We’re buying shares – in Clevedon Pier

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Aah yes. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and chip in to help the pier.

You can’t come to Clevedon without noticing the pier. There are plenty of other quiet delights in the town, but the pier will be the thing you notice first. It has a long history from its opening in 1869, collapse in 1970 and restoration and reopening in 1989 and work is underway on a fabulous new visitor centre, cafe and viewing gallery. My husband Alec and I have bought season tickets to the pier every year since we moved to Clevedon: that way we are showing our support while benefiting ourselves from being able to take a walk down the pier whenever we want (during opening hours of course). When the community share scheme was announced, we decided that we would have to be part of it and today we have put the cheque in the post.

Have a look online, and if you can afford some shares too – why not? The minimum spend isn’t huge (150 x £1 shares ) and you have bought your little slice of history. Read more here!

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Here’s the view of work today. Amazingly small space to work in, but the lower level viewing gallery now has a concrete roof above it – the floor for the cafe. Which we’ve heard in the news will be run by the people in charge of Tiffins – one of our lovely local cafes.

And a fairly recent plaque added at the end of the pier. (Apologies if it’s been there for years and I’ve only just noticed!!)

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It all adds to the interest. I’ve seen most of these ships myself, so it’s nice to know now what they are.

If you haven’t visited Clevedon before, or haven’t been for a while, there is lots to see. Work on the Marine Lakes approaching completion, the new Loungers cafe open at the historic Curzon cinema, the Theatre Orchard bringing live performance to Clevedon, several other new cafes and businesses and news that the traditional Christmas fair will return to Hill Road. It’s all happening in Clevedon!

Autumn in Clevedon

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It’s a strange season, Autumn. For those who particularly love the sun it is of course the beginning of the bad times – darker evenings, cold and damp weather. For those who relish a British Christmas, it’s the sign that frosty walks, welcoming pubs with roaring log fires, fairy lights and Christmas trees are all on the way.

But I like walking, wildlife and photography, and I just love the autumn! The light and colours in the landscape are beautiful, even early in the season before the trees properly turn to full gold and orange. An added bonus is that you don’t have to get up at 3 in the morning to catch an atmospheric morning shot. Here’s one of my photographs from Poet’s Walk in Clevedon on a morning when the mist was lying beneath the hills, and layers of cloud were adding colour to the sky. The sun was just getting some strength, so the grasses on the edge of the hill got some golden highlights too. Just lovely!

In towns you can take advantage of some dramatic scenes too. I liked the church and tree photographed without filters: I emphasised the bleached colours with a posterising effect.

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Some of my favourite photos, drawings and paintings are on sale in my RedBubble shop. There are some nice gift ideas!!

This year I’m planning on gettting out and about in all weathers to capture how the scenery changes through the year. There is talk of a cold winter coming for the UK. While I’m not a great fan of ice and snow, I will be on the look out for some great snowy shots: could be material for my next calendar.

And I suppose that’s the key thing about the changing seasons… to make the most of them where ever you live.

Right place, right time

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There’s a virtue to being in the right place at the right time in many things: and photograpy is one of them.

Here’s one of the photos I took the other morning whilst out walking. You can’t get an idea of the scale from this shot, but it’s the tide filling the Marine Lake at Clevedon and the wall must be 10 feet high. The wall is long and slightly shaped, so there are different effects along its length, and of course from some angles you can also get the lovely pier into the shot.

You don’t often see the lake filling from empty, but while the work on the lake is being completed and the sluice gate is left open, you have the chance to see this at every (daytime) tide. The chance will be gone soon… Well worth a walk and a snap or two!

Keep an eye and ear open for what’s happening near you – there could be a photo opportunity for you!

What a morning! What a walk!

A perfect late September morning in England is a thing of absolute beauty, and that’s what we had today in Clevedon. I went for a walk before breakfast, and went further than I expected to, as it was too difficult to stop!

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First photo shows the view across the little park in Jesmond Road… Most views of the coast show the headlands further down the North Somerset coast, and you can often see the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm, as well as the distant North Devon coast. And of course Wales across the Bristol channel. The view is the reward for a fairly steep climb up the hill!

Then I carried on to Hill Road, and walked up the Zig-Zag to see the various views accessible from there. You get Zig-Zag paths in many hilly towns, but ours in Clevedon is quite well hidden, as the entries from Hill Road aren’t sign-posted. So here are the views:

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Looking down the coast…

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… and looking across the town towards the distant hills. At least some of the hills shown are the Mendips.

Then I walked down Kings Road and Cambridge Road, past The Avenue….

