I started this project, and its accompanying blog, to prove to myself and to others that interesting and beautiful subjects can be found in familiar places on our own doorsteps. One such place, and the subject of this blog, is Milton Country Park less than half a mile from where I live.  The 95 acre park was created around disused gravel pits.  About one third of the park is water, the remaining area is woodland and meadow with children's play areas and two small gardens.  Situated as it is on the edge of the fens some four miles north of Cambridge, the park neither encompasses nor gives views to any dramatic scenery.  The flora and fauna of the park is not significantly different from that found in the field edges and roadside verges in the surrounding intensively farmed countryside.

Having regularly visited the park for the 22 years it has been open, I was surprised to be able to go into the park one day in February and find a number of colourful pictures to take. These are shown in my first 'Welcome' post in this blog.  It is from this discovery that this whole project started.  Subsequently, I have found that by focussing on the 'intimate landscape' rather than the grand vistas of traditional landscape photography, there are  more than enough subjects to sustain this blog.  It is at this scale – a view of just a few square metres – that the interest and variety is to be found and which so often goes completely unnoticed.  Some of the subjects that I am finding interesting at this level include: the contrasting textures of intertwined plants; the flowers growing on the logs beneath the trees; the complexity of the shadows of the wood canopy; the reflections on the water; and dark and mysterious inlets off the main pits.  It is here also that I have found surprises such as  cowslips and bluebells; common enough elsewhere, but I certainly had not seen them in the park before.  In any case, the park offers very few vistas: there are views across the pits and some open meadows but such opportunities are limited by the amount of woodland in the park.  

From the start, I have written this blog retrospectively: the photographs in each post are at least two or three weeks old.  This has arisen partly from the fact that I started the blog three weeks after I started taking photographs for the project.  However, this lag has provided me the opportunity to be free of the constraints that come with the  more usual diary approach.  Instead of showing what I saw in the previous fortnight or so, I can be governed by nature's calendar.  I was able to show the first green shoots of spring in one post, and devote the next post to the flowers out in early April; although both posts covered the same time period.  I can show a whole process, such as the greening of the park, in one post even though it took place over six weeks.  Finally, I can devote as many posts as needed to times when a lot is changing, and far fewer posts when nothing much is happening.

This blog is a record of my journey of discovery in the very familiar surroundings of the park; but, above all, it is a celebration of Milton Country Park.

For the location of the park click here   and for a map of the park  click here (for your convenience as a reference for the captions, this latter map will open in a new window).

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