The river banks along the Cerne near Charlton Down are almost impenetrable with thick mid-summer vegetation, dominated by the pink flowers of Great Willow Herb and the invasive Himalayan Balsam, as the adjacent fields have been stripped bare and ploughed after the barley harvest.
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.
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.
Everything looks different on a country walk seen in late evening light. Budding horse chestnut trees with fast-opening sticky buds and crumpled new leaves are silhouetted against the clear moonlit sky. White blackthorn blossoms in the hedgerows and rows of cut maize stubble reflect the last rays of the sun. Blue-green shoots of spring wheat can still be made out in the fields as the sun disappears; and trees by the stream retain a faint glow when the sun finally goes down. In the quiet of the dusk, the burbling of the river mingles with birdsong and the dark surface water riffles and eddies over beds of water crowfoot as it makes its way downstream.
A walk in very mixed January weather along muddy lanes, through arable countryside with freshly ploughed and green planted fields divided by clipped hedges. Rain and hail from dark clouded skies, and occasional shafts of sunlight, slant over low rolling hills trimmed by bare-branched trees. The local river full to the brim and flowing fast with turbulent waters, escaping into channels that once fed the old mill and water meadows. White fleeced sheep with pink noses feed near the old derelict barn.