Sunday, 31 July 2011

Macclesfield Forest

Ridgegate Reservoir with Tegg's Nose beyond
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 24mm, 1/250s @ f/8.0)
Macclesfield Forest is the remnant of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield, a medieval hunting forest. The forest is now mainly a conifer plantation but there are several walking and cycling recreational trails. There are two reservoirs within the forest, Ridgegate and Trentabank. These supply drinking water to the town of Macclesfield.

Red-trunked Pines in the conifer plantation
Despite the predominance of conifers, the forest is a pleasant place for walks. There are some areas of deciduous planting with flowering plants and butterflies along the forest rides.

Rosebay Willowherb
I know that it's a weed, but the individual flowers of Rosebay Willowherb are very pretty.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Foxt Church

Foxt Church
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 24mm, 1/500s @ f/8.0)
St. Mark the Evangelist church in the village of Foxt was built in 1837 as a private chapel later given to the diocese of Lichfield. It is reported that the church cost £800 to build, and still it stands with its sturdy tower.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pugin's Gem

St Giles, Cheadle
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 10mm, 1/25s @ f/4.0, ISO 1600)

The Roman Catholic church of St Giles in Cheadle, Staffordshire is known as Pugin's Gem. The great Victorian architect, A. W. N. Pugin was best known for his Gothic style buildings. He was commissioned and financed by John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury. Pugin had carried out extensive work at Talbot's home, Alton Towers (yes, that one). Pugin was determined that St Giles would be a perfect Gothic Catholic church and, thanks to Talbot's patronage, he seems to have succeeded. The interior of the church is jaw-droppingly opulent. Every surface is painted in bright colours. Much gilding has been used and the best wood and stone carvers were employed to model the fittings.

The pulpit was carved by Thomas Roddis from a single block of stone from the Alton Towers estate.

There are many superb stained glass windows by William Wailes of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Note the intricately painted walls surrounding the window.

The high altar and reredos were also carved by Thomas Roddis. Above is a "Jesse" window depicting the life of Christ, an unusual theme in a Victorian church, and to the right is the Sedilia where the Priest, Deacon and Sub-deacon would sit. The encaustic floor tiles were made by the Potteries firm of Minton.

It is amazing that a small market town in North Staffordshire should have such a magnificent church. Visit it if you can!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Little Moreton Hall

Little Moreton Hall
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @21mm, 1/800s @ f/7.1)
Little Moreton Hall, near Congleton, is the most magnificent half-timbered Elizabethan manor house in England. The hall was built in the 15th century and extended during the 16th by the Moreton family who had bought 1,000 acres of the farmland of Cheshire several decades earlier. One of the later additions to the structure was the long gallery at the top of the building. This was probably ill-advised as the weight of the materials used in this extension caused the building to distort, hence the crooked appearance of this gallery. The moat surrounding the building was never meant as a defensive structure but was dug out to drain the marshy plot of land upon which the house was to be built.

The Knot Garden and the rear of the house
The gardens have been restored to reflect typical formal gardens of the period. The house is fascinating and well worth a visit. It has been in the care of the National Trust since 1938.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Grindon Well Dressing

Grindon Well Dressing
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 17mm, 1/60s @ f/8.0)
Well Dressings are an annual feature of village life in the Peak District. In the past, the wells were dressed to give thanks for the water and the theme of the well dressing was usually religious. More latterly, secular themes have been used; in this case celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Peak District National Park. Grindon Well Dressing took place last weekend. Unfortunately, the poor weather has not been kind to this example as the rain has washed away some of the materials.
Detail of the image
A mosaic of petals, leaves, seeds and twigs are pressed into a bed of wet clay to make the tableaux. Some of the villagers grow plants especially to provide the necessary materials.
While in Grindon, the sign below gave me a laugh!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Throwley Old Hall

Throwley Old Hall
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 17mm, 1/250s @ f/8.0)
Today's walk took me from the car park at Weag's Bridge in the Manifold Valley for 9 kms via the Hamps Valley, Soles Wood, Throwley Moor and back via the Manifold Trail. on the way I passed Throwley Old Hall, an imposing Tudor/Elizabethan ruin situated above the Manifold valley. It was built for the Meverell family, the owners of the Throwley estate, in the early 16th century, probably on the site of an earlier manor house. The building was still complete in 1845 but since that time stones have been taken to build nearby farm buildings and the roof had been removed by 1921. The drawing below (from the nearby information board) shows what the hall may have looked like when in its glory.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Monsal Trail

Chee Tor Tunnels on the Monsal Trail
The Monsal Trail is a mixed use cycle and walking trail that goes from Bakewell to Blackwell Mill near Buxton. Recently, the tunnels on the trail have been opened and it is now possible to complete the journey following the track of the Midland Railway line, closed in the 1960s.
 (Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @24mm, 3 exposures HDR tonemapped in Photomatix)

Inside Chee Tor Tunnel No 1
The longer tunnels are lit until dusk. This was once a very important line linking London and Manchester. The last train to use the line ran in 1968.
 (Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 24mm, 1/13s @ f4.5, ISO 6400)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Chee Dale

Chee Dale
The footpath through this delightful dale all but disappears in a couple of places where the limestone cliff walls drop vertically to the River Wye. The Peak District Park Rangers have installed stepping stones so that, with care, one can walk the length of the dale with dry feet!
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 13mm, 1/200s @ f/7.1)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Brough Park

Brough Park, The Bandstand
Leek is lucky to have a very pleasant public park. Brough Park was created on land given by two local landowners, W. S. Brough and Joseph Tatton. The Bandstand is situated in a prominent position atop a rise in the ground. The park is home to open space, the leisure centre, a formal garden and pond, skate park and bowling green.
 (Panasonic Lumix TZ10)