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October 2016 

Photographers Resource

ISSN 2399-6706

Issue No: 153

Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Durham

Autumn is making a break through, and by the end of this month there should be a spectacular display of autumn colours around the country. According to those who know it should be a good year as the wet and dry points of the year where at the right point for the leaves on the trees to turn into their splendid russets, oranges, reds and yellows.
October Diary
Wildlife Photography In October
Your First Visit To This Resource
I love Autumn, it is my favourite time of year. You can visit some spectacular places from woodlands like Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire to places like Stourhead in Wiltshire with its spectacular lake where autumn reflections are a must, as well as of course the countryside right outside your front door can provide some fantastic photos of nature in action and turning in ready for winter. Of course you also have the horse chestnut trees shedding their seed pods and providing hours of entertainment with conker competitions, including the World Conker Championships which take place in Northamptonshire each year. We have a complete section on Autumn Colours which as well as giving you tips and techniques in order to get some stunning photos, it also has lists of where you could potentially find somewhere near you, the lists being broken down by county.
We took a week out of our schedule last month to see a small part of the country we hadn't explored too deeply before, County Durham and in particular the area around Bishops Auckland. The main purpose of our visit was to see the Spectacular Outdoor theatre event called The Kynren. A 90 minute night time production charting the history of the area over 2,000 years. It was magical it had all the elements of being outside, the dark night sky, a very large lake which was used extensively, it contained animals such as horses, sheep, and geese and there were over 600 volunteer actors playing anything from Vikings, through medieval kings, to Victorian railway pioneers, industrial heritage and the two world wars. There were lights, explosions and fireworks. Unfortunately no photography or video allowed so not able to show you what it was like, but would highly recommend you looking out for next years event.
As it is someway from where we live we decided to take a weeks holiday at the same time and went to see a number of other places, whilst we were up that way. On the way up we stopped off at Chesterfield in Derbyshire to have some lunch and took time out to visit The Church with the Crooked Spire.

The Church with the Crooked Spire, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Chesterfield Well Dressing

Derbyshire from May to end of September is also big on Well Dressing, with different towns and villages making floral displays which are attached to their local water pumps, wells or spas. This one was in Chesterfield.

The day we visited Chesterfield it was their turn to show off their displays. So we tracked down their two displays, one was actually within the entrance porch of the Church with the Crooked Spire, while the Beatrix Potter one in the photo above was within the open air market attached to the water pump.

Beamish, Stanley, Durham 

During the week we also visited again the Beamish Heritage Museum. We had visited many years ago, but it had expanded and had a number of new attractions since our last visit, including a bakery and photographers in the town set around 1913, as well as Davy's Fish and Chip shop with its coal fired fryers, this was a destination at lunch time for a mouth watering fish and chips. Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't get to see all of it, even though we were there all day. Luckily for us they now do annual tickets, so we are planning to go back again at some point in 2017 to finish off our visit.

We also visited a museum in a rather grand looking, French Chateau inspired mansion house in nearby Barnard Castle. It was never a house, it was the inspiration of John and Josephine Bowes who

commissioned its build in order to put on public display the many items of art, furniture, ceramics, textiles, musical instruments they had collected throughout their lifetime. It was always going to be a museum, unfortunately neither of them survived to see it in its finished form as a museum, but the Trust which John Bowes set up to run it, is still running it today. As well as containing many spectacular pieces of art, it also has on display many of the paintings that Josephine Bowes did herself and some of them are magical. One of the main attractions of the museum is the 18th Century Automaton Swan which puts on a very short display at 2pm most days. I thought this was going to be a 2-3 hour visit, but we ended up staying all day, there was so much to see.

The backdrop of The Kynren was Auckland Castle up on the hill in Bishop Auckland, with it's St Peter's Chapel lit up at night. Although a called a castle it was never the home of kings or queens, or in fact a fortress. It is in fact the seat of England's only prince-bishop, the Bishop of Durham, a title bestowed on it by the Norman Kings who granted him exceptional powers to raise taxes in the north. A visit today you get to see some of the state rooms one of which, the Long Dining Room contains an impressive set of paintings by the Spanish master painter Francisco de Zurbaran of

The Automaton Swan at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Durham

Jacob and his Twelve Sons representing the 12 tribes of Israel. You also get to enter The Throne Room and can walk around St Peters Chapel which is still used today and is the resting place of five of the Bishops of Durham.

