sculpture the seaside the South townscapes

A Week in Cornwall – Part 3 -St Ives

When holidaying in Cornwall in the summer of 2018 we planned to visit St Ives as we had enjoyed it so much when we visited decades ago. We loved the seafront, quayside, the quaint streets full of art galleries some being working galleries and the garden and workshop of our best female sculptor of all time, Barbara Hepworth. And of course we mustn’t forget the wonderful Tate St Ives, a wonderful piece of architecture housing incredible artworks.


These photos were taken in a way to avoid the crowds. St Ives had become a busy crowded little seaside town and we were greatly disappointed. But at least the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and Garden did live up to our expectations and match our memories.


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Southwold – a seaside town with added flair!

Southwold has been recommended to us as a seaside place worth a visit a few times so when we found ourselves just 20 or so miles away we simply had to go and see what made Southwold so special.

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We parked the car right in front of the pier as a suitable parking space presented itself and on opening the doors we were greeted by the sound of the song “The Good Ship Lollipop” being broadcast rather too loudly! This was to be the first of several surprises to come!

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The pier was full of such surprises none more impressive than the metalwork pieces along its length beginning appropriately with the gateway. To follow were seat arms of metal eels, two rather “Heath Robinsonesque” creations, a clock and a telescope.

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On the back wall of the main entrance building this huge mural is a tribute to writer George Orwell to whom Southwold was home during various periods of his life. Liz Ewing describes Southwold as “…… a place he returned to time and time again,to study, to work, to write, to paint, to fall in love and to convalesce”.

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Walking the promenade afforded wide sweeping views of long sandy beaches and looking out to sea the rather beautiful sculptural village of wind turbines.

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From the end of the pier we spotted another favourite seaside feature, a row of beach huts, for which Southwold is famous, but this is the subject of another post all about the seaside at Southwold (published 22\11\2016) . Here are a couple to whet your appetite!

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Back to search for other aspects of this interesting little seaside town that is Southwold, we wandered very slowly away from the pier towards the old town itself.

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Leaving the bright plastic of beach toys behind us we discovered these interesting little garden cameos with nautical hints, and also an inland lighthouse of all things. This strange and extremely tall building was hundreds of yards from the sea itself and hidden in the back gardens of the village cottages. Strange! You will spot it snuggled into the town centre in one of my pics below.

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After being surprised by the beauty of the pier and the beach huts were then delighted to find an equally beautiful little town.

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It appears that at one time in the past Southwold was a busy productive little settlement with its own brewery, distillery and cottage industries. Today the brewery remains integrated into the village with its premises nestled among the shops and cottages.

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There was obvious pride in this lovely little place with community spirit riding high and a very warm welcome for its visitors.

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We left the inland secrets of Southwold behind and ambled back along the promenade looking out over the beach and the sea itself, a perfect end to a day of finding a new favourite place. A great discovery!

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Walking the New Forest – part two

We will continue our walk where we left off at the end of part one of “Walking the New Forest”.

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We left the old Oak behind crossed a clearing and followed a pathway through Beech trees as we aimed for an old wooden gate.

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The gateway afforded us views of an open area with few trees and most of those were now of Birch, our native Betula pendula.

Ferns within the wooded area tended to be the Hard Fern variety but once out in the more open and much drier heathland the main ferns were our common Bracken. The Bracken was showing signs of changing into its autumn coat but the Hard Fern is an evergreen and keeps its leathery deep green coloured fronds.

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We took an indistinct path which led us diagonally towards a little wooden bridge which enabled us to cross a ditch. As we crossed wet muddy patches we found signs of life, bicycle tracks left by previous human visitors and prints of deer

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Crossing the footbridge we aimed for a distant stand of brightly coloured Silver Birches.

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Leaving the heathland behind we crossed over a gravel track that led to a forestry worker’s house and entered a new inclosure of forest. The trees here started off as a selection of mixed deciduous native trees, but before too long conifers crept in. Slowly these dark pines took over completely and we found ourselves walking in dark woodland. Little grew beneath these trees as they blocked out the sunlight. The fresh smell of our native broadleaves was replaced by a resinous aroma reminiscent of pine household cleaners. Less inviting a smell than the warming and welcome scents of our native broadleaves.

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The path we were following suddenly met a crossroads where a clearing allowed more light through to reach us and the forest floor. Foxgloves appeared both as first year rosettes of leaves preparing to flower next year and as seed heads, the remains of this years flowers and the promise of more Foxgloves to come.

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We looked up from the bench where we sat enjoying our coffee break and noticed the bright leaves of Sweet Chestnuts and beneath them we discovered their nuts, nut cases and fallen leaves. We were entertained by the loud noise of rutting stags roaring through trees and the gentler sounds of the diminutive Goldcrests high in the branches of the conifers.

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The final leg of our walk took us along forestry tracks through the conifers and then back into the brighter world of native deciduous trees.

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Just before finding the car park we passed alongside a line of huge conifers blown down in strong winds, a line of destruction.

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We really enjoyed our first experience of the world of the New Forest. We had plenty more planned for our break.

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The Gardens of the RHS Part 2 – Sculpture at Wisley

We were in luck when we visited Wisley – a sculpture exhibition was taking place throughout the gardens, with sculptures of all styles positioned with great sensitivity. We didn’t like them all but that is what art is all about. If we all liked the same pieces it would be a boring art world.

Here is a selection of those we enjoyed.

First figures ……………….

Then couples ……………..

The simple and amazingly beautiful!

And last but far from least the downright cute!

