Exploring the coast of South Wales, where the second highest tidal range in the world has had a huge impact on people's lives.
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The Gower was designated the UK's very first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956.
It's not difficult to see why.
But the Gower was popular for some while before it was given official recognition.
People have been coming here for at least 30,000 years.
Proof of such early visitors came in a spectacular discovery made here over a 170 years ago.
Even today, the very name Paviland Cave brings a sparkle to the eyes
of hardened archaeologists and anthropologists alike.
And for our own anthropologist Alice Roberts, the trip down to the cave is long overdue.
Now, this is actually the first time I've ever been to Paviland,
so I'm very excited.
It's a bit of a pilgrimage for me, because it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit. It is fantastic.
-It's beautiful here.
'My guide on the rocky road to Paviland
'is archaeologist and expert on Early Man in Britain, Paul Pettitt.'
Where is the cave Paul?
The cave is round the corner, just out of sight, about 20m above where you see the waves.
-How long have we got when we go around to the cave?
-Well, low tide is in about an hour.
We'll probably have about an hour down there, to be safe.
Right. We'd better get on with it.
-There's amazing shapes that the sea has carved out of this limestone.
-It's a weird landscape, isn't it?
-It's very strange.
-But quite impressive.
To an anthropologist, Paviland Cave is like the Holy Grail
because here, in 1823, an ancient burial was discovered.
In it were the red-ochre-stained bones and relics of the young person
who was to become known as "the Red Lady of Paviland".
It took decades to discover that not everything about HER was as it first appeared.
-Wow, so Paul, this is Paviland Cave?
-This is Paviland Cave, yes.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
It's wonderful. Where was the burial actually found?
The burial was placed against the wall back here. I'll take you to it.
So this is it,
in this nice little alcove here.
The Red Lady was tucked against the side of the cave here, the cave wall.
-Right up against the wall?
-Laid out, right up against the wall, as far as we can tell.
And this almost complete mammoth skull was placed here,
most definitely in association with the burial.
-And the whole skeleton was covered with red ochre, wasn't it?
-It was. The whole sediments were bright red.
And there were a number of artefacts placed with the burial that had that similar staining as well.
-What sort of artefacts?
-I can show you some examples, much of which we can see was definitely jewellery
worn by the red lady.
First we had about two handsful of these periwinkle shells
coloured in red ochre and pierced to be suspended, probably as a necklace.
-We also had a couple of these fox canines
pierced, again, for suspension...
but also more enigmatic items such as these.
-These are broken fragments of rods of mammoth tusk...
..polished with red ochre. We don't understand what they were used for.
But they were broken and placed on the body of the Red Lady.
When the person who found the bones told the Press - surprise, surprise, there was wild speculation.
There's a lot of Roman activity nearby, and he thought, "Well it's the burial of a young female,"
-he thought, "coloured in red, in a cave, Romans nearby. It's got to be a prostitute."
-Or "a witch".
-So the SCARLET Lady of Paviland.
-Yes, red in more senses than one.
The interpretation has changed completely. It wasn't a red lady at all, it was a male burial.
-In fact, it's the earliest burial in Britain, isn't it?
-Yes, we've radiocarbon-dated the Red Lady
-to about 30,000 years old.
-So, it's a skeleton of a modern human.
You've got somebody about 5 foot 10.
Yes, probably lived as part of a small, highly mobile band of hunter-gatherers.
So the Red Lady HIMself was buried here at a time when the surrounding environment was very, very different.
The "Red Lady" of Paviland was no unsophisticated "caveman".
He was simply BURIED in a cave 30,000 years ago,
with dignity and ceremony, by people very much like us.
By the time we modern humans were able to return
about 20,000 years later,
As a kid I used to spend hours doing this, staring into rock pools at miniature parallel universes,
whole communities assembling and dispersing with every tide.
Down at the far end of The Gower, our team zoologist, Miranda, is taking a closer look
at these fantastic miniature worlds.
Between the Gower Peninsula and Worm's Head, a vast causeway is revealed twice a day,
every day on the ebbing tide.
Amongst the great ribs of exposed rock are some fantastic rockpools,
many of them host to constantly-changing colonies of plants and sea creatures
for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Showing me round the causeway is local expert rockpooler Russ Spencely.
Ah, here's something really interesting.
'What a great start - a mermaid's purse! Actually the egg of a dogfish, a kind of small shark.'
And we're very lucky, because this one is actually alive and kicking.
-You can see the...!
-You normally find they're empty, already hatched.
-Oh, look, look.
-You can see the embryo swimming around, attached to the egg yolk.
The yolk is huge. That is like an inch across! And there's this tiny little dogfish.
The yolk has got to keep that embryo growing for nine months.
