Benington Lordship, Hertfordshire, England

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The Benington Lordship historic Georgian manor house,  Gardens, and the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle, is located just east of Stevenage, and around 35 miles north of London, in the picturesque village of Benington, in the county of Hertfordshire.

The garden at Benington Lordship are open at various times of the year, the snowdrop walks throughout the grounds are particularly popular towards the end of wintertime.

Visit the Benington Lordship website for more information. Click Here

2017 British F1 Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton - Winner 2017 British F1 Grand PrixIt was 25 years ago since I last visited the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire for a British F1 Grand Prix. On deciding to return this year to capture some images, I remembered from way back then that the Friday practice day was quieter and with the general roaming access gave plenty of freedom to move around the circuit.

In 1992 I used an Olympus OM4Ti film camera and took around 60 images. This time with the Nikon D7200 I amassed a total on 649 images (Pre-editing).

Choosing the Friday appeared to be a good choice, with the Saturday practice and qualifying a wet and dull day, and of course, the main race day packed to the hilt. The other benefit was that I could watch the Grand Prix at home, in full. Was good to see Lewis Hamilton from Stevenage win the day and take P1.

 

A selection of the images can be seen here.  Silverstone 2017

 

St Pauls Walden Bury

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St. Paul's Walden Bury, situated in the village of St Pauls Walden in North Hertfordshire, this stately home and garden is the said birthplace and childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Dating back to the 18th century, St Pauls Walden Bury has been the home of the Bowes-Lyon family dating back to 1720.

The Grade 1 listed garden covers around 50 acres and was recently open as part of the  National Open Garden Scheme. Visits to the garden are generally by appointment with more information available on the St Pauls Walden Bury website.

 

St Pauls Walden Bury - Hertfordshire Statue and Garden   

East Coast Sunset

Sunset to the East

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While the East coast and Norfolk may provide some great sunrise image, the area is not known for it’s sunsets over the sea so much, due to facing the wrong direction.

Sunset in the eastIt is said you can catch a sunset from Cromer pier, but there are one or two places that actually provide excellent sunsets over the open sea. The beaches of Hunstanton and Heacham are special  in that they are westerly facing over the Wash and hence provide great sunsets.

Hs2Towards Old Hunstanton up past the lighthouse there is parking available and a walkway down to the beach where great views can be had out over the wash.  The striking colour striped cliffs also provide great opportunities.

East Sunset

Ready for Garden Photography

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For 2016 I decided to put more of an effort into growing the plants and flower with photography in mind. Subject matter including Cosmos, Coreopsis,
Pots in GreenhouseOsteospermum and rudbeckia to name a few. Seeds sown and some plug plants ordered and the greenhouse from February full to the brim. The dark winter nights and cold weather took its time to pass but those seedlings and plant carried on growing.

With Spring came the Tulips, Daffodils, Snowdrops and Crocus and it was soon time to venture out in the garden with the camera to start capturing some of that colour, while those small plants in the greenhouse kept on grown.
garden-camBy the end of April things started to look a bit drab again, but the warmer weather hit, that late tulips bloomed and the grass got its first cut of the year and the garden now looks a lot tidier.

Into may those seedlings are now looking healthy and during mid may the first Cosmos start to bud and a few are moved out into the garden and they have survived the few colder nights. The third week of may see the Cosmos starting to flower, small flowers bu  t homegrown small flowers, Marigolds are flowering
Pink Cosmosand the blue of the forget me nots and filling the garden.

For the wildlife, this too is providing subject matter for garden photography, the pond is looking good, fish are healthy, and not bothered by the many birds visiting the waters edge for a drink and a splash, although the visit from a couple of ducks did stir things up a bit. The frogs have been, although the spawn and tadpoles did not fair well in the  cold and ice that came afterwards. Of the three nest boxes one pair of blue tits having taken up home are raising their young. Other bird visitors include Robins, Song Thrushes, Magpies, and Wrens.

Some extra space had been provided for some taller flowers and hopefully in the next few weeks the colour should start to really show, and with the flowers hopefully the butterfly’s, bees and other insects will make more visits to our Hertfordshire garden. Now the weeds are fighting back, the grass growing fast, shrubs and trees are in blossom and summer is almost here and hopefully during the summer months, there will be plenty of  opportunities for garden photography both home grown specimens and fauna visiting the garden.

 

Sunset up on the Downs

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With the sky looking particularly detailed with stormy clouds and coming up to sunset I decided to take the 20 mile drive up to the Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire. What seemed to be quite a decent evening in Hitchin turned out to be a freezing cold wind on top of the downs.

Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire, England

Situated close to the M1 (Luton), the downs part of the Chiltern Hills are easily assessable and there is plenty of parking available. Views from the downs are pretty impressive over Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire.

Dunstable Downs

The chalk hills of the downs offer plenty of walks, grassland for picnics and kite flying. They are well used with plenty of visitors, various aerial sports take place on and over the downs, gliding, hang gliding. The visitor centre serves food, drinks and more and offers great views from the top of the downs.

Dunstable Downs

 

For location and direction see the Google Map link here – Dunstable Downs

For more information on the downs, walks and events see the National Trust website here.

Out in the town

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Fairlands Lakes Stevenage

Robin at Fairlands Lakes, Stevenage - VisartA crisp cold morning called for a walk around the Fairlands lakes in the middle of Stevenage herts. Although smack bang in the middle of the town, when walking around it felt like you was in the middle of the countryside.

A frosty morning, and the ground frozen making it easier to walk around without getting caked in mud.

 

The wildlife here at the Fairlands Lakes, surprised me with many different birds (I was expecting the usual Ducks and Geese). A short walk gave visibility to Jays, Woodpeckers, Moorhens, Coots, Bullfinch, Cormorants, Grebes, ducks, Geese and a posing Robin. The most surprising to see was a Muntjac, ambling along the waters edge in broad daylight. Although the muntjac soon scuttled off into the undergrowth, when a camera was pointed at it.

Grebe - Vistart

 

 

 

 

 

The lakes have become quite established over the years, and provide an excellent place for a short walk. There is a cafe on site to provide refreshment.

Fairlands Lakes can be found on the map link here.
Frosty Thistle - Visart

Jordans Mill, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.

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floralA heritage attraction, with a lot to offer. The mill itself, quality gardens, restaurant and cafe. A walk around the gardens provides many opportunities for photos, with an abundance of flowers, crops, plants.

The bees especially tend to love this place. The bright colours of the Rudbeckia can provide some great macro shots of the bees. The mill itself is an impressive old building and even the large vintage diesel engine in the courtyard add to the opportunities. The restaurant provide meals, snacks and hot drinks at a good quality and not bad value. Parking is free and ample.

View Jordans Mill Website

Jordans Mill – Google Maps