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Images of Savill.

Savill Garden is a special places. Wandering around, its paths leads you to surprises, gentle places, sudden views and unexpected delights.

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The Winter Garden at The Savill Garden

For our second post about the Savill Gardens we shall discover the colours, shapes and textures of the Winter Garden. Although planted with winter interest in mind when we explored in the autumn it was full of interest.

The third and final visit to the Savill Gardens will feature a selection of images from around the gentle walk we took through these stunning gardens. We had looked forward to visiting these gardens for years and when we finally did we were not disappointed in any way.

autumn autumn colours colours garden design garden photography gardening gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs photography the South trees

The Savill Garden in October

At last we have got around to visiting the Savill Garden. It was worth waiting for! The new visitor reception is an amazing building, a single storey space under a long, sinuous roof shaped like the tail of a Whale.

Looking up at the wonderful reception building.
Looking down into the garden from the reception building.

The Savill Garden is situated on the edge of Great Windsor Park and is just a small part of the Royal Landscape. We followed the recommended path around the garden so that we could see the effects of Autumn throughout.

In most areas of the garden, Savill had the typical look and feel of a stately home garden, both in plants grown, choice of design features and border arrangements, but hints of newer thinking were showing through, such as the use of grasses and new perennial plantings.

A true highlight of our visit to the Savill Gardens was the surprise at coming across this modern water feature. It looked good and it sounded good.

Although we visited the gardens at Savill in the Autumn one of the most colourful areas was the Winter Garden, already showing many interesting features. So the next post will be about the winter Garden in Autumn.

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Go South 7 – Nymans

This is the last of my “Go South” posts and as promised it features a garden. Well after all those coastal posts in this series it was only a matter of time before we visited a garden. And boy what a garden it was!

Nymans was created by one of the great supporters of the English plant collectors and it shows in the variety of plants and in the difficulty in identifying some of them.

Nymans is a garden to delight any plantsman who will leave with a list of must-haves. It will also make any good gardener desire his very own areboretum just to plant the rare and special trees spotted at Nymans.

I am not a great fan of coniferous evergreens but these three display diversity in their foliage colour and in their structure and shape.

In the shade of deciduous trees the shapes of their trunks are revealed.

Walking around this varied and surprising garden is like walking through the pages of a good book on garden design. Here you can find every principle of design shown in all its glory. Any gardener, whatever the size of their garden could adapt ideas to be found on a walk about at Nymans.

Framing a view …..

Using a structure to invite you onwards ….

Planting in trios ………………..

Drawing the eye …………

Using structures as an invitation and to support plants to provide shade from the sun ……………

Much of the house belonging to the gardens at Nymans is now in ruins, but they somehow suit the garden. They provide a good foil for planting.

The ruins provided some oportunities to photograph little details and patterns.

But the gardens of Nymans aren’t all about big views and big trees. Richly coloured traditionally proportioned double herbaceous borders excite the eye of the visitor.

There was so much to see at Nymans that another post will appear soon.

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David Nash at Kew Gardens – Part 1

Can you have a better day than this? Outdoor sculpture collection with one of the world’s best exponents – David Nash. The only World Heritage Site that is a garden – Kew. And the best company possible – Jude and our four kids (we started off with two but they each gained another).

And here they are (well just four of them) taking a break in the Temperate House. Apart from Jude and Sam we are all camera-toters so it is impossible to get a pic of us all together as there is always at least one left somewhere composing their artistic endeavours.

We drove down to London in drizzle and mist – a miserable journey through beautiful countryside we couldn’t see, but after a night’s rest in a comfy hotel room we met our four kids in the White Peaks Cafe just inside the world of Kew. The day was a great improvement over yesterday but as we left the car our ears were subjected to the cacophony of noise made by the parakeets now dominating the parks of the capital. They do not fit here at all. Our native Jays in their subtle outfits of pink and blue were much more in keeping.

Lattes and lemonades safely stored away we followed the Kew App that sent us on the trail of the collection of David Nash pieces. It was over a year since we had seen his retrospective exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park so we were more than ready to appreciate his work again.

Two of my favourite pieces were created from strips of cork oak bark, a huge cone in the conservatory and a low dome out in the open.

As with much of his work there is beauty in the details.

Suddenly I was presented with a sighting of a wonderful juxtaposition.

So another amazing exhibition of the work of David Nash. I wonder when we shall be treated to his next?

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Go South 6 – Old Hastings

We all have favourite seaside venues, our favourite sandy beach, favourite, fish and chip cafes, favourite harbour etc. If we were asked we would go for the quietest beaches or the oldest, most interesting harbours. A secret beach on Anglesey, Bamborough or Dungeness would satisfy the first, but there would be a few contenders for the second such as Whitby, Mousehole and the feature of this post – Old Hastings.

Think of Old Hastings and a picture forms in the mind of a busy beach cluttered with fishing boats and their gear and friendly fishermen who enjoy and even invite visitors to wander around taking photographs. This shingle beach area with its fishing boats and net shops is known as “The Stade”.

We arrived to see and hear a violent noisy sea crashing in waves against the shingle beach and the walls of the harbour. But the sun appeared and this made the occasional shower less bothersome. We began by exploring the “Stades”, wandering in between the “net shops” the tall, black-painted clapper boarded sheds built to dry fishing nets. They have a special beauty and a character all of their own.

Across the road an imaginative architect and builder had created an apartment block that reflected the Stades’s net shops but looked modern. Most impressive!

But what is a fishing village without its boats?

As usual my camera and I were attracted to little details.