Lead Mining Guided Walk on a dry, beautiful Sunday afternoon 28th April

The group meet outside The Barley Mow

The group meet outside The Barley Mow pub Bonsall

What a good turnout for the guided walk on Sunday! About 20 local residents turned up to try out the first of the guided walks to promote the local history trails around Bonsall. After a quick pint in the Barley Mow http://www.barleymowbonsall.co.uk we were ready to face the hills and dales…….

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill just up hill from the Barley Mow

 One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor

One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor – using railway sleepers from the disused railway line nearby, closed as a result of the Beeching Act. D.H. Lawrence wrote about the lead mining landscape in his short story ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’.

Peering down the shaft - this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Peering down the shaft – this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws, customs and liberties – he only read a short section from this very long poem.

Mike Lynch of the Bonsall History Society reads the lead miners poem by Edward Manlove.
 Titled: The Liberties and Customs of the Lead-Mines within the Wapentake of Wirksworth in the County of Derby.
London: 1653.

To find out more about Edward Manlove, a lawyer residing in Ashbourne and the full text of the poem visit https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Manlove,_Edward_(DNB00)

The dogs were engrossed

The dogs were engrossed

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

The official launch of the 6 History walks around Bonsall will be on Sunday afternoon 19th May – all welcome!

Plough the fields and scatter – The Landscape of Bonsall Walk number 5

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall – a remnant of medieval farming practice

In walk number 5, The Landscape of Bonsall, you can see examples of different archaeological features on view, some made through medieval farming practices.
One landscape feature to look out for is the ‘corrugated’ look on some fields, created because of the ridge and furrow method of farming.  There are a few of fields with a corrugated look dotted around the village. “Each field was divided into furlongs (long furrows), which in turn were split into strips. An individual’s strip was not in one parcel but scattered throughout the open fields to include both good and less-desirable land.” Ridge&Furrow2
 “As oxen, and later horses, trudged up and down pulling a plough, earth was banked up forming characteristic ridges and furrows.”.  Bonsall – A Village and its History
Horse ploughing - courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton http://www.pegtopfarm.co.uk/

Horse ploughing – courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton http://www.pegtopfarm.co.uk/

For further information on Ridge and Furrow in the UK see:
Plough Plays, mummers plays and the like were performed in January for entertainment:  “Twelve Night was the period of celebration between the Winter Solstice and the New Year until the Reformation. Farm work traditionally resumed in England on the first Monday after Twelfth Night (January 6th), which was the end of the Christmas season. This was the time of year when plowing began for the spring grains. This isn’t really the most appropriate time to plow in England, where the winter rains are likely to make the ground too wet, or even worse, it may be frozen. Still this was the custom”. For more information see http://piereligion.org/plowsongs.html
Here’s a lovely performance of an old Plough song…….

Bonsall Wildlife Talk starts at 7pm 16th February

Talk on Bonsall's wildlife - talk starts at 7pm

Talk on Bonsall’s wildlife – talk starts at 7pm

Sorry! the talk by  Dan Abrahams starts at 7pm and not 7.30pm – don’t be late (if you are it’s my fault!).

Bonsall Village Hall, 7pm Saturday February 16th

Kay

Landscape Photography in Bonsall

“Histograms, f stops, white balance, exposure compensation, coffee and hobnobs….”

Choosing the right 'f' stop

Choosing the right ‘f’ stop

It was bitterly cold last Sunday but the Bonsall Heritage Trails ‘Landscape Photography Workshop’ – lead by professional photographers Ian Daisley and Alex Hyde was a resounding success.

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

We met in Ian’s studio at the Via Gellia Mills and after coffee we were straight into a brief slide presentation on picture composition, followed by the professionals helping everyone get to know their digital SLRs. Nobody’s camera was left on ‘automatic’! For many of us it was a revelation – discovering the meanings of Exposure Compensation or Live View.

Reviewing photos

Reviewing photos

With a view to getting images suitable for use in the 6 Bonsall Heritage Trail Leaflets we set off for the most photogenic quarter of Bonsall – around the Cross, St. James Church and Stepping Lane.  Here we were able to put into practice the theory we’d been given in the morning. The weather had other ideas. But horizontal hail and a very icy Stepping Lane didn’t deter the dedicated photographers from getting some excellent architectural shots.

Checking composition

Checking composition

The group were then taken up the lane beyond Brumlea Farm to take pictures of stone barn typical of the Bonsall area. The light got better and everyone had oceans of space to combine the technical aspects of the course with the creative elements which the sunlit snow, fields and barn gave us.

Ian and Alex - photographers extraordiaire

Ian and Alex – our professional photographer leaders

Then back down to Ian’s studio for very welcome tea and a fascinating review of everyone’s captures from the day’s shoot and a very interesting introduction to image manipulation.  We all came away buzzing with new information and a lot more knowledgable about our respective cameras.

Thank you Ian and Alex for making the workshop so enjoyable and for sharing your skills.  To view all the best photos taken on the workshop visit our Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonsallhistory/

Thanks for reading this post – please send the link on to anyone else who may be interested…..