Lazy Photographer's Guide 05 - South-East England (pt1)
by Chris Maddock
article is the fifth of a series of articles covering much of the
UK. It is basically a list of locations I have programmed into my
GPS Satellite Navigator - most of which I have visited, the rest
being places I intend to get to some day. It is not a comprehensive
guide to the Dales, only the parts I have been to and photographed
- or intend to.
It will not contain any photographs, the intention being simply
to provide information about location, access and likely subjects.
I have photographs of many of the locations in my Dorset, Hampshire,
Sussex and Wiltshire galleries at www.f22.org.uk
if you want to see what you could see before setting out.
called it The Lazy Photographer's Guide since most of the locations
are less than half a mile from road access.
the area covered is big and I can't think of a better split (since
I also have a large number of locations in the southwest too, I've
split the south roughly at the western borders of Dorset and Wiltshire),
this is a large list. Accordingly I've done it as two pages. This
is page 1, page 2 can
be found here
An area of wetland adjacent to the River Arun near Amberley in Sussex
- park in Amberley village, GR TQ 031 132, and take the footpath
that runs north. If you can't park in the village there is a large
car park at Amberley station, GR TQ 027 118
to see - wetland plants and wildlife, including wintering wildfowl
A farm adjacent to spectacular
bluebell woods, has walks open during the bluebell season. Many
of the paths are wheelchair friendly and they have some wheelchairs/scooters
available for use free of charge.
- turn off the A27 at Wilmington Green heading for Arlington and
follow signs for the Bluebell walks. Bates Green Farm is at GR TQ
552 076, free parking is available in a field opposite the farm
to see - bluebells, harebells, wild garlic, woodland.
A World Heritage Site,
Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire is one of Europe's largest prehistoric
stone circles partially encircling the village of Avebury.
- Follow signs to Avebury from the A4 or M4 and to the car park
just outside the village. It's pay and display but free to National
Trust and English Heritage members.
to see - stones, big ones and lots of them, LOL. Also the earthworks
on which the circle was erected. Wild flowers at appropriate times
of year and downland views.
A low point in the middle of the famous Seven Sisters
chalk cliffs in East Sussex
-turn off the A259 in East Dean on to the road signposted for Birling
Gap and Beachy Head. Pay & Display parking is available.
to see - shingle beach, views along the base of the cliffs both
east and west, at low tide the harder chalk layer is exposed with
rock pools and associated marine plants & wildlife
west of Charmouth on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, Black Venn is
the biggest coastal mudslide in Europe.
- Charmouth is signposted off the A35 between Morecombelake and
Axminster. Parking is available close to the beach. Black Venn is
along the beach to the west.
to see - the beach and rock pools, the Venn itself with scrubland
vegetation and associated wildlife, views across the bay to Lyme
Regis or east to Golden Cap. You may even find fossils around the
lower extremity of the Venn.
An attractive little coastal
village in West Sussex Bosham lies in the waterways of Chichester
- Signposted off the A27 and A259 between Chichester and Havant.
Parking is available in the village. Note -if there is a sign that
the road floods at high tide, they do mean it!! My parents ran a
stall in a craft centre there for some years and lost count of the
number of people to whom they lent cups to use as balers.
to see - the village and harbour, mudflats, salt marshes and associated
shore birds. A good view of the harbour and village can be had from
slightly further down the creek, along Shore Road at around GR SU
801 032. Other good views are from Chidham on the opposite shore
or from West Itchenor or Birdham looking at Bosham Hoe instead.
An unusual name (or so it seems to me) for its
location, Botany Bay is on the far southeast tip of Kent, between
Margate and Broadstairs.
- Botany Bay is at Kingsgate, off the B2052 Broadstairs-Margate
coastal road at GR TR 391 711, parking is available.
to see - sandy beach, rugged cliffs and sea stacks, good for sunrises.
Sadly much destroyed by a combination of storms
and fires, the West Pier is little more than a skeleton now. The
Palace Pier is occupied by amusement arcades and fun fair rides.
- the West Pier is at GR TQ 303 040, Palace Pier a little way east
at GR TQ 313 038, both on the A259 coast road. There is some metered
parking along the main road, or several pay & display or NCP
car parks in Brighton town centre.
to see - not much at West Pier now, although the skeleton can make
for good interest in sunrise/set shots. Palace Pier is good for
night-time illumination shots. The starlings which used to roost
on West Pier appear to have relocated to Palace Pier and still give
spectacular dusk displays. The shingle beach between the piers is
of interest, as are the gulls which live in the area and an assortment
of boats on display on the waterfront.
Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire is regarded
as one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Britain.
- between Beaconsfield and Slough, Burnham Beeches is just off the
A335, with parking at GR SU 956 850
to see - ancient beech and oak woodland, some of the trees believed
to be up to 800 years old. Other plants and wildlife, grazing pigs
and other livestock.
Just to the west of Devizes in Wiltshire, Caen
Hill Locks is a flight of 29 locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal,
16 of the locks being in a straight line.
