20141016_Urban Photographic Project – Coventry City Centre

• 20141016_Urban Photographic Project.
• A return trip to Coventry, centred on The Cathedral Area.

20141016-43_Foraging _ Grey Squirrel_Holy Trinity Church Coventry



20141016_Photographic wander in Coventry

When : 29th January 2012
Who : Several Photo Course Members & Our Tutor David Harding – but essentially most of the time on my own.20141016-14_Outside Stained Glass Windows - Coventry New Cathedral
Where : Coventry City Centre, England, UK
Maps used : None
Start and End Point : Ford Street Car Park (Off Cox Street, Near Fairfax Street Sports Centre/Swimming Pool Entrance)
Distance : Approx 3.5 km
Significant heights : None really (Unless you choose to climb The Old Cathedral Spire, but I didn’t this time, but if you’ve never done it, it’s well worth the effort).

Summary : A photo-course trip, to take some photo’s.
The brief : Take photo’s within various possible broad suggestions

• Establishing Shots.
• Muted Colour.
• People / City Scenes.
• Black & White.
• Old & New.
• Reflections.
• Outdoor Flash.
• Details.
• Splash of Colour.
• Aerial.
• Symbolism / War Symbolism.

20141016-02_DETAIL_Choir Statue - Coventry Old CathedralThis is a departure from the normal country walking I write about. In fact, it’s almost the complete antithesis from most posts I’ve “published” before. However, City walks have their place in the walking world and I did walk a little distance. So, for anyone thinking of visiting Coventry, I hope you can glean a little info from my trip, albeit via a slightly odd-ball set of photo’s.

Just as an aside, if you like this post, you might also wish to visit my earlier post from my first photo-course trip to Coventry from a couple of years ago.

We were to meet on The Cathedral Steps near to the iconic St. Michael and The Devil sculpture and after gathering as planned on what turned out to be a very grey, dull and quite frankly uninspiring day we all headed up the steps into The Old Cathedral (sometimes known as The Cathedral Ruins).

The obvious category that applies here is “Christian Symbolism / War Symbolism”.

20141016-07_Remembrance Poppies + Cross of Reconciliation - Coventry Old CathedralYou don’t need to know much about the history of Coventry, to know the significance of The Blitz and the fire storm that reduced the magnificent medieval building to nothing but a shell. However, with the phoenix of Coventry rising out of the ashes the remarkable movement of reconciliation symbolised by the cross of nails grew too. This was cemented by the completely contrasting modern New Cathedral built adjacent to and only yards away from the old one.

20141016-03_Home Front Memorial - Coventry Old Cathedral (b+w)In fact several of the suggested categories lent themselves to the imagery within and around The Old Cathedral and this is where we all started. However, personally I was kind of struggling to find some real inspiration; I think with Coventry being my home town, my familiarity [and somewhat negative view of the city centre] was getting in the way, but I persevered and as we all fragmented and went in our own directions, I started to “see” things that I could try and make some interesting images of, whilst trying to avoid the normal clichéd shots taken by thousands of people over the years.20141016-10_Reconciliation Statue - Coventry Old CathedralAnyway, my zig-zaggy route taken for the day was :-

• Ford Street Car Park + Fairfax Street.
• Priory Street.

20141016-27_Silver Birch_Urban Environment_Coventry       20141016-28_Silver Birch_Urban Environment_Coventry
• Cathedral Steps (next to the Devil).

20141016-17_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• The Old Cathedral Ruins.

20141016-01_Stained Glass Window Fragments - Coventry Old Cathedral• Bayley Lane.

20141016-13_Bayley Lane + Guildhouse from - Coventry Old Cathedral• Outside of The New Cathedral.

20141016-15_Outside Walls + Windows - Coventry New Cathedral• Sir Jacob Epstein’s “St. Michael’s Victory Over The Devil” sculpture.

20141016-18_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• Priory Street (and Coventry University Buildings).

20141016-24_A Coventry Boy _ Industrial Heritage Statue   20141016-29_Curved Steps_B+W   20141016-25_Coventry University Buildings - Abstract

• Cope Street (behind the Main swimming pool and sports centre).

20141016-31_Rear View of Coventrys Fairfax Street Swimming Pool20141016-34_Coventry Sports centre (Shape of an Elephant)• Beneath Junction-3 of Coventry Ring Road.

20141016-37_Coventry Ringroad + Underpass (b+w)• Cox Street.

