Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blenheim Park & Gardens


Blenheim Palace and Grand Bridge set in Capability Brown's landscaped park by Martyn Ferry Photography

A couple of weeks ago I visited Blenheim Palace park and gardens for a spot of photography. Located in the village of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, this magnificent building and surrounding gardens are always worth a look.

The building of the palace was originally intended to be a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from a grateful nation for the duke's military triumphs against the French and Bavarians during the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.

Designed in the rare, and short-lived, English Baroque style, architectural appreciation of the palace is as divided today as it was in the 1720s. It is unique in its combined usage as a family home, mausoleum and national monument. The palace is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. At the end of the 19th century, the palace was saved from ruin by funds gained from the 9th Duke of Marlborough's marriage to American railroad heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hertfordshire Poppies



Bright red poppies in the morning sun under a blue sky and white clouds outside Royston in Hertfordshire by Martyn Ferry Photography

This morning I visited a poppy field outside the town of Royston in Hertfordshire. This particular poppy field has been in the news recently because local Farmer Helen Smith was expecting a field of blue linseed, but ended up with field of red when the crop spray they used didn't suppress the poppies sufficiently.

You can hear more about it on the itv website here.

Whatever the reason for the display, it certainly is an arresting site. What with the weather looking to get pretty dismal for the rest of the week, I thought it was prudent to get down there ASAP, and luckily for me the clouds were almost as spectacular as the poppies.

Hertfordshire Poppies



Bright red poppies in the morning sun under a blue sky and white clouds outside Royston in Hertfordshire by Martyn Ferry Photography

This morning I visited a poppy field outside the town of Royston in Hertfordshire. This particular poppy field has been in the news recently because local Farmer Helen Smith was expecting a field of blue linseed, but ended up with field of red when the crop spray they used didn't suppress the poppies sufficiently.

You can hear more about it on the itv website here.

Whatever the reason for the display, it certainly is an arresting site. What with the weather looking to get pretty dismal for the rest of the week, I thought it was prudent to get down there ASAP, and luckily for me the clouds were almost as spectacular as the poppies.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Cotswolds - Eynsham


The Square in Eynsham village in Oxfordshire by Martyn Ferry Photography

In the occasional series of tours around some the Oxfordshire Cotswolds more picturesque villages we visit Eynsham.

Eynsham is pronounced "Ensham". The spelling was changed by the Post Office in the 19th century, as it was constantly getting confused with Evesham. The origin of the name is a bit uncertain; 'ham' means meadow - and the 'En" may - or may not - be a contraction of somebody's name. 

Before humans arrived though, the area was occupied by mammoths. In the gravel pits just south of Eynsham, a large number of mammoth bones have been dug up over the past 10 years.

A causeway made of pebbles and stones was discovered recently near Eynsham by the A40 gravel pits. It probably dates from about 4,000 years ago - so it's one of the very earliest human constructions in Britain that survives.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

West Woods Bluebells


Bluebells at West Woods in Marlborough by Martyn Ferry Photography

Recently I took a trip down to Marlborough to visit the West Woods in their full bluebell glory. West Woods is a plantation of beech trees on a former ancient woodland site, managed by the Forestry Commission.

Until around 1300 West Woods was part of Savernake Forest, but now, along with Savernake and Collingbourne Woods, form Marlborough Woodland. West Woods is one-fifth of the size of Savernake Forest, and was clear-felled in 1928, leaving only a few Ancient and Veteran trees on the outskirts. It was replanted with mainly Beech, with some Birch, Pine Sycamore and Ash.

As I visited during the week, the woods were relatively empty, especially for the time of year, so I had no trouble getting some shots of the peaceful woodland bejewelled in a sea of brilliant azure.