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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

A Winter Walk Around Charlecote Park.


A love my Winters, wrapping up warm and going for walks with the crunch beneath you feet as you walk over the frost, the dramatic sunrises and sunsets that are often pink against the white ground and the open views across the landscape through the bare trees. Every season has it's wonders and Winter is no different.


There is something about the white snow or frost scenery that changes people. It's like their eyes are wide open, seeing the picture before you for the first time. I think we all revert a little to the child inside us when we see a pretty white landscape before us. It really does transform you into a Winter Wonderland.


Winter has been in short supply this year. It's been a very strange few months with plants and flowers growing far too early, some which should not have flowered until June have flowered in early January. I really thought we were going to bypass Winter straight to Spring this year but then the temperatures dropped and last weekend I woke up to a blanket of snow on the ground. Very excitedly I packed my camera and off down the Fosse Way to Charlecote I went. The excitement didn't last as the closer to Charlecote I got, the greener it was. I swear Charlecote has it's very own weather system! Having travelled to Charlecote I stayed anyway and had a lovely walk but I also felt cheated. More so when I got home and all the snowy photos started appearing in my Facebook and Twitter feed. 


Then Wednesday came and what a beautiful morning. My car was frosted over and it was also misty. There was no way Charlecote would escape this frost!  I packed the camera again, headed off on my school run and then straight to Charlecote for a little walk. I was not going to miss a frosty morning like this as I didn't know when we would get another one. This time, the closer I got to Charlecote the whiter it got and the thicker the mist became. Perfect and it wasn't even an early start! 

Through this blog I will share my frosty walk with you. It's never as good as being there but I think it's the next best thing. The first view I saw was looking through the mist across the Paddock towards the River Avon.  This is always a stunning view at any time of day but more so during the Winter when covered with frost or snow.


You couldn't see much when I first arrived but what you could was beautiful. I always think mist adds a little mistery to a picture and I love watching it lift. It's like the curtain going up before a play revealing the view behind it.


I followed the Avon until it met the River Dene, then up over the old Slaughter Bridge into West Park.


Slaughter Bridge sits so well in the Capability Brown landscape and makes a perfect picture what ever the weather or time of day.


One of the views across the River Dene towards West Park. Somewhere behind that mist and clouds the Sun is trying to come out!


Trees look glorious in the Summer but magnificent in the Winter when you can see their true shape.


Perfect reflections in the River Dene. Of course the perfect frost or snow photos are always against a bright blue sky but you enjoy what nature provides you with and personally, I love mist mornings. Blue sky comes later in the day :)


The view as I crossed Slaughter Bridge. The mist is just starting to lift a little.


                                                            Towards the River Avon.


A few frosty pictures of Slaughter Bridge itself.







From there I followed the River again. This area is part of the Deer Sanctuary and not open to visitors but I have special permission to go into this area to photograph it so I that can share my photos with you. 


A beautiful view of Charlecote with an untouched frosty grass.


    But not for long....I blinked and there before me were 'Frost Circles'. How did that happen???



Here is a picture I managed to take just before I blinked! Adam the ranger caught in action!


This week Adam is leaving Charlecote and I know he will be missed by many. I wish him all the best in his new adventure.






I followed the Dene around the Orchard and up the bank towards the Heronry taking in the views as I walked. 


                  Looking across the Dene towards the house and outbuildings.



Reflections are just stunning at this time of year even in the mist.


 Where the River Dene meets the River Avon.


This is one of my favourite views of Slaughter Bridge, looking back from the Orchard.


The mist had started to clear a little by now and you could see some of the textured sky.



I followed the bank of the River Avon often looking back as I walked, not wanting to miss any of the views.






The higher up the hill I got into West Park, the more impressive the view.



The start of the Heronry.


Just as I reach the furthest part of the Heronry, I always stop and take in the view. I can never decide which view I like best, looking up the river or down. Both views I love and this day they were even more special. Reflections here are amazing!





And again looking back towards the house. I love this view!


I then cut through the avenue to where the deer were all in a neat line eating what was left of their morning feed. For those who have not read my blogs before. The deer get a little help through the Winter from the Rangers who go out every morning to feed them. This is done just through the Winter months before the grass starts to grow again. 


Deer lose so much weight during the Rutt and can struggle to put it back on. This feed helps replace some of what they have lost and helps them get through the Winter. 










 I usually stay as quiet as I can when close to the deer not to spook them but Wednesday was very different and I was really surprised with what happened. I had planned to get a few landscape photos only and as I had recorded the deer in the frost earlier this Winter, I wasn't too worried if I didn't get many photos of them. Anyway to cut a long story short, I was singing, yes singing! I was happy to have a frosty morning and I was singing  'Baby it's cold outside' and to my utter astonishment, the deer all looked up and allowed me to get quite close to them for a change. Not even the females ran so I carried on singing and they all stayed exactly where they were! All I can say is that it was a good job the park wasn't open yet! There I was in West Park singing to the deer and they liked it......well either they liked it or they were that shocked by my voice they couldn't move! I am so pleased no one heard me.... apart from the deer of course! Now I am not suggesting you start singing to the animals at all. It was just one of those funny surprising moments :) 










I really like the next picture. I might print it and put it up in my office!


Nothing like a little motherly love. Cleaning frost from her daughters ears. Luckily the deer have their Winter coats on so stay warmer in this weather than we do!



By the way, the song I was singing was the 'Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews' version  of 'Baby it's Cold outside' :)  


Lime Avenue


 A quick step back between the trees gave me this view. A frosty Lime Avenue.




I didn't walk through Lime Avenue as I knew it was off limits due to work needed on some of the trees. I  headed up towards the footpath and followed that back to slaughter Bridge admiring the beautiful landscape as I walked.


















I love the ever changing view of  Charlecote house as you walk around the park.








As I got closer to Slaughter Bridge I noticed the park team hard at work.  They are in the process of laying new tracks through Charlecote as the old ones were starting to disappear.


'Adam, master of the spade!' Sorry Adam, had to be shared :)


A frosty cold morning and Adam is out in short sleeves!!



Nothing like a little team effort! 


Still in West Park I followed the River Dene further before heading back over the bridge into the main park area. 




My very own ice skating ring and yes I did cross it :)


I wanted to go and see the sheep but the mist was nearly gone and the Sun was coming out. I knew I had to be quick before all the frost had gone. It disappeared quickly in some areas once the Sun was out but I still managed to take a few shots of areas that were a little more shaded.


Again beautiful reflections. Winter should be re-named 'Reflections' season!



If we get another Frost I will start in Hill Park and get the Jacob sheep for you too.



This view has changed so much from when I first arrived!





The Parterre still shaded by the house from the Sun.











Unfortunately I didn't reach Hill Park before the Sun did!


Walking back towards the house the frost disappeared quickly but with it came the blue skies.





I realised this week 'why I take so many photos'. I want to share all I see with others as I think somethings are just too beautiful to keep to yourself and what a beautiful morning it was!

Coffee time :)

Just before leaving for home I popped into the bird hide in the Spinney and was greeted by this lovely Woodpecker . I know where I am doing my bird count this weekend!



I hope you have enjoyed my frosty walk. I am sure there will be many more photos around as the frost lasted awhile after opening time and there were quite a few photographers around the park.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Copyright Jana Eastwood