20141016-41_Motion Blurr_Coventry Bus + Zebra Crossing• Cuckoo Lane, Priory Row and Down the side of Holy Trinity Church (with brave squirrels).

20141016-22_Georgian Buildings near Coventry's Old + New Cathedrals20141016-45_Foraging _ Grey Squirrel_Holy Trinity Church Coventry• Hill Top (a rare bit of old Coventry).

20141016-40_Hill Top (Walkway Passage) Coventry City Centre• Back to re-meet my fellow photography friends in the Cathedral area.

20141016-19_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• (A Wetherspoons pub for lunch at the top of Trinity Street).

• Ironmonger Row + Cross Cheaping in persistent rain, across to the West Orchards Shopping Centre (for some Christmas pressies).

20141016-50_Rainy Pavement Reflections_West Orchards Coventry• Pedestrian shopping precincts/Trinity Street.

20141016-52_Crepes_Reflections_Coventry Precinct Cross• A quick stop-off at Millennium Place and Whittle Arch (I was now running a bit late to get home).

20141016-55_Rainy Reflections_Coventry_Millennium Place     20141016-57_Sir Frank Whittle Statue_Millennium Place  Coventry     20141016-56_Rainy Reflections_Coventry_Millennium Place Big Screen

• And then back to the car-park via Hales Street/Fairfax Street.

Rather than just take the “over-view” of this little tour, I tried to take more odd or detailed types of shot. I quite like some and I like some not quite so much. I’ll let you decide if you get anything from any of them.

If you click on a pic, it should launch larger on my photostream on Flickr.

Or, please visit my set on Flickr for some more pic’s not shown on this post.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my photo’s. Please feel free to comment on anything you wish.
T.T.F.N. Gary

20140309_A Short Springtime Warwickshire Walk Cawston to Dunchurch

20140309_A Short Springtime Warwickshire Walk Cawston to Dunchurch

When : 9th March 2014
Who : Me and Craig
Where : Cawston and Dunchurch (near Rugby), Warwickshire
Map : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No. 222, Rugby & Daventry
20140309_A short Springtime Walk Cawston to Dunchurch (Nr Rugby)Start Point : SP 470,737
End Point : SP 485,713
Distance : Approx. 2.5 miles (4 km)
Significant Heights: None to speak of

Summary : A short spring time walk in Warwickshire – Just because we could, and because the weather had improved enough to think we might enjoy no rain and maybe not much mud underfoot – Both a rarity in the winter of 2013/2014 as we’d had excessive amounts of rain and therefore lots of mud to go with it. After over six years of writing about my walks, this is my first ever sponsored blog post.

If you click on a pic’ hopefully it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

I’m currently sat at home during the Christmas Holidays (2014 if you happen to be reading this in some future year). It is very cold and frosty with temperatures barely reaching above freezing during the day. It feels as if winter is just really taking hold and that spring is some way away. 20140309-20_Dunchurch Roofs + St Peter's Church TowerWell, spring IS just around the corner, and I thought that this short walk I did last March would be good reminder that pussy willow, daffodils, spring crops and the like are maybe just eight weeks or so away.

We’d planned a family lunch time meal at The Dun Cow Inn in Dunchurch, so, just because I could, I decided that a quick walk there would be a pleasant thing to do. I would then meet my family who would have driven the short distance up Cawston Lane. It then transpired that my 12 y.o. son wanted to come with me, so we sorted out our walking boots and set off with just ourselves, my ancient old Karrimor Hot Ice ruck sack (more of that later) and my camera for the short walk after throwing a change of shoes into the boot of the car for when we got to the pub/restaurant. We guesstimated it would take about 40-45 minutes if we put our best foot forward.

20140309-01_Cawston Grange Perimeter Path

Cawston Grange perimeter path. (looking back towards Trussell Way)

Now, we live on the new Cawston Grange Estate to the South West of Rugby, but you don’t really want to hear of the route taken through the estate, so, just for the purposes of this blog post, I’ll start on Trussell Way just past Cave Close and Durrell Drive on the edge of the estate. If you fancy doing this walk in some form or another, it’s a good parking spot at the moment as Trussell Way is currently a dead end and with no house drives or side roads/traffic to contend with. However, I’m pretty sure Trussell Way will be extended into what is currently local farmland when (that’s WHEN, not IF) the housing estate is enlarged right down to the old railway bridge near Potford’s Dam/the A4071 Western Bypass island.

20140309-02_Cawston Grange Perimeter Path

Cawston Grange perimeter path, heading towards B4642.

Anyway, that’s by-the-by for now, we made our way to the nearby path that runs around the estate, turned left and walked up to meet the B4642 Coventry Road, (which used to be called the A4071 before the Rugby Western Relief Road was built). From here we turned right to follow the road on a tarmac path. We are right on the edge of Rugby here, with a view over farmland on the other side of the main road bounded by an attractively ramshackle old wooden picket fence. I’m trying to make the most of this view every time I pass by, because this field too is earmarked for a housing development which I understand could be started imminently. As we walked, it was a joy to see the spring flowers in the soft sunshine, I especially like the newly budding pussy-willow and large clumps of happy smiley daff’s growing around the base of the trees lining the roadside.

20140309-03_Cawston Grange Pussy Willow

Springtime pussy willow

20140309-04_Cawston Grange Path near B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

Daff’s near B4642 – Coventry Road – Cawston

20140309-05_Road-side trees + Fence_Cawston B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

This view soon to be obliterated when the field becomes a new housing development.

20140309-08_Road-side Daffs + Hedge_Cawston B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

Roadside daff’s – A happy sight.

20140309-06_Cawston Rugby - Renatus

Renatus – Cawston

Anyway, we stayed on our side of the road, on the tarmac path, passing the older part of Cawston with some rather grand looking houses, the first of which is now a much extended, rebuilt and re-invented building which is some-sort of cosmetic procedure clinic nowadays (Renatus I think it’s called).

20140309-07_Cawston Rugby_B4642 Coventry Road (old A4071)

B4642 Coventry Road (Junction with Cawston Lane)

20140309-09_Cawston Farm + Public Footpath

Cawston Farm

We soon reached the point where we needed to cross the road (opposite the Nature Trails Nursery) to pick up a farm track heading down the side of brick built farm buildings and the nursery school building. The farm by the way is, unimaginatively (but perfectly descriptively) called Cawston Farm.

20140309-10_Cawston Farm + Public Footpath

Farm Track – Heading towards Cawston Woods

Continuing on, the track heads gently downhill (very easy walking) past a series of low wooden sheds. I’ve often wondered what these sheds are for :-

• They seem far too low for sheep or cow barns.
• Maybe pigs ? (but there’s never been much smell as we pass by).
• So chickens would be my next guess ? (always far too quiet for that).
• It’d remained a mystery for the 12+ years we’ve lived near-by.
• Well today, for the first time amongst all the times I’ve passed by, all the shed doors were wide open and the mystery was solved :-

20140309-11_Cawston Farm + Chitting potatoes

Chitting potatoes

In each shed there were thousands of boxes-cum-trays stacked one on top the other in long rows. Between the rows were a series of vertically hanging fluorescent strip lights – Very odd! …. It just HAD to be investigated closer – and then it all made sense, the trays-cum-boxes were filled with POTATOES! being “chitted” ready for the forthcoming planting season. Chitting is the term given to where little shoots are encouraged to grow from the “eyes” or dimples on the potatoes, and this gives the plants a head-start when they do eventually get planted. My dad used to do this when I was a lad when he kept an allotment. The only difference here was the industrial scale.

20140309-12_Approaching Cawston Woods_Public Footpath on farm track

Gentle descent towards Cawston Woods

Moving on, the track heads into an area of woodland, known locally as Cawston woods, but more accurately these are Cawston Spinney on one side (no entry-nature reserve these days) and Fox Covert (access allowed at owners discretion, but in practice just open to the public). I think the woods are owned by Mitchell’s Potatoes, which would link nicely with the sheds’ usage just passed by). Today’s walk took us straight through the wooded area, now rising gently but staying on the track, to emerge into farmland of both ploughed fields and pastureland bounded by mature hedges. There’s nothing overly exciting here just typical pleasant mixed Warwickshire farmland. Livestock kept hereabouts are sheep and cattle and one or two fields have horses and crops grown are of course the spuds as well as wheat, oil seed rape, maize and beets.

