Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wychwood Wild Garden



A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to the lovely Cotswold village of Shipton-under-Wychwood, a place that takes part of its name, along with a couple of other nearby villages, from the ancient forest of Wychwood.

In past centuries this forest sprawled across a large area of rural Oxfordshire, at its height in the 12th century, the forest covered some 50,000 acres. It is of course now a shadow of its former self, and since it was enclosed in 1887, 870 hectares is all that remains of the woodland that was once home to forest fairs so riotous they were eventually banned.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Northumberland Day 3 - Exploring castles inside & out





For my last sunrise location of the trip, I took an early morning drive over to Dunstan Heads, to get another view of the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Once I had arrived on the coast, it was a 20 minute walk over the neighbouring golf course, which thankfully at this time of the morning was deserted, to get to the dramatic coastline.

The ocean shore along this stretch of remote headland is strewn with large, weathered boulders, worn smooth from the constant pounding of the relentless surf and battering winds.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Northumberland Day 2 - A hidden waterfall & windswept coasts





Out for sunrise at Bambrugh again and the conditions were a lot more promising than the morning before. There was very little cloud in the sky apart from a gossamer ribbon lying across the horizon, ready and willing to be illuminated beautifully by the rising sun.

I got a few shots of the castle with some grass covered dunes in the foreground, their lush thatches trembling and shuddering under the whims of the boisterous breeze. All too quickly though the sun ascended the cloud bank, its glaring rays penetrating directly into the lens, which made continuing to shoot towards the castle a pointless exercise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Northumberland Day 1 - Castles at dawn, and dusk.


A rather overcast start to the day at Bamburgh.

Up early on the first morning of my short visit to Northumberland, and it was chucking it down with rain. I went out anyway as you never know what the weather will bring, and drove from the cottage I was staying in, through the small, twisty lanes to Bamburgh.

By the time I pulled up at the seafront, the morning light was just arriving, but it wasn’t heralding the promise of better conditions. I sat there for a little while looking at the choppy surf and listening the raindrops thrum on the roof of the car, in the hope that the weather might improve.

After around 20 minutes, the constant tattoo of falling water began to subside to a barely audible fizzle, it was time to get on with the day. Standing on the beach I couldn’t believe how mild the temperature was. Considering a month earlier I had been on a beach in Dorset, struggling to stay warm.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dordogne Day 3 - Bustling markets and deserted villages



We began where we had left off the day before, by visiting another château, this one was slightly different from the rest though. Château de Commarque is a ruined castle deep in the Perigord forest. We arrived well before it opened, so once we had taken the 20 minute walk through dense woodland to get to it, we had the place to yourselves.