Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Redgrave and Lopham Fen through the seasons

In late April we visited Redgrave and Lopham Fen on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk, it was Spring – the leaves were fresh and bright green, the reeds beds were full of birds, bright flowers spangled the heath and marsh and we heard the calls of the cuckoo and bittern . . . it inspired this linocut.

Yesterday we returned, our intention was to have a long quiet walk – but when we arrived we found dozens of cars in an overflow carpark! Suffolk Wildlife Trust were hosting a Apple Day Fair, it looked like fun so we paid the entrance money and went in for a look around . . .

There were lots of apples!

and some cute hedgehogs!

I bought bargain plants and vintage garden tools

and then we went for our walk . . .

Redgrave and Lopham Fen is large enough to feel like a wilderness; the weather was perfect – warm and breezy – for a day striding out between the rustling reed beds.

I love the textures at Redgrave and Lopham Fen, especially the vertical patterns of the reeds broken up with areas of water that reflect the sky.

The swirling patterns of this willow's bark echoed the movement of the reeds and leaves in the wind.

Sunlight illuminated the vivid olive green lichen on the Elder bushes,

and the russets of the Teasel heads.

Along a green lane outside the reserve we came across the quintessential toadstool – the Fly Agaric

And back inside the nature reserve area we stumbled upon lots of Giant Puffballs  . . . and these really were giants! as you can see compared to our OS map . . .

. . . or to my toes!
The puffball on the left has been munched by something, the one on the right has matured and is puffing out spores.

However tempting the thought of bacon fried with slices of puffball for supper, we left them untouched.

As we made our way back across the fen we met the resident herd of Konik ponies, these were introduced in 1995 to graze the vegetation prevent scrub invading the precious heath and marshy grassland habitats. Native British ponies aren't suited to living in these tough, wet conditions but these Polish ponies thrive. Konik ponies have the characteristics of the now extinct Tarpan – an primitive type of horse that roamed the plains of Europe after the Ice Age. These beautiful stocky ponies look as if they've walked out of a neolithic cave painting! They were very placid and didn't mind a bit that I took loads of photos – I think they'll be appearing in a print inspired by Autumn at Redgrave and Lopham Fen.

I hope you had chance to enjoy the unexpected warm sunny weekend, before we batten down the hatches for the first of the Autumn gales.



  1. love the proper toadstool, so red,we hoped to see some yesterday on our mushroom foray but we will have to go out and hunt again if we get chance.

  2. The perfect Fly Ageric. I love seeing them. Looks like a fun day

  3. Fascinating - I never knew that about the Konik horses.

  4. What a lovely looking walk, so idyllic!

  5. It looks a glorious place - one I will have to explore soon. I have never heard of those horses, something new I've learnt today :-)

  6. What a wonderful day out in such a beautiful place.

  7. One of my favourite places to go for a walk, and home to an amazing plant fair every Spring. They also sell large bags of bark mulch very cheaply, about £2 I think so we always stock up.

  8. Celia, I do like your spring-inspired linoprint and and see why you'd want to see the fen area again in its autumn colors. How right you are about all those vertical lines in the landscape providing you with more printmaking opportuntiies.

    Fun to see those horses, too, and to find them to be obliging models.

    Best wishes. xo

  9. What a beautiful place for a walk and the weather to match.

  10. I find it heartening that the ponies are used in that way, far more sensible than using chemicals to control the scrub.

    Another lovely post Celia, thank you so much. Oh, your print is exquisite!

  11. Fabulous day for a long walk - love the colours and textures in your photos - and that sky! Congrats on your scoop with the vintage tools, they look really lovely to work with.

  12. Celia, this looks like a fantastic place. It's a reminder to me to make a visit to a local reserve which has 'fen' in its name, although not at all like this one. You certainly live near proper fen territory. The photos clearly show why you were inspired to make the print and I love the fungi pictures too. I saw some shaggy inkcaps on a walk the other day and thought about picking them to try and make the ink... but I let well alone. Leave them for someone else to enjoy as well I think.

  13. Gorgeous, gorgeous print. The detail and the colour palette are stunning.


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