Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ouse Washes - From sombre to sunset

Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire with shafts of sunlight through clouds

I recently paid a couple of visits to Ouse Washes, a nature reserve managed by the RSPB, which houses two diversion channels from the River Great Ouse and is the largest area of frequently flooded (for an average of 22 days per year) grazing marsh in Britain.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lyveden New Bield in Northamptonshire

Lyveden Hall and mound reflected in the moat in the autumn sunshine

A couple of weeks ago I visited the National Trust property of Lyveden New Bield, an unfinished Elizabethan summer house in the east of Northamptonshire, and a Grade I listed building.

It was constructed for Sir Thomas Tresham, who was a figure of national importance and a talented designer, and also a fervent Roman Catholic, for which he suffered persecution a good portion of his life. Much of the garden design and cultivation instruction were penned by Tresham from his prison cell. The house is thought to have been designed by Robert Stickells. The exact date is unknown but can be estimated to circa 1604–05, the year of Tresham's death. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dorset Day 3 - Corfe Castle ruins to Kingston Lacy finery

Image of the ocean at Swanage in Dorset at sunrise.

Woke up to my alarm and dutifully got ready to head out for sunrise, checking my phone just before I stepped out and I realised I'd lost half an hour somewhere. Turns out I'd immediately fallen back to sleep after switching off the alarm and didn't realise it, so I was running rather late.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dorset Day 2 - From stormy sea to Brownsea (Island)

Groyne on Swanage seafront on the Dorset coast at sunrise

I awoke to a very dismal morning, not the best news when you're on the hunt for a decent sunrise. My plan was to head for Peveril Point in Swanage, to document the beginning of a glorious new day, but as I arrived at the car park on the eastern tip of the town, it started to hammer it down, so I sat and waited patiently for it to subside, which in due course it did.

So gathering up my stuff, I began to set off on the 10 minute walk to the coast, but after a few steps I thought better of it, as it began to lash it down once more. I realised that even if I waited for this shower to clear, if the rain insisted on a repeat performance, particularly one with a bit of longevity to it, which seemed prodigiously feasible. Once I was down at the point, I and my gear were going to get a thorough drenching. I needed somewhere with a bit of shelter, where I could cower and hide should the weather mount a sustained attack.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dorset Day 1 - Corfe Castle & Durdle Door

Early morning image of Corfe Castle in Dorset with a line of clouds above.

Last week I paid another visit to the beautiful coast of Dorset, around the Swanage area, as it had been a while since I'd been there last, which meant it high was time I got a few more pictures from this very scenic region. My first day was spent almost exclusively at Durdle Door and Corfe Castle, or Durdle Dorf Castle as I like to say when referring to them together.

My initial stop was sunrise at Corfe Castle, where I ascended West Hill, to get a view of the sun rising from behind the ruins. Unfortunately the sky wasn’t looking like it was going to play ball, there were hardly any clouds, apart from a thick plume along the horizon where the sun was supposed to make an appearance. So I was not best pleased I can tell you, but as I’d made the effort to get part way up the hill, I wasn’t about to turn back without giving the dawn the benefit of the doubt, and allowing it to make amends for such a tardy display.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oxburgh Hall - Part two

Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk on a sunny afternoon in a panoramic image

In part two of my visit to Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, I take a wander around The Wilderness, stroll through Home Covert and I encounter some very charismatic trees.

Wilderness gardens were created in deliberate contrast to the rigid formality of gardens immediately surrounding country houses. Clumps of shrubs, specimen trees, meandering paths and the dappled sunlight of surrounding woodland created a romantic illusion of an untamed landscape, in which people could walk and experience nature.

This part of the estate also contains a large boulder, about a metre across, that is composed of hundreds of fossilised oysters, and has been dated back to around 165 million years ago. I didn't take a picture of it, as its picturesque interest is of a somewhat limited value.