Close to the Hedge – Hungershall Park

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Previous readers of this blog will know of my petulant dislike for rich people’s hedges! I have blogged twice in Calverley Park (1, 2) and once in Nevill about my frustration at the fact that some of the most beautiful buildings in town, which were once visible to all and in fact formed the centrepiece of the 19th Century version of Tunbridge Wells are now hidden away behind almost comically high hedges.

It is not that I think that the owners of these houses don’t deserve privacy like the rest of us, I just wish that they would find another way of obtaining it- curtains not hedges maybe.

So I have found a typical snooper’s solution- a zoom lens which has allowed me to get that bit better a view of these houses in their beautiful settings- this time, taken from Nevill Park, I have photographed down at Hungershall Park:

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And if anyone worries that I am really snooping-  first sight of an actual human owner and I promise the camera will be respectfully put away.

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Different Hedges, Different Park.

DSCF5461Having been twice to Calverley Park recently here and here, and having moaned petulantly about the rich-protecting height of the hedges, I had some suggestions to try Nevill Park instead.

I’d been there before, photographing a great tree at sunset, but had not paid attention to the houses properly.

So a few days ago I headed there- first uphill from the common and a couple of other interesting houses:

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There are glorious views over towards another set of rich dwellings in Hungershall Park:

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And then, wonder of wonders, a couple of houses not entirely shielded by hedge:

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So Calverley- it is possible to be stinking rich and not coy about it!

Next off with a ladder to Camden Park!

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You Must Have a Really Good Camera – Part 2

I blogged a couple of months ago about how comparatively unimportant I think cameras are in photography. At the same time, I do try at least to have a real camera with me whenever I go out.

Tonight I popped out to my local mini supermarket and saw the sunlight on Skinners’ looking like this:

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I reached into my pocket for my camera, but of course had left it at home- both that and this next of the way back home are taken on my phone:

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I’m quite pleased, but they won’t bear much zooming in!

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Over the Hedge Part 2- Back from the Hedge

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Since I started this blog last October, there has been one post that attracted loads more interest than any of the others. I wish I could say that it was the one with the best pictures, but instead it was a bit of controversy which got me twice as many clicks than I had ever had before.

This was the time when I moaned about the frustration of walking through Calverley Park and not being able to see the wonderful houses properly because of the inconveniently high hedges.

I railed against the injustice of this and moaned about the rich owners and whether people agreed or disagreed, they seemed to pay attention.

So as with any success, I felt the need for a sequel. Particularly when I realised that all I needed to do to get a better view was to step back a bit!

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One Amazing House

Of all the locations that I have been returning to for this blog, this Rock House above the common has been my muse. I decided a bit ago, that I’d put all of my pictures of it in one post- the first five are new:

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DSCF5308 DSCF5109 DSCF4872 DSCF4849 The rest of these, you’ve seen before. I just hope the owners can forgive me for this level of stalking! A bit of research has told me that what I call the Rock House, is actually named Gibraltar Cottage (after the bigger rock.) It was built between 1814 and 1824 as a lodging house and there used to be a pond below it alongside the road. Here it is in 1889: Gibraltar1889 And again in 1907: TWGib1907 If I am honest, it is hard to tell from these stylised pictures whether they are actually of this house or one of the other two nearby.

STOP PRESS I went back this morning and in an even more intrusive piece of stalking behaviour, photographed the house from behind- it is clearly the same building as in the two pictures above:

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At one point, all of the rocks in the immediate vicinity were apparently called the Gibraltar rocks. However, maybe as Gibraltar Cottage itself was heavily restored in the early 1970s having fallen into ruin, this may be why it looks so different in my versions- or more likely that is just photoshop!! SDIM0656 DSCF5093 DSCF4808 DSCF4810 1975168_10152333658614468_1633951183_n 1795574_10152315739519468_1965096731_n 1536480_10152151364549468_1487726771_n 547315_10151038326799468_1179004774_n DSC04580 DSCF4775 _SAM2443 DSCF4768 DSCF4766 DSCF4765 1795574_10152315739519468_1965096731_n IMG_0516 DSCF4494 _SAM0299

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An Improbable Lake

I drive past Brighton Lake every day, but it still never looks quite right to me- it has the look of a village pond, but has a major road just next to it.

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The trees and reeds around it are otherworldly and best of all is the rickety old duck shelter on its own tiny island.

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Sure enough, a bit of googling shows up its strange history. It used to be called Pope’s Puddle after the vicar of King Charles the Martyr, one WL Pope, who came up with the idea of making work for the idle poor by getting them to dig out a child friendly pond at the bottom of town.

Maybe today he’d be employing them to tear down the hedges in Calverley Park- or maybe I shouldn’t start that debate going again!

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There are incidentally some great old pictures of it here.

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Two less likely favourite buildings

I’ve featured a few of my favourite buildings in town in previous posts such as Trinity, the Rock Houses and the houses in Calverley Park, but I want to showcase two buildings which tend to be more ignored.

First is Meadow Road Car Park! Am I alone in loving the design of this 1980s building?

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It apparently is award-winning, but I don’t know from who.

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And then at the other end of town is the unloved Great Hall- virtually always empty of shoppers and a building that I only remember from my childhood because it seemed to be endlessy burning down. However, it is worth a closer look- I’ve tried to capture its details here in colour infrared:

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So over to you now. What are the other great buildings in town that we keep on missing?

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