-It's like a baby in a womb - but you can see in.
-That's exactly what it is.
-I'll put it back in there. Hopefully, that'll hatch.
-Oh, brilliant, that was really good.
What are the best tips for getting close to the critters you don't often see?
You're totally reliant on the tide. You've got to get down on a low tide to find the most interesting things.
-A dead crab?
-This time of year, the odds are it's a moulted crab.
As they grow, they cast off their old shell.
-You can tell. Open it up and there's nothing in it but the gills.
The more you look, the more you feel a real sense of privilege,
being able to peer into these perfect little worlds stranded for a moment between the waves and the sea-shore.
This is brilliant. This is really rockpooling high-tech style.
-It looks idyllic from up here, but life in a rock pool is pretty tough.
-One of the harshest environments.
All these creatures have evolved to live in salt water.
For about four hours a day, they're exposed to the elements when it may be hot or cold, raining, snowing...
These creatures face all sorts of extreme challenges.
On a hot day, evaporation can increase salinity,
and without waves to aerate the pool, you'd think a lack of oxygen could also be a threat to life. But no,
seaweed kicks in, providing oxygen through photosynthesis.
The biggest problem for a rockpool's lodgers can be a sudden cold wave
causing the temperature to drop by as much as 15 degrees Celsius.
For a tiny creature,
that's like jumping from a hot Jacuzzi into an ice-cold bath.
I'm always amazed at how many species survive and thrive in our rockpools.
Well, there's various reasons for this.
The British Isles is where the northern species and the southern, warm-water species meet.
We get some of each. We've a huge tidal range here, so there's a vast area for them to live in.
That's why we have all these wonderful creatures.
In some of the deepest pools, exposed at very low water,
you might even get to see a lobster waiting eagerly to see what's going to drop in on the next tide.
-The tide is moving quite rapidly.
-Oh, heck! OK.
-Another 20 minutes or so, we'll be underwater again.
-This will revert back to the seabed.
-OK, shall we get out of here?
-I think it's time to gather the kit.
Rockpooling is such a great way to while away a few hours,
and there's a wealth of fabulous animals to discover on our shores.
We're blessed here in the UK with a huge, extensive coastline,
so you'll be spoilt for choice with where to go.
Just across the Tywi Estuary from Pembrey,
a literary landmark - the pretty, sleepy seaside town of Laugharne.
This was the last boozing place, and the last resting place,
of one of the 20th century's best known poets, Dylan Thomas.
Indeed, many claim that Laugharne and its people were the inspiration
for Thomas' lyrical radio play, Under Milk Wood.
"It is Spring, moonless night in the small town,
"starless and bible-black,
"the cobblestreets silent
"and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible
"down to the sloeblack, slow, black,
"crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea."
Having visited Laugharne for myself, it doesn't worry me in the least if the characters in the play
were based on real-life villagers. But from now on, every time I hear Richard Burton's treacle tones
or read for myself the verbal wizardry of Under Milk Wood,
it's images of this place that will come to mind.
"Listen. It is night moving in the streets,
"the processional salt slow musical wind
"in Coronation Street and Cockle Row,
"it is the grass growing on Llareggub Hill, dew fall, star fall,
"the sleep of birds in Milk Wood."
-MALE CHOIR SING:
-# We are not wholly bad or good
# Who live our lives under Milk Wood
# And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
# To see our best side, not our worst. #
After the vast half-moon of Carmarthen Bay, the coast begins to twist and turn
and, as we reach the holiday haven of Tenby,
majestic cliffs and glorious sandy coves begin to dominate the coastline.
This is Pembrokeshire, home to the UK's only coastal National Park.
It's also where you'll find the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
And if you're going to stay the course, you're in for a bracing 186-mile walk,
clambering over more than 400 stiles
and negotiating 11,000m of ascent and descent.
And if all that sounds a bit too much like climbing Everest before breakfast,
you can always hop on the bus. It's no ordinary bus.
'It's one of a chain of buses called the Puffin Buses, and they all run on environmentally friendly fuel.'
Hi. How much is it to Stackpole, please?
'It's walker-friendly, too,
'picking you up and dropping you off at various points along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
'They'll even accommodate your dog, your pushchair and your surfboard.'
Time for me to get some exercise again.
There's something truly magical about the coast between Stackpole and St Govan's Head.
Although it's in all the guidebooks, it's a very private moment when you stumble across St Govan's church
nestling in a deep gully.
Tradition has it that this was the last resting place of Sir Gawain,
one of the knights of the round table.
Whatever the truth, there's an atmosphere here that rivals that of any great cathedral.
The team explores the coast of South Wales, where the second highest tidal range in the world has had a huge impact on people's lives for thousands of years. Zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff reveals some rockpool secrets.