The countryside around Charlton Down this April is a landscape of rolling hills covered by a brightly coloured patchwork of flowering oilseed rape fields contrasting with spring wheat, each patch separated from the next by boundaries of ancient field hedgerows and trees with branches just springing into life.
Freezing fog has lately covered all the vegetation in my village with a transparent icy coat bearing fringes of needle-like crystals. As the sun comes out to burn off the mist, the rising temperature begins to melt this hoar frost. As I walked along beside tall beech trees on one such frosty morning, an unexpected heavy rain of icy water began to fall from the thawing ice in the highest boughs, cascading down through the understorey of saplings where drops accumulated on the twigs and leaves, shining like diamonds in the low-slanting winter sun. Difficult to capture with the camera the brilliance of the eye-dazzling effect of reflections from the melt water rain and droplets.
Looking back to an autumn walk along the banks of the River Cerne near Charlton Down in Dorset, England. The bankside vegetation was just beginning to die back but was still lush. Drifts of yellowing willow leaves falling from a tree bent low over the shallow chalk stream made a dash of colour against the moss encrusted bark and grass. The grey October sky was reflected on the water ripples and made interesting patterns around a trailing stem and leaf.
I’ve been recording the changes that come with season and weather as I walk along the Cerne Valley Trail in Dorset, England. The horse chestnut tree by the stile in these photographs is a convenient marker to illustrate the transition from bare branches of winter to full foliage in summer. Already, by September, the leaves are turning brown getting ready to fall. It is not only the tree that shows the changes but the ground cover vegetation, and the crops in the fields.
The weather was very changeable but it was still a lovely spring afternoon for a walk up the hill to the barn. It is a good viewpoint up on Charlton Down, looking over the gentle rolling hills of arable farmland. I haven’t been along that path for some time and it was amazing to see the difference in the surrounding fields. The young oil-seed rape plants that I had seen as raindrop-covered seedlings last December were now hip-high and covered in clusters of faintly scented yellow flowers. The grey skies broke with the brisk breeze and clouds scudded across the blue sky, making fast-moving shadows over the rural scene. The agricultural machinery parked by the barn remain a constant while everything around changes by the moment, with the weather, and through the seasons.
It was a fine evening when I went for a stroll around half past seven. The sun was about to go down and casting the last low bright rays. Most of the beech trees have their leaves still tightly wrapped up but one tree stood out ahead of the game. Gentle light shone through the fresh leaves in a lovely yellow mosaic against the sky.