Discovering St Leonards

One of my favourite places to take a local walk is in the burial ground of St Leonard’s in Ludlow. The grounds are now a naturalised area for people to enjoy nature and wildlife, an attractive environment that residents and visitors alike can enjoy. There are many trees including Yew trees which were grown to make bows, but as the berries are poisonous to animals (and humans), the trees had to be grown in places like churchyards where animals were excluded.

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There are also some ageing Lawson’s Cypresses and self-sown Sycamores and Horse-Chestnuts. A large number of birds, butterflies and a colony of rabbits live in the grounds and there are many benches on which to sit and rest and enjoy the birdsong and the countryside views, as well as a few picnic tables and benches situated in a grass clearing.

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I love to wander around the monuments and select interesting carvings, words, shapes to photograph. Often hidden by clumps of stinging nettles and moss or lichens each time I visit I see something different. Continue reading Discovering St Leonards

Nature in Black and White

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: This black and white challenge is topic related and this week the theme is Found in Nature.

One of the most amazing places that I have been to is Yosemite Valley. The incomparable scenery, soaring cliffs, spectacular views and cascading waterfalls moved me so much that I wrote this piece about my feelings.

(click any image to enlarge and see the details)

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Valley View. 

Here are a few photos from that natural wonder. I hope they make as much an impression on you as they did on me.

awiyah-point
awiyah-point
River Merced in the Snow
River Merced in the Snow
Mount Watkins Reflection at Mirror Lake
Mount Watkins Reflection at Mirror Lake
The Swinging Bridge in Snow
The Swinging Bridge in Snow

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: Black Down

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: There is no specific theme given.  It just needs to be some sort of  ‘Which Way’. The possibilities are endless.

Black Down Ridden Corner

You came and looked and loved the view, long known and loved by me, Green Sussex fading into blue with one grey glimpse of sea.

~ Tennyson

These images are from the trails on the Black Down in West Sussex, close to the Surrey border. It is the highest point in the South Downs National Park.  I used to go here a lot when I lived in nearby Haslemere as there are several lovely pathways on the chalk down with spectacular views over the countryside.

Black Down Trail

You may even find black cows grazing  as they have been introduced to help manage the land, controlling the scrub to encourage the heather to thrive. You can walk along chalky paths or ancient sunken lanes and drove ways with the steep hedgerows filled with blackberries in the autumn. Bog ponds come and go. Scots pines, mountain ash and beech hanger woodland provide welcome shade when the midsummer sun is burning down. And it is a perfect place to star-gaze on a clear night.

 Join in with the challenge or view other ‘Which Ways’.

AWESOME

Dictionary definition: 1. extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear. 2. extremely good; excellent

People use this word so habitually that it becomes meaningless; however today I am happy to use it myself. I have been to a place in accordance with both definitions.

 mirror-lake-boulderWhat has reduced my vocabulary to a single word, uttered with a breathless wonder? I will tell you. Only a few days ago I was standing on an empty beach alongside the River Merced in the heart of Yosemite Valley, surrounded by vast slabs of granite in all directions and facing one of the world’s iconic mountains – El Capitan.

The nausea, the dizziness, the swollen ankles and shortness of breath may have been the result of mild altitude sickness – after all this valley floor is still 4,000 feet above sea level – or possibly the 4 mile hike from the village that you have to make to reach this spot if you are without a car.

Yosemite: It’s like you have arrived at the very centre of the earth, at the planet’s temple. It is strong, powerful and very moving. These rocks, those waterfalls – they came out of nothing and now stand two thousand metres high.

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I have teetered on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

I have marvelled at the balancing rocks in Marble Canyon.

I have gazed in wonder at the red sandstone hoodoos of Bryce’s Amphitheatre

and shaken my head at the craziness of climbers scaling the sheer side of Angel’s Landing in Zion.

Although each and every one of these has filled me with surprise and astonishment at the unique formation of their landscape  and sheer scale and size none have quite moved me like this place.

It doesn’t have to be Zen, but it is a place where you can breathe and be inspired.

Lens-Artists #65 | Pick a Place