We have just returned from our Easter break in Devon. I grew up on the edge of Dartmoor, leaving at 18 to go to Art College. When you grow up in such a beautiful place it's easy to take it for granted and although I have always enjoyed going back, its only been since I have had a child that I really appreciate how lucky I was. Endless open space to roam in, traces of an old war time airfield and areas of quarry to explore, no path to stick to and no need to get in the car to go for a walk!
I had planned to leave early morning on our last day, but the weather was so glorious that I texted my sister "meet you at Burrator in half an hour". in the old days we would have cycled there with a packed lunch and some change for an ice-cream but as we were on our way home we drove, parking up on the edge of the reservoir. We spotted my sister and I said to Hugh (my son) Ok, which way shall we go? He pointed to the steep bank so up we climbed to the open moorland past the random iron gate standing alone (where did it used to go?). Hugh dragged off Auntie Alison to explore while I scoured the landscape for interesting things to photograph, dog violets, wood sorrel, celandine, nestling in the moss and between the rocks.
The waterfall is on the edge of the forestry land and we spot that someone has been den building, Hugh run excitedly towards them then whips out his sketch book and declares "I am going to build an extension but I need to draw a plan first, you two can collect sticks for me!" After collecting a few twigs I get side tracked by a tree in full blossom so I go and investigate and take a few pictures, I think it's a wild cherry. All too soon it is time to leave, but I am glad we delayed our departure - lots of pictures gathered to sketch from, and a lovely morning had in the fresh air.
Then I spot a hawthorn tree in full bloom, it looks like its been covered in shredded paper so I go to take a closer look. It's a lichen known as old mans beard and it looks stunning against the little white flowers, you just don't see this in Oxfordshire, it's an iconic Dartmoor image. I have to take a picture but its at the bottom of a steep & crumbling drop, I tell Alison & Hugh I will catch them up at the waterfall and tentatively climb down, standing on one leg with arm stretched out I get the shot I want without doing serious injury! I wonder how I can adapt the image in to a paper cut - tiny strings of paper connecting flowers? I look forward to experimenting when I get home.