Royal Tunbridge Wells – sounds regal

I travelled to the town of Tunbridge Wells in the county of Kent UK, or to give it its full title Royal Tunbridge Wells, after King Edward VII granted the town its regal title in 1909, due to popularity with the royal family over the years.

The town has some very fine buildings dating back to the early 17th century when the discovery of the spring opened its Spa waters at the Chalybeate Spring, hence the name wells.

Chalybeate Spring

The Chalybeate Spring – Tunbridge Wells

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Sussex by the sea

Here in the UK, we have been having a mini heatwave, well temperatures in the upper 20’s for a few days. So I thought it would be a good time to visit my nearest city Brighton, on the Sussex coast and have a wander along the seafront.

The first place I like to visit when I go to Brighton is the West Pier, it is now slowly crumbling into the sea, after every storm you see another section missing.

West Pier Brighton UK

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A Photo Walk around Winnie the Pooh’s Ashdown Forest

This walk was around Ashdown Forest, a place that was home to the author A. A. Milne who wrote the story of Winnie the Pooh. The Ashdown Forest is situated in the Weald of Sussex with the main London to Eastbourne Road (A22) cutting right through it.

My journey started from Gills Lap car park, situated just off the B2026 road that runs between Hartfield and Fairwarp. I have visited the forest all of my life and can always recall an Ice cream van was parked in this car park every time I was here, it’s funny how you remember the small things. Today though no van, probably due to it being a Thursday, and not a lot of customers from the dog walkers.

Leaving the car park heading north towards the memorial plaque for A. A. Milne and EH Shepherd, turning west toward the Lone Pine.

The Lone Pine

The Lone Pine

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Been busy moving house

The last three months have been fairly busy as we have just moved house, so most of my time has been consumed with this, either planning, organizing, fitting, fixing or decorating. Although there is still a bit to complete, I thought it was about time that I set aside a day for a bit of exercise, exploring and photography.

I decided to take in a walk around the town of Uckfield in East Sussex, the walk would be in both the town and surrounding countryside.

It started from the Eastbourne Road near the Highlands Inn pub, which incidentally always seems busy especially at the weekend. Heading south-east along the Eastbourne road to pick up a footpath that now runs through two housing developments, one fairly recent while the other built back in the mid 90’s.

Woodland Path

Woodland Path Ridgewood Uckfield East Sussex

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Through a wood and then up a hill

This walk was to the top of Wolstonbury Hill a high point on the South Downs just north of the village of Pyecombe. This area is managed by the National Trust for more information please check the information on their website.

The walk for me started from Hassocks station, following the path along the London to Brighton line for just over a mile to Clayton. From here crossing the A273 by the tunnel, yes someone does actually live in a house above a busy railway line, I not sure I would be able to sleep soundly, although I am sure you would get used to it.

Clayton tunnel

Clayton tunnel with a residential building above

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A walk with a macro lens

I decided to take a short walk in the Sussex countryside today with a simple macro setup, just a camera, macro lens and two flashguns. The Yongnuo YN560-III for off camera, and the Olympus FL-LM2 for on camera fill flash. I always like to travel as light as possible, depending on what the brief for the day is, so no tripod, insects don’t tend to hang around while you position your kit. I will give a full description of what macro kit I use in another post and some samples of what can be achieved even with fairly old equipment.

My walk took me through a meadow that was full of grazing sheep only a few weeks ago, now empty with the growing grass full of flowering clover.

Clover flower

Olympus EM-1 60mm Macro lens @F13 1/250 Yongnuo YN560-III off camera

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Southease to Newhaven via Peacehaven

I messed up my train journey today, as I missed the first train and the second one to Brighton was either running late or I misread the time when I checked this morning. Anyway, the later train got me there with two minutes to spare, luckily I only had to walk across the platform.

So I am on the train just pulling into Lewes when I noticed that it didn’t stop at Southease, a quick check on my phone confirmed that only alternate trains stop at Southease station. So I waited at Lewes for the next one as I didn’t want to walk in the other direction.

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A day out in the capital London

I do enjoy a day out with the camera, so a trip to the capital city was the plan, with a view to walking along the northern bank of the river Thames towards the Palace of Westminster, better known as the houses of parliament. From there crossing Westminster bridge and walking along the Southbank to the Millennium Bridge, back over the river to St Pauls and then down to Tower bridge and finally back to Blackfriars. That should take up most of the day allowing for a few stops for photos.

The journey started with a train ride to Blackfriars station, on arrival I decided to have a bite to eat saving some space in my bag for my jacket, that I certainly didn’t need. It wasn’t a gourmet feast just a roll and a packet of crisps followed by a couple of wine gums.

The walk down to Westminster was fairly quick, the reason being that I drunk too much water on the train up and was desperate for the toilet. I would have used the toilets at Blackfriars, but it was just my luck that they were out of order, so I had to wait until reaching Waterloo (oh how appropriate). At least they didn’t charge unlike at Blackfriars where they charge you 30 pence, the problem is I can remember when it was a penny, hence the saying “spend a penny”.

Just after Waterloo station, I saw Princess Anne being driven in a car that was escorted by several Police outriders and two other vehicles, she was probably only going down to the supermarket 😉.

I crossed the river via Westminster bridge hoping to capture a long exposure shot of the Parliament buildings, only to find they had the builders in with lots of scaffolding up. I do now recall a news article about the work required on the crumbling building, so I just took a quick shot with the camera phone instead.

The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster Lumia 930 4.46mm @F2.4 1/1200 sec ISO 64

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The Ouse Valley Way (from Southease to Lewes)

After having to abort a walk yesterday because of rather windy and wet conditions, I thought I would try again today as the weather forecast didn’t predict any further rain. This yet again involved a train ride in getting to the start of the walk, as there are no direct trains to Southease it meant into Brighton and onto another train along the coast.

Arriving at Southease I joined the South Downs Way for a few hundred yards, crossing the swing bridge before turning onto the path that follows the course of the river into the historic town of Lewes in East Sussex. There is a path on either side of the river but I chose the west side of the river, the reason being when I arrive at Lewes it would be nearer to the station.

The swing bridge, as far as I know, hasn’t been opened for many years, probably because no large boats travel up the river anymore.

The Swing Bridge at Southease on the river Ouse.

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/400 sec ISO160

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Along the coast from Shoreham to Brighton

The majority of the images you will see in this post will be long exposures using the Olympus Live Bulb feature, with a combination of Lee Filters Seven5 Neutral Density (Big and Little Stopper), sometimes with a Polariser and or Graduated filter.

The start of this walk involves public transport by train, so a change at Brighton boarding an ageing diesel train on the line out to Worthing. So the plan was to get off at Shoreham and walk around Shoreham harbour, well that failed as I turned the wrong way and ended up on the wrong side of the water. I couldn’t be bothered to walk the mile or so back to start again so carried on, maybe that will have to wait for another day.

The path takes you across the harbour to a sluice gate, arriving at the beach I found that the wind was certainly turning the blades of the wind turbines.

Wind turbines

Olympus EM-1 17mm @F11 4.0 sec ISO 200

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