The Garden Lane at Oxwich Marsh, leads to the back entrance of Penrice Estate. I have often wondered what it was like centuries ago, but my first real recollections of this little road date to the early 1970’s, when I was ‘hard at work’ studying reed warblers in the freshwater marsh. At that time, willows and alders, just above head-high, lined each side of the lane, making it the perfect spot to catch birds with mist nets.
Beyond the wrought iron gate at the end of lane, ‘Ron’s Cottage’ as I always called it, stood alone and was occupied by the retired gardener from the estate. I remember well conversations with Ron about tales of life on the estate in the old days, and about the to and fro of illustrious visitor. Other, possibly embellished stories of goings on in the village, were also a constant source of delight during my early morning coffee break. Alas Ron is no more, but I can’t help thinking of this real old-fashioned countryman, whenever I look down the lane.
The lane has changed much in recent years, the lines of trees having gradually grown to form a tunnel, and work is now under way to clear some the most invasive ones. Ron’s cottage, renovated and looking splendid, is now a holiday let, but has not lost any of its character. It remains a magical peaceful place, sitting on the edge of the marsh as it has done for centuries.