ARCHIVE: LEVELS 78 – A FARMER AND HIS WIFE, OFF TO CHECK THEIR CATTLE AS THE DAWN BREAKS


A farmer and his wife, off in their Land Rover to check on their cattle out on Tadham Moor, on the Somerset Levels, after the long, late November night; 27 Nov 2014.

I was having a second breakfast of hot coffee and thick, bitter marmalade sandwiches in the Magic Carpark, when this old couple drove by, waving and smiling in a very friendly way, and made off down the foggy track to make sure that all was well with their cattle after the long, cold night.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 86mm; 6400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



11 comments

  1. The red brake lights keep this photo in the realm of reality. All B&W would have been picturesque, but in color I feel the damp cool weather and feel closer to all the other elements depicted. I like this one a lot, Adrian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, thank you very much. I know just what you mean about using colour here. I have been a great advocate of B+W but, increasingly, I think that colour does the business, and especially so in scenes that don’t have much colour, like this one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course I love this photo of these Levels I will never see for myself. 😢 But the vehicle gets to me this time. I like that the little red (break?) lights are on. That tiny splash of color. Recently I took a photo of a very very old (older than me!!!) Ford truck that was in front of me. The only thing missing was the tiny red break lights. I tried but failed. We never came to the necessary stop to get me that splash. Missed opportunity. 🤨
    XXXATPXXX
    Stay safe, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love “older than me!!!”!!!! When talking to the two daughters of our friends, the two who often feature on this blog, when I tell them about my youth I have to be quick to explain that I didn’t grow up in Victorian times ……
      And as for break lights, which are actually brake lights down our way you understand, break lights being the ones that light up when its time for a cup of the old hot and strengthening, i.e. a tea break, these may either be the Land Rover’s brake lights or its side/parking lights.
      And I know exactly how you feel when you say that you’ll never see the Levels for yourself, I find that admission especially moving. There are many things I know I’ll never see or see again, but I’m quite at one with that; I hope you are the same. You stay safe too, my friend, take care. xxxXXX!!! ATP

      Liked by 1 person

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