easter is coming (relatively) soon and that I’ve booked my flights home for that week. Although, really we both know it’s to go home and collect a dozen chocolate eggs and then come back to Spain… Sorry to bring up Easter so soon but we’re already in March and I can’t believe how fast time is flying by! To think that my year abroad is already 3/4 of the way through, I’ll try not to get too emotional and dive right into this blog post on the ENVIRONMENT! (dun… dun… DUHHHHH).
Now let’s be honest, the word environment just leaves most people rolling their eyes and immediately switching off… BUT I thought we could take a different spin on things and this time get you guys to think more positively about that old doom and gloom word, so let’s bring the environment right back in a positive light to Wales! Wooo!
So, we’ll start here with a little exercise for you all… (don’t worry this involves no paperwork!)
We need everyone to close their eyes.
Keep your eyes closed for 30 seconds. (Teachers, this goes to you too!)
Imagine your favourite outdoor green area you’ve visited in Wales – it can be somewhere as small or large, local or even slightly further afield, as you wish.
Try to put yourself back into that place and remember what you could see, feel and hear around you.
After your 30 seconds, take a moment to reflect on your favourite place.
For those of you that do have a certain place in mind, ask yourself these questions:
- Why is that your favourite place?
- When did you discover this place?
- How long has it been since you last went there?
- What did you hear, see and feel around you?
- Was it an official ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’?
No answer can be right or wrong!
Describe those things to the person next to you and share your favourite places in Wales to each other. Even if you have the same place in mind, don’t worry because your experiences and perceptions will always be different!
If you didn’t really have a specific place in mind, that’s no problem just ask yourself these questions:
- If you could create your own favourite green space, what would it be like?
- Would it be by the sea? Have a beach or not have a beach? Be quiet and peaceful? Would there be wildlife about?
Be as creative as you wish to be, but remember it’s your favourite outdoor green space!
Share this place with the person next to you in the class and describe them both to each other.
Now, still in your pairs or small groups however it works out best, you have 1 minute to try to name as many Welsh Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as you can.
How many can you come up with? How many of them even are there?… We’ll find out in a moment.
I’ll openly admit here that when reflecting on the theme for this blog of Wales and the wider world and the environment, I suddenly realised how much I overlooked what was around me as I couldn’t think of my favourite green area back home. To add to that, I could only name about four or five of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the whole of the UK.
The reason why I’ve asked you to do this today, is simply to remind us what beautiful places we do have, and maybe without even realising that they are there.
As a languages student, you may think that I would always advertise countries abroad as the best way to see something wonderful. When in fact, after having spent 6 months in Toulouse and now 4 months in Spain, the experience has actually taught me to appreciate what we have around us and the places that are on our doorstep, that we often overlook.
You may have seen TV adverts from ‘Visit Ireland’, ‘Visit Scotland’ and such on mainstream channels and that’s when I decided to take a look at their website Visit Wales to learn a little more about those AONB in Wales.
In the Britain, there are 46 AONB:
33 in England
4 in Wales
1 along the English/Welsh border
8 in Northern Ireland.
The first official AONB was designated in 1956 in the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.
Below I’ve found some breathtaking photos of the 4 AONB in Wales along with their names and a snippet of the things they have to offer, with their web links so you can do some investigating too.
With winter shows, a food festival and sailing festival.
With a great variety of beaches, castles and caves.
Plenty of places to go camping, watersports, sailing, cycling, fine beaches and a harbour.
Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
Great outdoor spaces and country parks for walking, fell running cycling and horseriding, plus as you can see the chance to paraglide!
Wye Valley with a variety of walking, riding, cycling, climbing, canoeing and caving. Plenty of wildlife and flora and fauna too. Also with a river festival.
I hope these stunning green spaces have left you awe-struck as I was, and you may have even visited some of them before. If not, that’s what bucket lists are for!
Finally, to bring this blog back to the wider world, I’m asking you all for a little help…
Because I have yet to visit much of Spain, and this blog has left me wanting to see what’s beautiful local to me, I would like you to find out:
What equivalents of these AONB there are in Spain?
Where abouts are they located?
If you ask your teacher to comment on your best suggestion, I’ll make it my pledge to go there and write its own blog! GO, GO GO!