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May 2017

Photographers Resource

ISSN 2399-6706

Issue No: 160

Carew Castle - A View from the Tidal Mill, Pembrokeshire  

May is public holiday month in the UK, with two long weekends to be able to get out and explore more of the UK. The first is in fact in place now with the 1st being our May Day bank holiday. The second is at the end of the month with the Whitsun weekend. In some towns and villages across England there will be traditional celebrations taking place in parks with Maypole displays and Morris Dancing. Padstow in Cornwall celebrates with it's 'Obby 'Oss Day, while Malvern in Worcestershire has a Donkey Procession. Some Quick Links:-
May Diary
Wildlife Photography In May
Your First Visit
The countryside around us is blooming with all the flowers, trees, hedgerows and more displaying their wares to attract the bees and insects, and the wildlife pairing up for this years new offspring.  Wherever you look there is something new to see. I'm about to make my annual pilgrimage to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire to see the carpets of Bluebells which cover the forest floor. The best place within the forest to see thousands of them is the road which connects New Road near Blakeney to Top Road in Soudley. From New Road, once you have gone under the arched bridge you will see the woodland floor carpeted with them on both sides of the road, you will not no where to look first, and you will stop many times to take in the spectacle. If you time it just right, at this part of the forest the tree cover comes in a little later and as the sun dapples through the blossoming tree cover the colours are quite strong. If you want a good picnic spot and then a comfortable walk around a lake you could stop off at Mallards Pike Lake. A good spot in the forest for a good aerial view of the forest and to watch birds of prey soaring above the woodland canopy is at New Fancy. This is a Forestry Commission site set on the old New Fancy coal mine site and as well as viewing platforms, to take in the view, there is also a Geomap which explains the underlying geology of the forest with where the mines and quarries once were, marked.

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

The second weekend in May sees the annual National Mills Weekend, celebrating our milling heritage and provides you with an opportunity to get up close to many Watermills and Windmills, throughout England and Wales, many of which are not normally open to the public. Many of these mills were once thriving businesses providing flour to the local communities for their daily bread.

Some which can be found in Living History attractions, such as the water mill at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, both have a working watermill which produces flour and explains how it would have worked within the community.

There are some areas of England particularly that have a larger number of surviving and working windmills including Kent, Sussex, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Take a look at our Windmill Section for technical articles on how windmills worked, a list of the 190 still with sails, together with articles on how to best go about photographing them.

Scottish Mills are not included within this weekend, probably because there are not so many of them that survive. One such mill we visited on a trip to Scotland was, a Tower Mill, at St Monans on the coast of Fife. It was originally built in the late 18th century and probably was a power mill for the nearby Saltpans.

St Monan's Windmill and Saltpans

It became a ruin in 1853, but today it has been restored and although has limited opening times for getting inside to look around, there are some fantastic views you can get of both it and the coastline around it. Take a look at our St Monan's Windmill and Saltpans page for details of it's history and the fantastic views you get.
At the end of May is the Whitsun Bank Holiday, another long weekend where we celebrate the end of spring and the start of Summer. Again England celebrates with community fun, such as the Woolsack Races in Tetbury Gloucestershire, where teams of four people run in relays ,carrying a 60lb woolsack up and down a 1 in 4 gradient hill. These races go back to the 17th century when the Drovers wanted to show off to their ladies. Today of course the ladies also take part. May is also the month of cheese rolling in the streets of Stilton in Cambridgeshire, at the beginning of the month. Then along with the cheese, grown men and women throw themselves down a very steep hill in Gloucestershire on the second holiday weekend. There are many activities taking place during this month and with, the extra long weekends, plenty of opportunities  to get out and enjoy the weather, spend time with friends and family, take some great photos and above all to have some fun!

Cheese Rolling - Gloucestershire

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Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, Pembrokeshire  

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