Sunday, October 11, 2009

English parkland

click photos to enlarge
Both of today's photographs were taken in the area immediately around the village of Aswarby in Lincolnshire. They are views of the parkland that was created in the eighteenth and nineteenth century around Aswarby Hall, the home of the Tudor Carres and later the Whichcotes.

"Parkland" in this sense is a very English term, meaning not the play and recreation area laid out by municipalities for the enjoyment of an urban population, but rather the landscaped pastures and woodlands in the immediate vicinity of a large country house. It became the fashion, during the period when the English landscape garden was at its peak of popularity to plant formally near to such a house, to have "natural" looking lawns and gardens with lakes, statues, "eyecatchers" and scenic planting beyond this, and for the farmland past the garden boundary to be "enhanced" with solitary trees in pastures, "rides" through wooods and planted avenues, and screens of trees to confound prying eyes: the very vision of pastoral beauty and tranquility. Often, to give the impression of beautiful nature continuing in an unbroken sweep from the gardens through into the parkland there would be a hidden ha-ha (a wall and ditch) to prevent cattle and sheep encroaching on the tended grounds near the house.

Parkland of this sort is still being created today, but more often that which we see dates from this earlier period. It has a quite distinctive appearance, and is often signalled by large, specimen trees in the middle of pastures, or big, non-native, often evergreen, trees in small groups. Near where I took these photographs a former pasture that exhibits both these characteristic tree plantings has been turned into a cereal field. We passed it on our walk, bare soil with enormous trees dotted here and there - an odd sight. Nearby were the expected woods with pheasant rearing pens and feeders, and an adjoining area of maize left for both cover and feed for the "sportsmen's" targets.

photographs & text (c) T.Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On

Photo 2
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm (80mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On