20140309-13_Stile _ Farmland near Cawston Woods

Looking back toward Cawston Woods (from the path joggle)

At the end of the first field, the farm track makes a 90-degree bend to the right and heads off into the distance, but, the right of way, now a path, goes straight on, with a hedge on the left and a ploughed field on the right, to reach a stile in the field’s far left hand corner. Once over the stile, the route here joggles left and then right ignoring the path off to the left heading towards a different part of the woods. The path then follows another hedge (still on our left) to reach Windmill Farm. The route here carries straight on through part of the farm yard via a couple of stiles. Please be warned it can be rather muddy underfoot here, but you’ll soon emerge out onto another wide farmtrack/drive, which is Northampton Lane.

20140309-14_A little bit of mud (bypassable today) at Windmill Farm - Dunchurch

It is often muddy through Windmill Farm and on Northampton Lane

Navigation and gradient (or lack of) is easy here, as it’s a simple turn to the left along Northampton Lane to just follow the wide track for quite some distance (we passed a group of farm implements including a muck-spreader en-route). These bits of equipment always seem to be here and somehow have a timelessness about them, they’re still of a scale to suit smaller fields rather the larger “prairie” fields that seem to be so prevalent in many places these days. Still, such is modern farming practices I suppose. Happily the farm fields around Dunchurch still appear on the whole to be on the smaller scale.

20140309-17_Northampton Lane - escaped chicken (Red Hen) Dunchurch

Braving the traffic ? – A game of chicken I suppose

Northampton Lane is quite long and straight, disappearing into the distance but is easy going (especially today, as it wasn’t at-all muddy, which it can be) to reach Cawston Lane (where there was a little mud to negotiate). Directly opposite, Northampton Lane continues, but now as a proper tarmac’d road, with houses along one side. However, the only “traffic” today was a lone red hen looking for food on the path and road. I was going to call the bird a chicken, but I understand chicken is a term reserved for when a hen is dead and about to become food!

20140309-16_Spring Crocuses_Dunchurch

Cheery spring crocuses

The continuation of Northampton Lane was not our route now though, although road walking was indeed required to our final destination …. We turned right into and along Cawston Lane, the path after crossing to the opposite side, becoming more built up with houses along the way, passing Addison Road and a Methodist Church en-route, and including passing a patch of cheerful crocuses on a patch of green. After re-crossing Cawston Lane we soon reached a Tee-junction with a main road (A426, Rugby Road) where we turned right heading towards Dunchurch Village Centre with an attractive mix of cottages, some thatched, but all slightly dominated by the tower of St. Peter’s Church.

20140309-18_Dunchurch Cottages + Church Tower

Dunchurch cottages & St. Peter’s Church tower.

20140309-19_Dunchurch Thatched Roof + Bird Sculpture

Ornamented thatch + peacock sculpture.

We arrived at The Dun Cow just before 1pm almost exactly 45 minutes 20140309-21_Dunchurch Cottages + Dun Cow Inn - Signageafter we’d set off, changed foot-ware and threw rucksack and boots into the boot of the car, which we found quite easily in the pub’s car park and went in to find my lovely wife and daughter, enjoyed a good dinner and a well-earned pint (or three) for me.

Just to finish, a little about my favourite ever ruck sack – I bought this way back in the mists of time and at some point I modified the waist strap by stitching on a wider padded version for a more comfortable carry. It has served me tremendously well for many years now, but is n20140309-23_Hot Ice 30 - Karrimorow finally showing its age (a bit like my knees), the bright red when new is now a dusky pinky colour and the stitching in places is finally giving way. I’ve been looking for a new day-sack for some time now, but nothing has quite fitted my criteria as I’m 6-foot 4-inches tall and I’ve not found a 30/35 litre capacity sack long enough to suit my back length. It seems most sacks have gone kind of short and bulbous, meaning I have to go to a small back-pack sized sack. I have a decent Berghaus Verden 45+8 litre sack with an adjustable Biofit back, but it’s really just a bit large and heavy for a day walk and now 20140309-22_Clean Boots - Salomonmy son is walking with me more often, he tends to carry the Hot Ice leaving me with the big bag.

Now, there are very few outlets in Rugby, meaning I have to travel to try on kit. Normally, I go to the far side of Coventry or down to Leamington Spa where there are a couple of decent sized shops but I’ve just learnt that Cotswold Outdoors have recently opened a store just off the M6 in Coventry (in the Leekes shop) which will be easy to get to. So, now that Christmas is over, I think a visit will be in order, especially as I’ve read on-line that they do a ruck-sack fitting service. Perhaps it’ll kick start my 2015 walking.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.