Thursday, May 04, 2006

A field in the Fylde

click photo to enlarge
The Fylde is the flat West Lancashire coastal plain between the River Lune in the north and the River Ribble in the south. The first known reference to the word appears in the year 1246 and is written "Filde". It is an Old English variant (from a Germanic root) of "feld" meaning open country suitable for cultivation, which gave us the word "field". So, you could say this photograph is of a field in the field!

Formerly an area of mainly scrub, wetland, saltmarsh, and sand dunes, the Fylde was gradually drained, settled and brought into agricultural production. In the nineteenth century it began to produce substantial quantities of grain and vegetables for urban centres, and it continues to be an important area for these crops. This low lying land has always been swept by the prevailing westerly winds blowing off the Irish Sea, and from the late eighteenth century onwards windmills were erected for milling and drainage. This led to the name "Windmill Land" being used to describe the area.

I came across this newly-prepared field, in one of the slightly rolling areas of the Fylde, on a sunny day after early morning rain. The corrugated soil was emphasising the undulations quite well, and the moisture-laden clouds were disappearing over the horizon, giving the scene a slightly surreal, deserted, otherworldly feel. The shot I opted for is a conventional split of one third land, two thirds sky, with minimal post processing.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen