I haven't been anywhere new in a while, so this week I delved into my past catalogue to see what I could cobble together for this weeks post. After a rummage around I decided to pull up some memories from my photographic forays around Dorset, which has a beautiful & varied landscape. When I first began my life of photography, a few years ago, the Dorset countryside was the first I had the opportunity to shoot, having a friend living there whom I would regularly blat down on the train from London to visit.
Over a period of about 4 years I have generated enough photos for 2 or 3 posts on Dorset, & each batch of images I am freshly re-processing, as my rendering skills have improved over time.
At the bottom of the post I have included links relevant to the places mentioned herein.
Click title to view post...
One of the first places I visited was Abbotsbury, a small village with thatched cottages near Chesil Beach on the Dorset coast (also known, touristically, as the jurassic coast). There are sub-tropical gardens & a swannery here, among other rural attractions, which combine to generate tourist trade during the warmer months of the year. Also there is St. Catherine's Chapel perched on a steep hill about 10 minutes walk from Abbotsbury village. Being of the financially skint type, my friend Helen & I decided against visiting the pay-in attractions of the village &, having parked up, made our way leisurly to St. Catherine's Chapel, by way of a random meandering, twisty-turny saunter. Here are some pictures of the chapel.
Stoke Abbott & Waddon Hill were a couple of the few places I could visit by my own means of transport when visiting Helen, my feet. My friend lived in an old stone cottage called Owl's Roost, nestled just off the road, at the base of the highest point in Dorset, Lewesdon Hill. Lewesdon Hill is a recognised nature walk & covered in a wide range of perennial & deciduous trees & plants, making it interesting to visit throughout all of England's contrasting seasons. I would strongly recommend visiting it, but make sure you have good footwear, it gets very muddy outside the summer months, though the top is flat & ideal for a rest & picnic. Though I love Lewesdon Hill, it will not be featured in this post, but in a future one. Instead we venture the opposite direction, skirting the periphary of the village Stoke Abbott, & up to neighbouring Waddon Hill, taking a few shots of the water trough reflections as the ice upon them melts.
Just a little bit shorter than Lewesdon, but almost totally bereft of foliage on its summit, Waddon is an iron age hillfort, (there are many in Dorset), & offers unobscured views of the landscape south, leading to the coast. I climbed the slopes from south side of the hill, encountering sparse deciduous woodland & much fern & heather. The local area is used for grazing sheep, & their wool can be seen snagged along the barbed wire fences that mark the perimeter of the wooded areas from the surrounding fields. The weather, on the day of my hike began promisingly, with much sunshine & a few wispy clouds scooting across the fresh blue sky. But as I neared Wadden over an hour or more of road walking & shooting, the wind began increasing in strength. Curiously though, when I reached the top of the hill there was total silence & not even a slight breeze. It seems the whole of the north/north-east side of the hilltop had been artificially banked, shielding me from any harsh weather descending. There are several smallish mounds centrally located on the flattened top of the hill, which, I have been told, may have been artificial warrens, made by past occupants for breeding rabbits as a source of food, & skins for clothing. I spent some time photographing features of the hill, including the micro flora, in the forms of succulents, flowers & lichens, which grew mainly around the bare outcrops of rock that formed a shallow ridge across the top of the hill. I did find the fresh remains of a black sheep though; not much were they, just the spine & partial rib cage & trotters. There have for many years been sightings of large cats in Dorset (pumas or panthers set free from private menageries decades ago in the advent of nationwide law changes regarding the ownership of 'dangerous' animals), & I wondered whether I'd come upon the remains of one of their dinners. Maybe.....it is also a possibility that the animal could've been butchered by poachers in the night. The only other thing of interest I discovered whilst there was the evidence of fossil hunters, who dig up the local land in search of prehistoric fossils from a time long, long ago, when this whole place was still under the sea.
As the sun reached its peak & I took full advantage of its energetic waves, bathing in its glory, by taking 40 winks amidst the short grazed grass carpet, dotted with tiny colourful flowers. Before I commenced my descent I captured a few rather uninspired landscape shots, just before the weather dramatically changed, with dark grey clouds cluttering the sky, moving apace above me from the west. Within about 15 minutes the haze of rain that I saw engulfing Lewesdon Hill had swept over to pour down heavily on Waddon Hill too. Having sheltered from the rain beneath a tree for 20 minutes, I ventured back homewards, taking more shots of the water trough reflections (I love the way the wind skips across the waters surface, rendering the reflection like an oil painting) & flora along the way.
Dorset is a beautiful place to get lost in for a day or a week, & offers some of the most lush & diverse English countryside. I just enjoy getting distracted by whatever I find along my way; instant gratification in the simple things nature lays before us.
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I am a freelance photographer specialising in performance arts.
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