A Walk on the Wild Side of Bonsall with Dan Abrahams of Natural England

EarlyPurpleOrchid NatEngMapBonsall’s wild side was laid bare at an illustrated talk featuring our local Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Mountain Pansies, Mezereon, Moonwort, Leadwort, Cowslips, Heartsease, Grass of Parnassus, Birds Foot Trefoil, Knapweed and Scabious – and that’s a small sample of flowers. This blog would reach Australia (and probably does) if we listed the Moths up on Bonsall Moor and in the Via Gellia.

A really interesting evening and very well attended at Bonsall Village Hall. The information passed on during the evening will feed into the ‘Landscape of Bonsall’ Walking Trail.

Dan Abrahams from Natural England at Bonsall Village Hall

Dan Abrahams from Natural England at Bonsall Village Hall

Discover Bonsall’s wildlife: Talk by Natural England at the Village Hall, Sat 16th February – all welcome

Bonsall Moor

Bonsall Moor

Natural England’s Dan Abrahams, Lead Adviser (SSSIs), is coming to the village hall to talk about why Bonsall is so special when it comes to landscape, flora and fauna. Dan will be telling us about the unique flora that has evolved on Bonsall Moor and other sites. “There are a number of SSSIs around Bonsall (Via Gellia Woodlands, Bonsall Leys, Masson Hill, Rose End Meadows). Via Gellia and Bonsall Leys are within the Parish itself,” Dan said.

Sat. 16th February. Bonsall Village Hall 7.30pm

Mountain pansies on Bonsall Moor

Mountain pansies on Bonsall Moor

From coral seas, through Ice Ages, tundra and wildwood to the Bonsall Moor of today we travel through a three hundred and fifty million years to trace the origins of the Bonsall landscape and the wildlife that it supports.

Leadwort on the spoil heaps on Bonsall Moor

Leadwort on the spoil heaps on Bonsall Moor

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) means the site is one of the country’s very best wildlife and/or geological sites. SSSIs include some of the most spectacular and beautiful habitats: in Bonsall this comprises of the species-rich limestone grassland on Bonsall Moor which supports unusual and interesting plants, parts of the Via Gellia woodlands and Masson Hill. Nearby in Cromford is Rose End Meadows and the Cromford Canal.

Wild Orchids

Wild Orchids

 

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….. 

Researching for Bonsall History Trails in the snow

Image

Image

Bonsall covered in a mantle of snow, researching the ‘Historic Routes of Bonsall Trail‘, view of Bonsall from Stepping Lane, this path was rebuilt by German POWs.

Extract from ‘Bonsall  – A Village and its History’ published by The Bonsall History Project

“Because it was such a hot summer Evelyn Gration would often leave her newly-born daughter outside in  her pram to enjoy the fresh air. The German POWs, who had been separated from ordinary family life for so long, were enamoured of the little girl, and made a fuss of her, in German, of course. One of the POWs however spoke good English and Evelyn and her husband struck up a friendship with him, inviting him to their house for lunch on a number of occasions he was working in Bonsall. Wili Eberweuer had served in the Luftwaffe, and had been shot down over the English Channel. To begin with he had been sent to the United States to work in the cotton fields, but now, in 1947, he found  himself in Bonsall.”

Bonsall History Trail Social Media Workshop at the Barley Mow pub, Bonsall

We’d like to thank Collette and Dave for letting us use their lovely pub the Barley Mow, Bonsall for our very convivial Social Media Workshop with Lucie Kerley, Digital Participation Manager and Blogger. Yesterday’s session helped oil the wheels for planning our Social Media campaign to keep everyone informed about how the Heritage Lottery Funded Bonsall History Trails project progresses.

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“Been to a Social Media workshop a couple of years ago and have been using it ever since. It’s great to keep up to date with the latest tools and applications.” RuthBonsall History Trail's Barley Mow Social Media workshop

“My head is reeling… but I’ll have a go at blogging because I want to help share the information we uncover.” Kay

We will be keeping people informed through:

Bonsall History Trails

Bonsall History Project members meet in the King's Head in Bonsall

Bonsall History Project members meet in the King’s Head in Bonsall

Hurray! We’re one of the first groups in the UK to get an ‘All Our Stories’ Heritage Lottery Fund Grant!

This exciting project, The Bonsall History Trails and Leaflets led by the Bonsall History Project, has been given £9,300 to tell their own story and find out more about the heritage of Bonsall culminating in a series of Illustrated Trail Leaflets.