Mild weather lingers as the leaves turn golden - then the days shorten, mists smother the valley, and frosts coat the grass.
We had fine weather through most of October. The colours only started turning in earnest towards the end of the month and, because there was very little wind, they stuck around for a while. Much to my disappointment, the ponies moved out of Lake Field in November. At first we thought they might have been relocated for bonfire night (a very big, very rowdy night in Battle!), but then a sign popped up informing us that they'd done their bit for Lake Field and the National Trust was moving onto the next stage. This involved felling a patch of sycamores from the edge of Lake Field to the left of these photos. Apparently there used to be allotments here. I'm not sure when they were established or when and why they were left to overgrow, but they must have been disused for a couple of decades judging by the size of the trees.
I hope you've enjoyed this year-long photo series about Lake Field as much as I've enjoyed taking the photos. It's been interesting to see the seasonal changes wash across this one view and exciting to document the National Trust works in and around Lake Field. I certainly wasn't expecting so many changes when I began the project.
A month bookended by long weekends and packed with the beauty of spring.
We went up to Suffolk for the first May bank holiday weekend (which technically started in April, but I've put it all in the May revist because I can). It was lovely to spend time with a couple of friends, and I posted many pics of cute animals we saw, so go and look at them. Here's some birdsong recorded at the minster ruins (where we wild camped the year before) as a soundtrack.
Dan and I started summer early with a little picnic (i.e. drinking sloe gin, generously provided by one of my colleagues) in the fields out the back.
Again, heading out to take a photo from the top of Lake Field meant taking note of the hyper-local changes in seasons. These frothy white flowers (cow parsley, I think) made a pretty addition to the footpath.
We went down to check out the newly reopened and rebuilt Hastings Pier. You can see a paddleboarder at the right of the frame. I'd like to try it out one day. I think I would be terrible!
And for the other May bank holiday, we nipped off to a very local campsite for a night in the tent.
April was even busier than March - and I took loads of photos. Lucky you.
We started the month in Australia and had a couple of days in the country . . .
. . . before heading to Melbourne. I posted many photos of Melbourne at the time, but here are a few more.
Ceres, a community environment park on the Merri Creek, featuring gardens, chooks, cafe, nursery, green energy projects and more.
And then, all too soon, we returned to the UK - which put on quite a welcome with this sunrise!
We got back as lambing season began and we had the most amazing experience of seeing a sheep give birth in the field beside the footpath on the South Downs. We watched the newborn lamb almost manage to get up on its wobbly little legs, then the farmers came and whisked ewe and lamb away - presumably somewhere they could keep an eye on them.
The springing of spring also meant lots of foragables coming into season. I posted a sorrel recipe and a few other things also made it onto our table.
But it wasn't all sunshine and wildflowers. Towards the end of the month there was a light smattering of snow on the South Downs. Chilly!
The last days of April were part of the May Day bank holiday, which we spent with friends in Suffolk - but I'll post more about that next time.
Seaside, countryside, bush.
The month started with a visit to Margate with our friend. It was a gorgeous day - bright and windy - and we enjoyed our walk around the town and along the coast. One day I'd like to go back and hire bikes to cycle around to Broadstairs on the Viking Coastal Trail.
Notes from Lake Field. After the daffodils beginning to bud in February, the crocuses burst through, letting us know that spring really was on the way.
Then it was off to Australia for a week in the bush (end of March) and a week in town (start of April). I wrote about our time in the country in what I think is my favourite post of 2016: Australia (Part 1: Country). I took so many photos in Australia, and shared a lot of them in my posts at the time. But here are a couple of new ones for you - an eastern spinebill and a red-browed finch.
I'll post some more city pictures from our visit to Melbourne next time.
P.S. I really like reading "year in review" posts, so please hit me up with your links in the comments.
A recap and some photos that didn't make it to my blog at the time . . .
As I mentioned in my January revisit, heading outside a couple of times a week to take photos of the view from Lake Field meant that I paid closer attention to other details. Frost on the seed heads of flowers, months after they finished blooming. The first daffodils, almost ready to blossom. I tried to convince myself that spring was on the way!
Also in February, we went for a three day walk on the Grand Union Canal. I posted quite a few photos of our trip, but never got around to sharing the little videos I took of mist and reflections on the water.
I hope these pretty scenes inspire you (and me, let's be honest!) to get outside this winter.
Over the coming weeks, I'll share a few bits and pieces from 2016 that didn't make it online at the time. Mostly it's a good motivator to get around to editing all my photos!
Getting my camera out to take a photo of Lake Field every week also encouraged me to notice the details near our house as the seasons changed. These apples stuck around on the tree through January and into February.
Dan's folks came down for a day and we enjoyed a shimmering afternoon by the sea. This is the view from Galley Hill in Bexhill, looking east towards Hastings in the pastel glow of the late afternoon sun.
We go walking most months with a local group, part of HRRA. In January we went for a (very short) walk at Camber Sands, near Rye. The first two photos are taken looking east, towards Hastings but from the other direction. Please be warned that the third photo is the corpse of a calf which had washed up on the beach.
We spent a weekend in Chichester, which I wrote about at the time. Here is a photo from the misty Saturday morning.
What are your plans for this winter? I'm looking forward to a trip to Norfolk and hopefully another walking weekend along the Grand Union Canal.
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