Auckland Castle, Bishops Auckland, Durham

County Durham in September was a scenic place to visit and we really enjoyed ourselves taking in some other parts of England and its history. Below is a list of all the places we visited and hopefully we will have guides and loads more photos up in the coming months. Photography gives us the opportunity to find some most amazing and magical places within the United Kingdom and there is still loads more to explore. Browse this resource for what we have found already and keep coming back to find out what new stuff we have seen.

Don't forget that our British Summertime ends at the end of this month. So on the 30th remember to put your clocks back 1 hour, but don't put your cameras away, there is still loads more to do during the shorter days and darker nights. Many photographic opportunities await around the corner.

What's New and Changed
Places Visited Over the Last Month

We have managed to get out for a few days this month, seeing loads of new places and getting loads of photographs. Those we have visited include:

Chesterfield Well Dressing, Derbyshire. Well dressing is big in Derbyshire with many towns and villages using real flowers to decorate their wells, water fountains and springs. There were two in displays in Chesterfield, the main one in the the middle of the open air market decorating the towns water pump. The other was in the entrance of The Church with the Crooked Spire.

The Church with the Crooked Spire, Chesterfield, Derbyshire.  You can see the spire from many vantage points around the town, and it is unusual in that it is a spiral spire which tilts, hence the name crooked spire.

The Kynren, Toronto, Bishop Auckland, Durham. A 90 minute Spectacular Open Air historical performance using animals and over 1,000 volunteer actors and behind the scenes personnel from the local community. There is darkness, water, lights, horses, explosions, sheep, geese, Arthur, Vikings, medieval kings, fireworks and so much more. It truly was a magical experience and one that is difficult to describe.

Beamish, Stanley, Durham    We have visited before when my two boys were much younger. On this visit they have added so much more that we didn't manage to get around it all. But we did manage to have a fish and chip lunch made in Davy's Fish and Chip Shop with its authentic coal fired fryers. They were yummy to. It brings the local history and industrial past to life through its buildings and costumed staff and the bakery also adds authentic smells. We also took a ride on the tram to get us from the Victorian Street back to the entrance. Their tickets now last a whole year, so hopefully we'll get a chance to go back during next year to complete our visit.

The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Durham. From the outside it looks like a large mansion house, but it was actually built as a museum. There are 3 floors of exhibits from large art galleries, to ceramics, Fashion and textiles, musical instruments and so much more. It was all collected by the two people who had the museum built John and Josephine Bowes. The start attraction is The Silver Swan a magnificent 18th century working automaton, which is only working once a day around 2pm. There was so much to see we spent all day here.

Locomotion, National Railway Museum, Shildon, Durham. The National Railway museum has two locations in York and a much smaller site here at Shildon. The site a Shildon being smaller allows you to get up close and personal with the 70 locos on display. On the day of our visit it was not very busy so you were able to explore and take in the different loco's and carriages there, including both the replica and original Sans Pareil built by Timothy Hackworth in 1829 to take part in the Rainhill trials against Stephenson's Rocket, although more powerful it did not have the speed of the rocket.

Binchester Roman Fort, nr Bishop Auckland, Durham. This is the remains of a roman bath house with its amazing 1700 year old under floor heating system, and the remains of the Commanders House. We have seen a number of of roman bath remains when visiting Hadrian's Wall,   but this is impressive as the columns which held up the floor are nearly triple the height of what we had seen before so gives you a better insight of what the workings of the bath house was like.

Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, Durham. Although called a castle it was not the home of kings, but the seat of England's only prince-bishop, the Bishop of Durham who was granted exceptional powers by the Norman Kings. It is considered to be one of the most important and best-preserved medieval bishops palaces in Europe. It was built as one of the primary castles and hunting lodes of the Prince Bishops. Inside you get to see some of the State Rooms and to admire its private chapel, St Peters which was created from a medieval great hall and is the resting place of five bishops. There are formal gardens to the front of the castle and a large medieval deer park featuring bridges, fish ponds, an ice house and an 18th century Deer House. The Deer House is an English Heritage property, free to enter, and sits within the large medieval deer park of Bishop Auckland Castle. It was built in 1760 to provide the deer within the park with shelter and food, there is also a small tower which originally provided rooms for visitors to enjoy the views, not accessible today.

Eden Camp, nr Malton, Yorkshire A military museum covering Britain at War, particularly the second world war 1939-1945. It is located in the grounds of an original WWII prisoner of war camp that held Italian and German prisoners. Most of the exhibits are in the huts which once housed the prisoners, with the larger military vehicles outside.

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