- take the A361 west out of Devizes and turn right onto the B3031
to Rowde. About half a mile along, the turning to the Locks is in
the right, leading to parking at the top of the 16-lock straight
section, GR ST 986 616.
to see - the spectacular flight of locks, you can walk down the
towpath to the bottom to get the view looking up the line of gates.
Also canal boats of all shapes and sizes, wildfowl and plants beside
A pretty little village
near Chippenham in Wiltshire.
- Take the A420 and B4039 west out of Chippenham and follow signs
for Castle Combe. Parking is available at the top of the hill in
Upper Castle Combe at GR ST 846 777
to see - traditional Cotswold village buildings, with stone walls
and split stone tile roofs, the church, bridge and river.
A sheltered bay at the eastern end of Dorset's
Jurassic Coast, Chapman's Pool is just outside Worth Matravers.
- From the B3069 Langton Matravers-Corfe Castle road, follow signs
for Worth Matravers and carry on through the village, turning left
at Renscombe Farm. The car park is 100 yards along on the right
at GR SY 963 773, no vehicular access is allowed beyond this point.
A footpath leads west across the fields to Chapman's Pool, about
half a mile.
to see - in the cove itself you can see the cliffs, foreshore and
rock pools complete with ammonite and other fossils. If you take
the clifftop path before reaching the cove, good views may be had
of the cove and the coast beyond. Continuing along the path for
about a mile you come to St Aldhelm's head with a chapel and the
old coastguard station at the end.
The home of one of the many white horse chalk
cutouts in Wiltshire, Cherhill Down lies immediately south of the
A4 near Cherhill.
- there is a layby beside the A4 between Avebury and Calne just
east of Cherhill village, roughly GR SU 043 701. This offers a good
view of the Down and the white horse, whilst footpaths offer access
to the top of the down if you wish.
to see - Wiltshire downs landscape and the white horse.
Chesil Beach is a spectacular natural shingle barrier, extending
some 18 miles across the eastern end of Lyme Bay in Dorset
- parking is available at both ends of the beach, beside the A354
between Weymouth and Portland at GR SY 668 753 and on a minor road
out of Abbotsbury at GR SY 559 845. The beach itself is a high,
steep-sided shingle bank and takes some effort to climb up once
you have got down to the shoreline.
to see - the huge shingle bank leading off into the distance. The
Fleet, the lagoon enclosed by the shingle bank is one of the few
remaining brackish-water lagoons and is home to various species
of sea creatures, plants and shore birds.
The spectacular remains of the 1000 year old
castle built in a gap in the ridge of the Purbeck Hills in Dorset.
Largely destroyed by Parliamentarian troops during the Civil War,
the fact that so much remains is testament to the strength of its
- Corfe Castle village lies on the A351 Wareham-Swanage road. Free
parking is available at Castle View, 10 minutes (according to the
National Trust website) walk north from the castle at GR SY 958
to see - the ruins of the castle, the Swanage Railway just to the
east of the castle. Views from further afield may be had from the
minor road to Church Knowle or from the B3069 to Kingston
The mouth of the Cuckmere River, Cuckmere Haven
lies at the western end of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs in East
- Parking is available at Exceat on the A259 between Seaford and
Eastbourne, GR TV 518 995. Footpaths lead down to the Haven, about
a mile south.
to see - the tidal River Cuckmere with its spectacular meanders
, especially visible from the upper path which runs up the hill
to the east. Down at the Haven, shingle foreshore, chalk cliffs,
remains of coastal wartime defences and the view along the first
part of the Seven Sisters. Associated wildlife, salt marsh and chalk
This is one of the many Inclosures in the New
Forest, comprising a large area of deciduous woodland.
-Denny Lodge is accessible from the B3056 Lyndhurst-Beaulieu road.
The turning is on the outside of a sharp bend at GR SU 334 069 and
is signposted for Denny Lodge Camp Site. Drive through the camp
site itself to a parking area on the right at GR SU 333 066.
to see - deciduous woodland with associated plants and wildlife.
There is a bird feeding station on tree stumps just over the fence
from the parking area, visited by a variety of birds including coal
& marsh tits and nuthatches. The older woodland to the northwest
of the parking area is very good for fungi in the late autumn. Footpaths
to the east lead to Shatterford Bottom, an area of (sometimes) marshy
heathland good for plants and wildlife that prefer such habitat.
Dungeness is a large shingle
bank protruding into the English Channel from the Kent coastline.
It is an important wildlife habitat, providing home to more than
600 species of plants, along with a wide variety of birds and insects.
