Longer term readers of this blog will have heard this already, but for those more recently looking at my pictures – first, THANK YOU! for doing so – and second here is a little explanatory context re the Somerset Levels, which are an area in southwest England that you may not be familiar with.  My first Levels post – here – goes into more detail, but in essence the Levels are the second largest area of reclaimed flatlands in the UK, after those of East Anglia.  Many areas in the Levels have a distinctive landscape in that, rather than being enclosed by fences, the fields are separated by water-filled ditches, called rhynes (rhymes with “scenes”), which make for a very open and distinctive landscape.

And so to this picture.  Out on Tealham Moor, a favourite area of the Levels, early in the morning, I’d driven up Jack’s Drove, which is the single track, tarmac road visible upper left in the picture.  Since these Levels fields are surrounded by water-filled rhynes, each field must have a little bridge across the water, to allow the farmers to get their livestock, tractors, etc in and out of the pastures.  And so, very carefully, I backed my car onto one of these tiny bridges, so as not to leave it blocking the very narrow road.  And care is needed here, because any misjudgment would risk plunging both me and my vehicle into many feet of water and thick, muddy ooze.

The car safely parked, I relaxed, opened the driver’s window, looked out and was confronted by this quintessential Levels scene.  First, the landscape is dead flat and, in this area, below the level of the high tides that lap the shores of the Bristol Channel, which is not far off to the west.  Global warming and its attendant sea level rises are a very relevant issue here.  Only far away, on the horizon, can higher ground be seen.  These are the long line of the Polden Hills and, back in the days when most of the land in this photo consisted of impenetrable lakes and marshes, the Romans built a road along the top of these hills, to get down from Glastonbury to the sea.

Nearer at hand, the long line of the rhyne, the water-filled ditch, stretches away in front of us, with the black tarmac of Jack’s Drove up on its left.  The grassy tufts in the foreground are along the edge of the tiny bridge upon which the car is parked.  And to the right a short section of apparently purposeless fencing.  But its not purposeless at all.  The field’s gate is out of view to the right and, given half a chance, cows, sheep. etc would try to squeeze around the edge of the gate, and escape the field – and would either gain the bridge and make off down the road – or fall into the rhyne while trying.  And so every gate in this distinctive landscape has such short stretches of fencing on either side, to keep the livestock in.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – definitely worthwhile.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the B&W 08 profile; Tealham Moor, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wedmore; 14 Feb 2020.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    I like that your posts swing back and forth between the city streets and the open country of the Levels. 🙂


  2. A fascinating read enhances a nuanced image.


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