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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Map

Flickr map showing location of all the photos taken so far...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45397658@N08/sets/72157623336062322/map?&fLat=51.113&fLon=0.4888&zl=9&order_by=recent

Kings Wood

In stark contrast to yesterday the weather today was pretty mingin, rain and fog being the order of the day.  Not such a big problem for me but my camera is a little more delicate so I was reluctant to introduce it to the deluge that was battering Kings Wood, a 1500 acre forest near Ashford.

What tempted me to risk blown circuits and an expensive repair bill from Sony was the fact that local artists from the Stour Valley Arts group have been invited to create sculptures within the forest...













I only managed to see a couple of the installations before I headed back to the dry comfort of my car, however I fully intend to head back here as soon as the weather improves a bit!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Trosley Country Park

Awesome weather as I once again headed out into the North Downs today.  Despite the warm weather, the paths through the park were just a tad slushy making the tracks on the steep chalk slopes somewhat of a death trap.  Nevertheless, the views offered were simply breathtaking.



From the park I slowly made my way down the slope, following the "Coldrum Trail" heading for the main target of the day, the Coldrum Stones, a Neolithic Long Barrow, situated just outside the village of Trottiscliffe. 






Along the way I passed some ancient looking farm equipment, of which I didn't manage to get any decent pics as before I had the chance I was ushered away by a suspicious farmer...
I did however mange to get a pic of the ancient Church of St Peter and St Paul built between 1077 and 1107 by Bishop Gundolph of Rochester.  Today the Church stands amoungst farm buildings and I used one of these to frame my shot...

Not far from the Church was my ultimate destination, the Coldrum Stones.  After my visit to Kits Coty last weekend I was interested to see what condition this site was in and I wasn't dissapointed.  A wooden fence surrounds the site but this doesn't really get in the way or ruin the atmosphere as much as the big iron railings in place at Kits Coty. 

Hanging from the trees around the site were little trinkets and ribbons which helped create a real air of mystery to the place.


















Trying to be a little creative by framing the Coldrum Stones with one of the many wreaths hanging from the trees.






Today, the long barrow looks a bit different to how it would of done 4000 years ago when it was built, however it is reasonably well preserved, especially when compared to the other "Medway Megaliths". 


How the barrow would of looked...

After the stones all that was left was a long, uphill drag back to the car, definately a lot easier coming down than going up...After the stones all that was left was a long, uphill drag back to the car, definately a lot easier coming down than going up...
So that was Trosley Country Park, probably my fave place so far on "the tour".  Next up... not sure yet...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Blue Bell Hill

Last year I decided to take a trip to Stonehenge, a site I had driven past a few times but never had the chance to stop at and spend any real time viewing the place. It was a long drive from Worcester but filled with the anticipation of what would be a mysterious and interesting place, the journey went by in a flash. Once there, all my preconceived notions of this place as being perhaps magical were shattered almost instantly. The stones were roped off, a roaring road passed close by and issued with distracting audio tapes blasting info into my ears I found it impossible to soak up what little atmosphere there was.

I had higher expectations for the somewhat closer (and somewhat more modest) Neolithic stones located on Blue Bell Hill - Kits Coty House, The Countless Stones and The White Horse Stone, three sites that make up part of the Medway Megaliths.

This group of megaliths are the only examples of megalithic structures to be found in the east of England and the only example of megalithic sarsen stone use to be found outside of Stonehenge/Salisbury Plain.

First up was Kits Coty House, located about halfway down Blue Bell Hill, a short walk from the Blue Bell Hill Picnic Site (No.28) at the top of the hill. At the site stands the remains of a Neolithic Long Barrow (a type of burial monument) that dates back to around 2500 BC. The Long Barrow itself as well as at least one other stone has long since been destroyed, however what remains is quite impressive. Three standing stones about 7ft high support a large capstone, making for what would have been a grand entrance to the long barrow chamber.

In addition to burial uses, sites such as this are believed to have served as territorial markers, landmarks for navigation and as meeting places.

Unfortunately the site is tightly fenced off meaning that no view or photograph of the megalith is possible without the railings getting in the way. However, compared to Stonehenge, the area was relatively peaceful and I encountered just one other person all the while I was there.




After taking a few shots I headed down the hill to Little Kits Coty House or the Countless Stones (so named as apparently it's not possible for two people to count the stones and come up with the same number).

Whilst not as impressive as Kits Coty due mainly to the fact that the Megalith has long since collapsed, I still found Little Kits Coty to be an inspiring and thought provoking place. Access here was still fenced but not nearly as tightly as at Kits Coty and if you ignore the huge electricity pylon standing nearby it is easy to imagine Neolithic communities meeting here in a simpler, less hectic time!




The third site I visited was a short hope across the A229 and into Westfield Wood where I found the White Horse Stone. Standing alone at the edge of a field, this stone is not associated with a long barrow and it is thought that it may have just been placed here by a farmer! Interestingly, in 2004 a religious group called the Odinic Rite began a campaign to prevent mobile phone company Orange from building a phone mast close to the site. Orange failed in its application and the site remains untouched (apart from the nearby High Speed 1...).

I've become quite interested in these sites and I'm planning to make Trosley Country Park (No.30) my next stop to take in the Coldrum Stones situated there as wells as Addington and Chestnuts Long Barrows which are situated nearby.




    

Thursday, 11 February 2010

This...

 ...is what happens when 26 year olds start running around like 6 year olds. After leaping (gazelle like) over a number of fences, it was the final hurdle separating me from my car that got me, resulting in one pair of ruined combats and a nasty barbed wire induced gouge on my thigh. So this is what’s meant by suffering for your art.

Still, the camera survived and my girlfriend is currently doing a fashion blog so no doubt she can find me a suitable replacement pair...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Next up

So, last weekend was a mixed bag. Toys Hill was fun with lots of interesting things to shoot but I was a tad disappointed with Bough Beech. The lack of access down to the waters edge at the reservoir was frustrating to say the least, though it did allow me to unleash my inner rebel and jump a few fences at the expense of my trousers!

This coming weekend the tour continues although available time is slightly cut by an impending trip to London on Saturday. With that in mind I'm going to keep it close to home and head up to the Bluebell Hill Picnic Site (No. 28) on the Sunday. In addition to some great views from the top of the Downs I'm aiming to visit and shoot my newest subject of interest - The Medway Megaliths, some of which (Kits Coty House, The Countless Stones and The Coffin Stone) are to be found in this area. I've had my head buried in Wikipedia articles about the Megaliths and earlier this week even ventured into Maidstone Library to take copies from the reference books there (geeky I know!), so yea, some detailed info should accompany the pics.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Bough Beech Reservoir


Bough Beech Reservoir, originally uploaded by G-andy.

Home to over two hundred different species of bird (of which I managed to photograph none...), Bough Beech Reservoir was created in the 60's and today is a popular spot for sailing and fishing. Access to the waters edge is a bit tricky but after a bit of a mooch about, a jumped fence and ripped pair of trousers later I got close enought to find this old dinghy.

Not the best shot ever but better than the rest I took that day!