Cooling Marshes

In winter, the grazing marshes below Cooling have a wild beauty especially under a late afternoon sun that splices the broken clouds. This autumn, a large flock of some 600 lapwings sit out the day on the fields but are constantly restless and at low tide shift to the narrow strip of firm ground created…

Autumn

When the sun breaks through on a stormy day, the old hedges of thorn, ash and dying elm appear green and golden above the rich brown fallow fields. The skies over these open, chalk downs are, on some evenings, briefly dramatic before the sun drops into the dusk.

Autumn inkblots

Like so many country estates, the large back garden at Sheffield Park is a display of the most fashionable trees and shrubs brought in by Georgian and Victorian plant collectors, especially from the remotest and most inaccessible temperate forests in the Far East and Far West; the seeds were as prized as moondust. Gingkoes sit…

Spoonbills and sandwiches

August 30th At Shellness, the flocks of waders and waterfowl are enjoying the easy pace of the balmy summer.   Swallows move along the beach in small flocks; a wheatear forages on the shingle. There is a late summer silence at high tide mainly because the Brent geese have not arrived. Sandwich terns are roosting…

Folkestone Harbour

The ferries no longer cross to France and nor do the trains run down down from London so the Harbour is now a peaceful place of relaxation and bright sea views. On a sunny Sunday in October with a fresh breeze it is bright and cheerful; the old station with its curved platform is a…

Summers up

A few images from a long hot summer that has now drifted into a damp and mellow autumn. Our local chalk grasslands are always rich in wildflowers and the diversity seems to be improving especially with a profusion of bee ochids in July. The green wheat fields turned yellow in the long summer drought; today…

Stourhead

The landscaped gardens at Stourhead are a sort of pastiche Greek paradise comprising of a dammed lake surrounded by an assortment of stone structures including temples, pantheon, Palladian bridge and, for good measure, a Gothic cottage. The homage is set within a narrow valley planted with tall, exotic trees. Above the valley, there is a…

Sissinghurst in September

The old place is quiet on a hot day; the struggling borders are fading into autumn. The new Mediterranean garden perfectly evokes a dusty, desiccated island in the Aegean except there is no loud, monotonous rasp of cicadas. Even after a long drought of a summer, there is still enormous inspiration from the the planting;…

Cae Hir Gardens

The gardens at Cae Hir run up a hillside in a quiet corner of deepest mid-Wales; they are a revelation of quiet colours and varied forms with long views under a remarkable diversity of trees and through gaps in hedges and borders; and their establishment is a fascinating story of singular endeavour and creativity.

Llangrannog, West Wales

The walk from Llangrannog to Cwmtydu runs along a wild coast filled with flowering heather, peregrines and choughs. The only blot on the landscape is an incongruous dry ski slope at the Gwersyll Yr Urdd but this is filled with children enjoying the rush. The elegant peninsula of Ynys Lochtyn runs out into the grey…

Whitstable Carnival

6th August 2022 The first Saturday is August has been carnival day in Whitstable for the last 125 years. At 6pm, under a clear blue sky, the road into town from Tankerton is closed, the pavements are jammed and the procession, this year with a theme of all things piratical but with more than a…

Col d’Agnes

15th May 2022 On the route up to Port de Lers the road runs through dense woodlands to the open ground where waterfalls crash down by the road and woodland browns chase along the fringes of the beeches but never land in plain sight. In a flush by the road, a single De Prunner’s ringlet…