Since our Photography trip abroad had to be rescheduled, we decided to use our time off to utilise our National Trust membership and visit a number of outdoor attractions for a week. The plan was to visit Sevenoaks, move onto Hampshire, then make our way back through the Surrey Hills. It wasn’t a big trip, but since we’ve not been able to go anywhere for months, this trip was heaven-sent.
Below: Key stops on our journey
We started with the short drive from our home to Sevenoaks and the weather was splendid. The first stop on the way was the National Trust owned Coldrum Longbarrow, an ancient burial ground from the neolithic times. It stands on a small hill in the Kent countryside overlooking fields of wheat with little towns in the distance. The sunshine was great for photography as it showed the true colours of the stones and it really brought out the yellows of the field. The short walk there was quite nice as well; we took some photos of the fields with close-ups of plants and some local wildlife. What we found odd is that the tree next to the burial mound had ribbons and photos tied on it, we thought it was a prayer tree as looking closer we saw photos of pets and pet names etched into the tree. When we were losing light, we moved onto the budget friendly hotel of our choice.
On the second day of our photography holiday, we visited Knole, a large estate with a great number of deer that freely roam the site to their heart’s content. Unfortunately, the house was closed due to the pandemic at large, so we walked around the outside of the house and took a lot of photos of the sweeping landscapes, hoping that we could get some good photos of deer. The weather was not our friend.The skies were grey and drizzly so they provided a challenge for our shooting conditions. We also had no idea where we were going, so we accidentally wandered onto the golf course section of the estate. We probably did miss out on some photography opportunities on the other side of the estate, but as the weather was getting worse and vowed to return when the buildings were fully open.
After we had a lovely hot chocolate and brownie from the National Trust cafe, we got in the car to our next destination Oldbury Hill. We were expecting to find the remains of a fort at this destination, but we think we did not venture far enough into the muddy woodland. We did see some very nice trees and took some photos of the greenery. We also came across an odd spiders den, which we spent some time trying to get a shot of but it was difficult due to the light in the woodlands and not having a tripod with us. We did manage to get a shot that we liked, but had to do some small edits in post-production to enhance it. Eventually, the rain was getting a little heavy and we decided to go back to the hotel.
Sunday was another National Trust adventure to Emmetts Garden, an Edwardian garden with rare plants and trees, offering great panoramic views from the hillside. The garden was spectacular and so well looked after, we had garden envy! The hill parts of the gardens were a little bit of a struggle, but the conditions were perfect for photographing the scenery. We took photos of the hills from the viewpoint and of the flowers in the garden, and the walk was very pleasant. We also had time to photograph some of the cows in the field nearby, capturing a good photo of the cows overlooking the hills. After this, we drove to the next destinations to find them too busy to stop, so we found a nook to take a drone shot over the hills, gaining a unique perspective of the land.
The rest of the day was spent driving to our next destination, Southampton. On the Monday our plans were dashed due to it raining off and on, so we had an inside day. Tuesday, however, was perfectly fine. After a fry up breakfast, we went to collect the extra passengers for our journey and drove to Testwood Lakes wildlife reserve near Totton. There were some great open spaces here and we decided to take a drone shot and some portraits as the clouds were dramatic and the light was perfect for it. We also found a herd of cows to photograph, (there seems to be a lot of cow photos on this trip!)
In the afternoon, we drove to the wonderful New Forest. We had been there before, but since the New Forest is so large, the scenery was quite different from the woodland walks we did the last time we were here. We went for the large open spaces and tried to find a pond that would’ve made a great photo. We didn’t have any luck with that, but we did find interesting trees and beautiful scenery and some memorable shots.
Stay tuned for part two where we explore the wonderful Surrey Hills.