It was the third week in May and after weeks of keeping to strictly local walks from home, I decided to treat myself to a 20 minute car journey from Chudleigh to Dartmoor. I knew the bluebells were still at Emsworthy Barn – they’re alway later on Dartmoor – but a drive to the Saddle Tor pull-in revealed it was packed with cars. That convinced me it would be teeming with photographers and their tripods, just as it was last year, so I drove on. It was early on a Saturday evening, and I took the road to Hound Tor instead, stopping at the pull-in opposite Holwell Lawn. There were another 2 cars and a van there – not too off-putting – and no-one seemed to be getting out of them at that point. I collected my camera and two lenses, walked over to the stile and noticed immediately that, just like last year, the bracken was considerably taller than the bluebells, making a green/blue carpet, rather than the brilliant purple/blue carpet that we used to see from the road. Time to walk beyond all of that. I crossed a couple of fields and headed for a favourite tree.
While dropping down to the tree I realised there were several people behind me, all with cameras and all walking as a rather stretched-out group. A photo workshop? Did I recognise anyone? I didn’t stop to chat, but continued my traditional anticlockwise walk around the area, with views to Rippon Tor initially, then moved across to Greator Rocks, closer to Hound Tor before looping back up the hill. The light was improving as the sun sank lower, and I had this entire section of the landscape to myself. You can click on any of the 4 images below to see a larger version.
While dropping back downhill to take the second Rippon Tor image above I met someone walking uphill with a camera and large lens, and I asked him if he was part of the group. He confirmed he was, and told me it was being run by David Clapp. I like David and have attended a couple of talks by him in the last few years. This time the group didn’t seem to be moving very much from the central area where many of the showjumping fences and equipment lie, so I guessed they were working on some specific projects and left them to it. Meanwhile the light was becoming rather gorgeous just before the sun dropped below the horizon, and I took a few more photographs before heading back.
A few days later it was 1st June and I set out for another early evening walk, back in Chudleigh, and having been dropped off once more at Beggar’s Bush I headed for that favourite green lane again. A slightly wider view from the lane across to the town shows the green of the fields and hills to have warmed and softened a little in the weeks since I’d last photographed it back in April. A comparison between this image and the one I reproduced in my last post demonstrates this quite effectively.
I wanted to head to the darker part of the lane. It’s not a holloway because it’s not a sunken lane, but it is effectively cocooned by trees for much of its length, and the effect is to turn the early evening almost into night time, until you step back outside. From my walking route this is the entrance:
Several hundred metres further along the lane widened, the trees thinned a little and more light was allowed through.
Further still I was ready to exit the lane and looked back. The tunnel of trees was very apparent.
And suddenly the lane ends and there’s a farm gate ahead. My favourite image shows the magic, for me, of this green lane, and several others. Here is a bright, impeccably neat, clump of trees acting as a seductive portal into a much darker, unexpected world.
I walked out of the gate, still not believing quite how bright it was out there, and walked left to join a minor road in the hamlet of Waddon. I think this was the point where I realised just how much everything was growing! – and how green it all was!
In the last part of this little homage to spring in my local area, I won’t stray much further from here. Thanks for reading.