Category Archives: 2017

Sun Bathing House Martins

Sun Bathing House Martins
Cromer West Cliff

The cliffs above the west beach in Cromer are visited each year by Sand Martins. They arrive before Swallows and House Martins. They will reuse their nest sites on the cliff face if these have survived the winter – or they will start again. It is always a relief when they return in the spring and the Martins, Swallows and Swifts seem to have done well this year. What we noticed recently is that the Sand Martins’ cliff face has been taken over by up to 200 sun bathing House Martins – distinguished by their white rumps. Presumably they are enjoying warm conditions here before returning to their winter home in sub Saharan Africa.

Painted Lady, Cley

Painted Lady Butterfly

I was lucky to get this shot of a painted lady butterfly at Cley Church. It landed momentarily on the flint and chalk strewn pathway to the north door but was soon disturbed by visitors coming to the Cley 17 art exhibition. I too wanted to visit Cley 17 but knew from my previous visit that if conditions were right the churchyard would be good for butterfly spotting.

Painted ladies may be described as “common and widespread” but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to identify and photograph.

Cley Churchyard

Open Studios Maria Pavledis

Maria Pavledis: Owl smoke image

Maria will be showing her work at The Belfry Centre for Music and the Arts in Overstrand over the bank holiday and on Open Studios week ends.  An accomplished etcher, Maria is developing her printmaking practise into installation. This is a collaboration with engineer Chris Branford who has specially adapted overhead projectors to create moving images. This is still work in progress and Maria wants you to “See this as an opportunity to talk, ask questions and experience the space and not as a finished exhibition”.

As well as the projections, she will be showing a small selection of other work, including one of her unusual and unique drawings made by smoking the paper with a live flame, a technique which she developed from etching processes.

Maria at The Belfry Overstrand

Open Studios Starts Today

Cigar Smoke Amsterdam
David Morris’ photographs at The Garden House Cromer

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios starts today. Over 500 artists are taking part including over 80 in North Norfolk. If  you are spoilt for choice  Art Trails make it easier and eight artists are involved in the one around Cromer.  Not all artists’ studios are open every day so why not start at The Garden House in Garden Street which is and pick up details.

view artist’s website

 

Cromer and Around Art Trail 2017

“Seas the Day” Tim Adams at the Garden House Gallery

Cromer’s outgoing mayor, Tim Adams, dropped into the Garden House Gallery’s taster exhibition for the Cromer and Around Art Trail 2017. Tim is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in Thursday’s County Council elections so “Seas the Day” might well be his hope. The Art Trail will feature eight local artists taking part in Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 27th May until 11th June.

Visit Gallery Website

Brian Lewis Open Studio 2017

Brian Lewis at Bee’s Hall

 

“I paint the blue sky days, the lighter side of life”

Brian Lewis leaves the grey days and the angst for others and paints what he enjoys most, coastal views, seals, dogs, stately homes and scenes where he lives in Norfolk, often with a humorous aspect.

For the next few days you can see Brian’s vast range of original paintings, limited edition prints and cards and enjoy the rare treat of visiting his studio at Bee’s Hall in Sheringham.  Once a church hall, its conversion into his house and studio was a labour of love started in 1996.

Sat April 29th until Sun May 7th  Bee’s Hall, The Avenue South,  Sheringham NR27 8DH

Fish No Chips

Visit Artist’s Website

 

 

Obsessive Behaviour — Tea Party

 

Would you have tea with a couple of guys who admit to looking like debt collectors? Well David Morris, photographer, and Paul Darley, painter are two of the most creative artists working in North Norfolk. So we accepted the invitation and went along on the first day of their latest exhibition at the Red Lion in Cromer.

They both live in Cromer and try to capture something of the sense of place. You will see Paul most days with his easel on to the beach as he tries to nail an image in a series of rapid brush strokes before the moment is lost. Paul produced stunning photos for “The Last Hunters,” Candy Whittome’s book about the crab fishermen of Cromer and their wives.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 23rd April 2017

Click here for Events

Click here for artist’s website

Sculthorpe Moor Reserve

Sculthorpe Moor Reserve

Sculthorpe 1

“One of those hidden ‘must visit’ little gems” – Neil Glynn

“Sculthorpe seemed more ancient and echoing than any wet place I’d seen” – Richard Mabey

When we visited Sculthorpe Moor Reserve in September 2013 the Hawk and Owl Trust, were about to mark its tenth anniversary with a “Big Birthday Bioblitz” weekend – including a FREE BUG POT for every family!

