Mid winter sun

January is dark and dismal; on rare days the sun shines and the coastline is transformed by a palette of powder blue, dark purples and gravel browns. At Shellness, the sea is calm and the views distant, but the tide is out on the full and the geese, waders and gulls dispersed and quiet.

Wrabness

Wrabness is a small village with a long history and, on a bright day, wide views north across the Stour Estuary to Suffolk. Today, a cold shroud deadens the coast. In the churchyard, a small bell house squats square amongst the headstones; it was constructed as temporary measure after the bell tower toppled off the…

The River Eden

Christmas Day The walk from Penshurst to Hever runs just to the south of the village of Chiddingstone but the afternoon light quickly fades and we turn a mile before we reach the end. The ground is waterlogged and the trees bare; the moon rises early in the cold sky. The redwings and fieldfares feed…

Oare today …

The weather is broad grey brushstrokes with brief sparks of sunshine that light small flocks of lapwings and the many ducks on the open waters of the East Flood. A mobile mass of starlings forages in the recently cut marsh with a busy intensity; birds rise from the back and move to the front in…

Coppice and wood pasture

The coppice woodlands of west Kent are distinctive with their densely woven blanket of sweet chestnuts dotted with ‘mother’ oak trees. Birch and pine are also present and the autumn sunlight creates rich mosaics of greens, orange and yellows. Sweet chestnut coppice is managed on an approximate 15 year rotation and for the first few…

Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place is one the finest manor houses in England; it sits in the heart of the Weald at the confluence of the Rivers Medway and Eden, surrounded by wooded hills and ridges. On a fine autumn day, the house and the grounds look like something out of an 18th or 19th century painting.

Autumn at Chalk Cottage

The sun is out at lunchtime lighting up the hedgerows; the autumn insects are feeding on the abundant ivy and there is a surprising diversity of wasps, flies and hoverflies. In the evening, the lanes are in deep shadow but the sun hangs bright low over the downs until a huge grey cloud inches across…

A little bit of Broadstairs

17th and 18th October A grey Saturday is followed by a bright morning. The last swallows and sand martins are chasing up and down the cliffsides; rock pipits are on the beach and sea walls. A flock of linnets feed on the weedy flora above us. A huge dog chases a small flock of turnstones…

The Thames Estuary at Cliffe

The now familiar walk across the flat grazing marshes from Higham Church passes a herd of ewes with a busy ram that pursues his next conquest with single-minded determination. A flock of goldfinches sit in the boundary hawthorns and small charms fly into the acres of seeded thistles in the adjacent field. In the distance,…