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Where To Photograph In The Home Counties

by: CASEY-DREW | february 2018
Where To Photograph In The Home Counties
There are plenty of photography spots to visit in all seasons in the home counties if you only know where to look. So, here are my top five stand out places…
Aylett Nurseries Dahlia Field & Celebration Garden
Home counties: Herts
Great for: Macro, Wildlife
Best season: Autumn
£: Free

A firm favourite of mine to brighten up your late summer and autumn, this award-winning garden bursts to life with magnificent colour, form and texture. Enjoyed most as the sun is setting, pack your kit and park in the adjoining field. If you’re lucky you might get the place to yourself!

Arrive a little earlier and with more than enough nooks and crannies to explore, it’s easy to spend a day here. Ornate benches carved from a fallen oak are dotted throughout the garden, and occasionally the tea tent will make an appearance to shield you from a passing autumn shower – so there’s always a place to sit and soak up the scenery! Look out for wildlife living in and amongst the bug hotel, wild bunnies, and the red kites as they frequently make an appearance.

You might also spot the team hard at work to maintain the garden, so be sure to chat to them about your favourite species. They are a wealth of knowledge; seeing botany through their eyes completely changes the perspective of your photography!
Home counties: Bucks / Berkshire border
Great for: Landscapes, Wildlife, Macro
Best season: All
£: Adult £14 with gift aid

The kind of place that will leave you in awe (it did me!), there’s so much variety and so many photographic opportunities to be had.

The water garden deserves special mention as quite possibly the most extensive and most exquisitely planted water garden around. Unique opportunities present themselves at different times of day, such as what I now lovingly refer to as the ‘hidden rainbow’. Catch the sunlight just at the right time as it passes over the fountain, and you’ll see a magnificent mini rainbow! Move on to the Long Garden or Parterre, and you’ll be equally as amazed by seasonal displays of colour.

There’s a few places to stop for coffee, or why not head down to the River Thames and hop on a boat?
Home counties: Herts / Bucks border
Great for: Landscapes, Wildlife, Macro
Best season: All
£: Free

I’m merging these two into one, as really, they’re so close! No visit to this beautiful area of the Chiltern Hills sees me visit one without the other…sacrilege!

Head to Ashridge for your fix of autumn colour, get thoroughly lost in the woods, and maybe spot a deer or two. In spring, drive around the corner in the direction of Ivinghoe and behold the most majestic bluebell wood in the home counties (it gets my vote, anyway!) Now quite a popular spot, you’ll definitely want to be up early for this location to catch the best light and ensure there aren’t always people in yellow jackets in your shot…

Keep going along the road to Ivinghoe Beacon, park up, and walk to the top of the hill for a sweeping panorama of the Chilterns. Walking boots are a must here, and keep an eye fixed on the sky for birds of prey who love to hunt and glide in the wind.
Woburn Deer Park & Gardens
Home counties: Beds
Great for: Landscapes, Wildlife, Macro
Best season: Spring/Summer
£: Adult £7.50

For an easy afternoon stroll, this is the place to go. Not too big to cover, but again big enough to split your time between wildlife and horticulture, both the deer park and garden will keep you captivated all day.

Go for a walk amongst the nine species of deer, or settle for admiring the sculptures in the gardens. Visit the Chinese Dairy, and you’ll be amazed at how many original features of the garden have been restored in recent years. With a water garden and rock garden in close proximity come different kinds of wildlife, so no matter the weather, there will always be something to photograph.

Head over to Woburn village on your way out, and admire the quaintness!
Ayot ST Lawrence
Home counties: Herts
Great for: Architecture, Landscapes
Best season: All
£: Free

No longer a ‘true’ hidden gem, and famous for being the home of George Bernard Shaw, don’t think that the only thing going for this tiny village is his house!

Venture further through the quaint cottages and you’ll find the ruined church – a personal favourite of mine, which springs to life with bulbs in, well, spring! Take a walk down the public footpath adjacent to Ruin Cottage, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of fields, on the way to the New Ayot St Lawrence Church which looks remarkably Greek in origin. Keep going for about a mile and a half through unspoilt countryside, and you’ll end up in Kimpton, with plenty of ancient tree specimens to keep you busy along the way.

With a vast expanse of sky, this is the perfect place to set up for some long exposures.
About the author
Check out much more of Casey-Drew’s amazing work at her website, Twitter and Instagram!