Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Austy Woods bluebells

Bluebell wood panoramic in Warwickshire By Martyn Ferry Photography

This morning I paid a visit to Austy Woods, a private woodland located in the heart of Warwickshire. Normally the woods are closed to the public, apart from once a year when the family open them up for two days on the early May bank holiday weekend, to coincide with the eruption of bluebells that occur here every year, and to raise money for charity.

It’s widely recognised as one of the most spectacular displays of bluebells in the county, and beyond I would imagine. Whereas most places have patches of colour, here nearly every part of the woods is carpeted in the sapphire flowers, there must be countless millions of them.

Thankfully they had agreed to let us visit the woodland after the bank holiday, which by all accounts was a bit of a melee, I can’t remember how many thousands of people they said had visited over the two days, but it was a lot. But because we arrived on the Tuesday, we had the place to ourselves, which was rather splendid.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Northumberland Day 4 - A couple of coastal castles

Dunstanburgh Castle in black and white by Martyn Ferry Photography

Following on from my day spent at Howick Hall, I decided to take a ride to Dunstanburgh Castle in the wildly optimistic hope that I might get something for sunset. Stopping at Embleton, I strode across the golf course that runs along the shore, girding myself against the blustery wind, and headed more or less directly to the shoreline that runs beneath the castle walls.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Northumberland Day 3 - Howick Hall Gardens

Snowdrops at Howick Hall by Martyn Ferry Photography

Woke up for sunrise, but it was obvious there wasn't going to be one, just a uniform grey, slowly lightening, which with even the best will in the world, wasn't worth getting out of bed for.

I got up again a bit later and pottered about, I was going to Howick Park, which didn't open until 10.30 so I had plenty of time. I arrived and had a wander into the gardens, which were full of snowdrops. Not many daffodils though which was a shame, as there were thousands planted, but they still had at least a couple of weeks to go. 

Howick Hall, a Grade II* listed building and the ancestral seat of the Earls Grey. It was the home of the Prime Minister Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, after whom the famous tea is named. The original Earl Grey tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin to suit the water at Howick, and was later marketed by Twinings.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Northumberland Day 2 - Warkworth Castle & dismal dunes

Warkworth Castle in Northumberland by Martyn Ferry Photography

Woke up to a very dismal morning, so after a spot of breakfast, I drove to Warkworth to have a look at the castle. The place itself hadn't opened for the season yet, but it's well worth a visit to see it standing proud over the town below.

When the castle was founded is uncertain: traditionally its construction has been ascribed to Prince Henry of Scotland in the mid-12th century, but it may have been built by King Henry II of England when he took control of England's northern counties. The then timber castle was considered "feeble", and was left undefended when the Scots invaded in 1173.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Northumberland Day 1 - Colourful boats at an overcast Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne at Holy Island in Northumberland by Martyn Ferry Photography

After arriving in the late afternoon gloom the day before, leaving behind a country that seemed to be bathed in sunshine along most of its length, I awoke to another misty, leaden day and headed off to Berwick-upon-Tweed for want of somewhere to go.

Had a mooch around the town, half of which looked closed and up onto the surrounding wall which encompasses the settlement for views over the coast and River Tweed. But it the views were all pretty dismal, although there was a very real sense of history about the place which I think the murkiness gave atmosphere to.

After getting a coffee I took a drive south to Lindisfarne to have a look around the harbour. I spent a bit of time getting some shots of the colourful old boats the lined the shore, as there wasn't much else I could do. I got a bit carried away, as I had a good idea that this would probably be the one and only time I would get the camera out that day.