The Ashdown Forest in Pictures
I currently live in Danehill, on the outskirts of the Ashdown Forest, and ever since I have had a mode of transport I have been going up onto the Forest to explore. It is unusually as it has no single ‘wow’ view point or iconic feature that everyone swarms too, aside from Winnie the Pooh landmarks of course, but instead has a fantastic array of scenes & wildlife to witness!
Back in Autumn 2019 I was thinking about how, even though I had lived near and walked on the Forest for eleven years, I hadn’t actually photographed it much at all! The Forest can be very bleak, what with it’s open land, gorse bushes and clay soil, so doesn’t fit in with the typical scenes I like to photograph, which are often colourful, interesting and highlight the beauty in nature. I wanted to challenge myself and after a few more walks with Doug, my jack russell, I decided it would be interesting to document the Forest through the four seasons.
I also thought it would also be great to produce the body of work as an exhibition, celebrating the Forest! This idea is still something I came keen to explore, once the project is finished, and the prospect of this has pushed me on a photographic level and a personal level, especially as I have had an excuse to explore new walks and find new areas on the Forest.
As of February 2020, the project is going really well and I am very pleased with the photos I have to date. I have explored new walks, studied more about the history of the Forest and met many walkers along the way! The Summer of 2019 seemed to go by in the flash so I have no photos of the Forest during this time, mainly as I got distracted with my wedding photography and the beauty of other areas of the countryside (!) but I hope to fill this gap in the project later in the year.
I have included the best of my work below and have grouped the photos to make them easier to view.
Those that have been following my work for a while will know I love rural life and I hope this project will sit along side the rest of my countryside and country life portfolio.
Print copies of these photos are available upon request and do keep your eyes and ears out for a future announcement regarding an Exhibition of this project. Please do ‘follow’ me on social media as I will definitely be promoting any major news.
If you see me out and about, with or without Doug, my jack russell (you can’t miss his big ears, spots and weariness of big dogs!), then do say hello.
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Comparison - A Year on from the Fire
I was really keen to document how the Forest looked a year on from the fire that I documented in 2019. I visited the same spots and have bought the photos together so you can compare the scenes!
While there was plenty of devastation, there are signs of the gorse, heather and holly all reestablishing themselves and the bracken and grasses quickly regenerated themselves last year! It will be interesting to see how the scenes look next year and I will try and add to these images once again.
Autumn 2019 - Video recorded (to come)
Autumn 2019 - Series
In Autumn 2019 I found myself returning to three scenes again and again and these became real favourites, as they changed so much over the weeks and also from whether I photographed them in the morning, midday or afternoon sunshine, along with whether there was clear skies, sunny spells or rain (I got caught out!).
This collection of images is something I really enjoyed taking and I am looking forward to capturing them again, as spring arrives in 2020.
Snow & Frost 2019
Forest Fire on 26th February 2019
My Dad was gardening up at Danehill Church when he spotted a lot of smoke in the direction of the Forest, just before he came home for lunch. Upon the news I thought I would take a stab and see where abouts the fire was, which was a great decision as the afternoon that ensued was something I’ll never forget!
The fire was working its way across the fire, roughly from Tree Car Park in the direction of Churlwood Car Park (not specifically). The fire fighters did a fantastic job in challenging winds, on a very warm February day, and by sunset the flames had all been up out. As they were driving around to check the embers were not going to reignite in any spots they told me to not stick around among the smoke due to smoke inhalation and I decided it was a good time to head home.
The following morning I was up on the Forest for the sunrise as I knew there was one tree stump that, if it was still smolder, would be sending smoke across a scene looking up to the amazing pines that can be spotted/accessed from Long, Reservoir and Churlwood Car Parks. Thankfully everything came together and I took the panoramic you can see in this Collection, which I feel is one of my best photos from my project so far.