The spit, lagoons and old gravel pits behind the shingle beach are
managed by the RSPB and English Nature and are used by large numbers
of wintering wildfowl and migrating wading birds. Right at the tip
of the bank is located Dungeness nuclear power station - so watch
which way you are pointing those long lenses ;-)
- the RSPB site is signposted from the Lydd-Dungeness road and is
located at GR TR 067 185. For the shore itself, there is parking
available on the Dungeness-New Romney road, at Lade (GR TR 084 208)
or you could travel down on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch miniature
railway which stops at Dungeness. There is also parking at the RH&DR
station at Dungeness.
to see - wild plants and birds, the shingle shoreline, fishermen's
huts and boats, the RH&DR miniature steam trains. On an island
in the lake between Lydd airport and the sea (near lade) are the
acoustic listening mirrors built to give early warning of the approach
of Zeppelins during the 1st World War. These can be accessed through
guided tours but not otherwise.
This is the well-known rock archway on the Dorset
Jurassic Coast, a mile or so west of Lulworth
- turn south off the A352 at Winfrith Newburgh or west off the B3070
just as you enter West Lulworth. The car park is through a caravan
site at roughly GR SY 811 805, with a short walk down to the Door
to see - well, there's the Durdle Door rock arch itself, along with
the curved beach leading to it from the west. From the headland
of which the Door is the end, there is a good view both ways along
the coast to St Oswald's Bay in the east and Bat Head to the west.
Around April and September the sunset will illuminate the north
face of the Door, at other times in the year it sets too far south
to reach the rock face or too far north so the surrounding cliffs
cast their shadows on the Door.
that commercial photography is not permitted without prior permission
from (and payment, where required, to) the Lulworth Estate
An area of water meadows
around the River Avon to the southeast of Salisbury.
- from the A36 or A338 follow signs to Britford, GR SU 160 283,
various footpaths lead out over the meadows.
to see - wetland scenes, plant and wildlife. Views of Salisbury
Head, West Wittering
This is a sand and shingle spit at the mouth of Chichester
Harbour, formed by the process of longshore drift. It is a SSSI
owned by the National Trust.
- from the A27 Chichester bypass, take the A286 and B2179 to West
Wittering, then the track to the beach and car park at GR SZ 769
to see - the sand/shingle dunes of East Head, plant and wildlife,
views across Chichester Harbour, the shingle shoreline and groynes
along the mainland coast.
site of a large hillfort near Beaminster in Dorset, with well-defined
iron age field systems visible on the hillsides around.
- from the A35 turn north through Askerswell and up the hill to
the car park at GR SY 548 947. The fort is a few hundred yards to
to see - the fort and field patterns, the latter being best shown
with low sun so that the shadows highlight the patterns. Also the
downland views and downland flora & fauna.
On the southern shore of the Isle of Sheppey,
Elmley Marshes is an RSPB reserve, attracting thousands of ducks,
geese and wading birds in the winter, as well as various raptors.
In the summer, many wading birds, including the avocet, breed on
- the access track is signposted off the A249 Isle of Sheppey road,
a mile or so after the Kingsferry Bridge. Parking is available at
GR TQ 938 679 and a footpath leads across the reserve.
to see - birds, birds and yet more birds.
A headland in Langstone
Harbour near Portsmouth Farlington Marshes is a nature reserve managed
by the RSPB and Hampshire Wildlife Trust. It comprises a mixture
of marshland, and scrubland surrounded by the largest expanse of
mudflats on the South coast. It attracts large numbers of breeding
sea birds and wintering wildfowl and waders. It is the winter home
to a high proportion of all the Brent Geese that winter in the UK,
part of an estimated 10,000 wildfowl and 40,000 wader population.
- turn off the A27 at the Portsea Island junction (between the M271
and A3(M) junctions), and take the small turning located between
the A27 westbound "off" slip road and the A2030 Portsmouth
road, it's easy to miss. Follow this road to the end where there
is room for twenty or so cars to park. Access to the reserve is
though a small gate leading to the western sea wall or a larger
gate and up a track leading to the middle and eastern side of the
marshes. The sea wall is passable all round the reserve, meeting
up with the track through the middle.
to see - birds, birds and yet more birds, especially in winter.
An area of common heathland with two ponds just
south of Farnham in Surrey, owned by the National Trust.
- from the A287 Farnham-Haslemere road, turn off just south of Millbridge
- to the east for the Little Pond or west for the Great Pond. There
are car parks by both ponds, at GR SU 859 417 for the Little Pond
and SU 844 405 for the Great Pond.
to see - heathland habitat with associated plants and wildlife,
such as sand lizards, smooth snakes, woodlarks, Dartford Warblers
A picturesque, steep cobbled street in Dorset, made famous by the
Hovis bread television adverts.
- Shaftesbury lies at the junction of the A30 and A350 roads between
Salisbury, Yeovil, Warminster and Blandford Forum. There are several
car parks in the town. The top of Gold Hill is accessed through
a covered cutway off the High Street at GR ST 862 229
to shoot - a steep, cobbled hill with pretty cottages on the left,
a stone embankment on the right and the view out to the southwest
beyond. The lane is narrow and falls away quickly so lighting is
tricky. It's probably best photographed on a cloudy but bright day
otherwise either the cottages or the wall will be in shadow or you're
looking into the sun.
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text and photos are copyright © Chris Maddock, 2007