The place must have changed since nature writer Richard Mabey visited at the start of the new millennium. In his book “Nature Cure” (the story of his return to health from depression) he describes Sculthorpe as more ancient and echoing than any wet place he had seen. Although impressed by the new owners ambitious conservation plans he expressed concerns for the future of ancient coppice alder stools – which he said could well have been five hundred years old.

By the time, Neil Glenn (another writer with an eye for Norfolk’s wildlife) visited a couple of years later, restoration work was well under way. A woodland hide was open, boardwalks were partly complete and there were plans to extend it to the River Wensum.  When finished, he suggested, the reserve would be one of those hidden ‘must-visit’ little Norfolk gems.

Sculthorpe 2

The result now is easy access to much of the reserve, viewing platforms and hides to observe the wildlife and seats for those who just want to contemplate the place. For a relatively small reserve it packs in a lot of wildlife spotting potential with bird feeders and nest boxes along the way to encourage it. The elevated Whitley Hide gives spectacular views over the fen and reed bed – but has a polite notice asking over keen photographers not to hog the hide.

Of course, observing wildlife is the attraction here, with the chance to see tawny and barn owls, willow and marsh tits (if you can tell the difference), great and lesser spotted woodpeckers (you should be able to tell the difference) and much more. The Frank Jarvis hide overlooks a feeding station that attracts common woodland birds and the possibility of Bramblings in winter.

The boardwalk now extends to the River Wensum and when we were there major construction work was underway on neighbouring land.  The riverside path continues on a temporary surface to two more hides overlooking a water filled scrape. This, for us, provided the highlight of the visit. Initially diverted by the sight of distant Marsh Harriers, I noticed a Kingfisher in the classic situation, perched on a partly submerged bough. It performed for several minutes hovering like a kestrel and skimming the surface before darting of to try its luck along the adjoining dyke. Our neighbour in the hide kept saying that they wished they had brought their camera. I had mine but not the skill to capture the moment, but then for some of us it’s memories that matter most.

A strong community involvement lies behind the success of the reserve. The Friends of Sculthorpe Moor are there to meet and greet and successful fundraising has contributed to impressive conservation, education and visitor facilities available now and for future generations of what they rightly describe as this hidden gem.

Sculthorpe 3

 

Gunton Park

Gunton Park

Once a month in the summer the water mill at GuntonPark, near Cromer, is open to the public. This is an opportunity to see both a working water driven sawmill – probably the only one in Britain – and to enjoy a small part of this tucked away county estate which was described in a 1920s tour guide as the “place no Cromer visitor should fail to visit”.

Now normally closed to the pubic, for a short time at least we were able to look through the keyhole of the landed gentry.  On open days there is what is described in the mill guide book as a “discretionary” walk around the Saw Mill Pond – a large area of water itself fed by the GreatLake. The house, built by Sir William Harbord in 1742, is visible across the pond.

Seeing the mill in action is quite an experience. The massive frame saw and other equipment is housed in a picturesque thatched, timber framed building that was constructed for the third Lord Suffield in 1825.  An important resource for the estate until the First World War, some of the machinery continued in use until the 1950s. The guide book tells of how in 1830, when machine wreckers threatened to destroy it, Lord Suffield relied on his 177 strong private militia to dissuade them.

The building was saved from demolition in 1979 by the Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society and the Norfolk Windmills Trust the mill is now maintained, stewarded and run on the open days by volunteers. The restoration programme continues and when we were there re-thatching in the traditional Norfolk style was under way.

On open days it is possible to combine an interest in industrial and landscape archaeology and see something of the park. Now in private ownership the house has been converted into apartments, and livestock, including a fallow deer herd, wonder in the grounds. The path around the Saw Mill Pond generally follows the edge of the water. On the west side you cross an attractive bridge and on the east side there is a good view of some brick boat houses. It was wet under foot here so a slight detour resulted in one of those highlights that most days out in Norfolk produce.  Chatting away we disturbed a fox and it was off like a shot along a row of massive oak trees. It was in good condition with a distinctly brown tail. In fox hunting days it would have been a “view halloo” moment and it was a stirring sight in such a pastoral scene.

Fishing is available by arrangement with estate owners and a couple of well equipped anglers were out. They didn’t seem to mind us as they juggled with their rods. I didn’t discuss their quarry but a young visitor caught sight of several small pike basking in the shallows.

We continued round the pond and only as the mill came back into view did we come across a sign to suggest that we might have been “out of bounds” however we used our discretion and completed the path