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… onto Wellington Terrace back towards…

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… the sea front and …

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… The Pier.

I was planning to walk home from the sea front, but the day was so pretty I finished off by walking around Poet’s Walk. No ravens or peregrine falcons today, but plenty of other birds, including a heron looking hopefully at the puddles in the Marine Lake.

Here’s the view as you reach the brow of the hill…

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Gorgeous!

I’ve tried to work out the distance and I think it’s about 3.5 miles. The route includes some fairly steep hills, so it was quite good exercise. But more importantly it was a total pleasure – just as good exercise should be!

[Have you read my book yet? A beginners guide to walking for pleasure, available on Kindle!]

Ravens of Clevedon

I keep banging on about how enjoyable walking is, and how much easier it is to get and stay fit if you like walking. I honestly do try to shut up sometimes, but the trouble is every time I go out for a walk, I see something interesting or thought provoking!  So here’s what happened today.

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I started with a walk along the sea front, from the pier towards the Marine Lake. Renovations are going well, and these shots show how much has been cleared already, as well as the new concrete being laid to form the path and the new inner wall between the main lake and the small lake. The original concrete base of the small lake is now visible, with the mud having been cleared out.

They are working in sections to pour the new concrete, so it’ll be good to see how work unfolds each week. Of course, as the lake is tidal they will also need to fit in pouring fresh concrete between high tides. It’s all carefully worked out! Children (and adults) did walk along the old wall, but it was narrow and crumbly and the new version looks much more inviting and safer for crabbing.

Then I walked around Poet’s walk, and onto the causeway between Clevedon Pill and Marshall’s Field (one of the key locations in the first series of Broadchurch – the field where Ellie stood while Beth was shouting at her…).  It was here I saw the raven, and as wildlife is another of my interests, very glad I was to see it too! In case you don’t know, there are four black-feathered members of the crow family that you can often see in the UK, and they are generally easy to tell apart. Jackdaw’s are the smallest. They have blue eyes and a shiny grey patch across the back of their heads. They always fly in groups, and make a very distinctive chattering sound. Then you get crows (carrion crows) – very common and completely glossy black from beak to tail. They make a distinctive cawing sound. Rooks are a bit bigger and easy to identify. They have shaggy feathers round their legs, and grey skin visible round their grey beaks. They are more of a rural bird, and they move around in flocks picking up food in the fields. They nest communally in rookeries, and can be quite intimidating if you walk too close to their trees whhile they have eggs and chicks in the nest.

Then there are ravens, the biggest and wildest of the crows, and glossy black from beak to tail tip. You see them if you visit the Tower of London, but otherwise they are associated with moors and mountains. Except they are also quite common around here. I saw my first raven at the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol – sitting on one of the towers croaking (‘cronking’) away. We also saw one patrolling the roof tops near the bridge while we were eating lunch; no doubt keeping his eyes open for food he could steal. Or she, of course. But they are generally harder to make a clear identification for, as from a distance you can’t be sure how big they are and you can’t hear their vocalisations. Being glossy black, they could just be a crow. You need to get a view of their diamond shaped tail to be sure.

So this morning I was pleased to see a raven and a crow flying above me, engaged in a bit of a scuffle. The crow was definitey trying to stop the raven from getting too settled, and encouraging him to move on! The bird landed down near the boats, ‘cronked’ a bit, flew around a bit more, had a run-in with a gull and then decided to move on down the coast. I saw the size difference, heard the call and saw the tail – positive ID – job done!

Now I just have to spot the peregrines which nested here last year and hopefully are back now, and the avocets which were also seen.

The colours of Clevedon…

There’s lots going on in Clevedon just now, thanks to The Theatre Orchard and their Theatre Shop.

We got to the pier too late to enjoy the ballet, but I love this shot: slightly misty and nostalgic. It really looks suitably Victorian to me!. You’ll need to imagine the music and the appreciative applause of the crowd…

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It’s fabulous to have so much extra going on locally, and it’s already clear that lots of people are visiting. I’ve seen Living Spit – who will be performing during the theatre season – before, and really enjoy their shows, and there is much more going on besides. So good to have performances in the community, as it really brings people together. Something, as they say, for everyone! Just have to make sure I get my tickets before everything sells out…

And, if there weren’t already enough reasons to grab your camera and mooch around the village and it’s environs, the shows add an extra buzz to the place.

In the sunshine, the colours of Clevedon really stand out. Here’s a small selection of my photographs, which I have just uploaded to my RedBubble shop – and if you really like them you can buy them on cards, prints, posters, phone cases, mugs, and even duvet covers and scarves!  Please feel free to browse!

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