By the hand of man

Corfe castle in evening light

Moving off the Dorset coast we had a few days in inland areas of southern England.  At first I thought that there was nothing all that interesting to blog and then realised that there was a theme to a number of the images.  Where the highlights of the earlier part of the break had been in the natural environment, in the second part we saw quite a few great sights that were made by man covering many centuries.  The first of these works is Corfe Castle (seen above in evening light) which dates back from around the 11th century.

Looking down on Corfe castle

It is a remarkable (& very photogenic) structure.  The walls are crumbling and nothing like vertical in many places but it is a very appealing place to visit and is one of the National Trust’s most visited properties.  Spending a little more time in the area than I have in the past enabled me to explore some other viewpoints and, in the one above, look down on the castle.

Cerne Abbas figure

Heading north from Corfe we found we were passing Cerne Abbas and it seemed silly to pass without taking a look at the “giant”.  There are a number of figures of various sorts in the hillsides in the area with quite a few “white horses”.  When the outline has been recently cleared to allow the chalk to show through they are more striking however the relatively low angle of the light on the above image does give a sense of the figure.  There is more than a little confusion about the age of the figure and it is not possible to definitively date it as older than the 17th century.

Stonehenge

We then headed further north to take a look at one of the most renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites in the UK – Stonehenge.  While I’ve passed it a number of times it is some years since I’ve had the time to stop and look properly.  Tourists are now far better organised and the time of wandering among the stone is long gone sadly.

Closer view of some of Stonehenge

Even in the relatively harsh light the stone are very striking and the labour required to achieve the structure would have been quite remarkable.  Once again dating is not fully established on all parts of the structure however it is between 4 and 5 thousand years old.

Seend church

Heading towards Devizes which was the nearest town to where we were staying for a couple of nights we found the small (& attractive) village of Seend.  The church there looked wonderful on the afternoon autumn sunshine.  I felt the smoke at the base of the tower added a certain mysterious quality to the setting.

Caen Hill locks

We spent some time walking the Kennet & Avon canal and it is here that our last man made structure in this sequence was found.  This set of locks, Caen Hill locks, is also the most recent structure built in the 19th century and now restored to leisure use.  There are 29 locks in the main series and it is a remarkable piece of engineering and restoration.

On the lock at Caen Hill

Even at this somewhat quieter time of year there were plenty of people making use of the canal for a variety of leisure activities.  In addition to people using the long boats on the canal for holidays there were plenty of fishermen around along with many walkers and cyclists making the most of the weather and the canal towpath.

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