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About the Author

From bicycle touring to backpacking, watercolour painting to clay modelling, the exploration journal captures my journey through many different interests and travel adventures.

I’m passionate about finding those out of the way places that whisk you away from the concerns of everyday life. Whether this is by wading through an overgrown river or trying new paint techniques is up to you!

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Nature Reserve Spotlight: Ryton Wood

The nature reserves in the Ryton area have quickly become my favourite over the past year. Ryton Pools and Wood, Bubbenhall Wood and Meadows, Old Nun Wood and Wappenbury all border on each other and form part of the Dunsmore Living Landscape project. A National Heritage funded project to restore important wildlife habitats between Leamington, Rugby and Coventry. The reserves…

Nature Reserve Spotlight: Skipwith Common

Skipwith Common is a National Nature Reserve and SSSI near York and one of the last remaining areas of northern lowland heath in England. Most of the valley around York was once lowland heath but now only three sites remain. Skipworth Common covers 270 hectares and is a beautiful mix of open heath, birch woodland and murky ponds. This location…

A second foray into clay modelling

The previous clay modelling post in May: Modelling with Garden Clay. I once again visited family in Hampshire, and this time took extra care when digging the hole for clay. In my previous attempt I contaminated the clay with soil and so went through a process of washing it. This time I kept it as clean as possible and so didn’t…

Nature Reserve Spotlight: Crackley Wood

I discovered this Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) nature reserve whilst on the hunt for a good source of blackberries. I’ve been going through a bit of a apple crumble phase and the one thing that improves apple crumble is a handful of blackberries. Over the summer I’ve been trying to see as many of the WWT reserves as possible and…

Up and over to the Spanish Pyrenees

We started at Eylie in the Biros Valley for our second wild camping walk in the Pyrenees. The day before consisted of close monitoring of the weather forecast to ensure that it was worth while climbing up into the mountains. The next day was forecast drizzle but the day after it said “a glorious sunny day”. We decided it was…

Nature Reserve Spotlight: Swithland Wood

I recently visited Swithland Wood SSSI (a nature reserve designated as being of particularly special scientific interest) on the way back to Warwick from a work trip. I put the route into Google maps and hunted along it for a good stretch of woodland to spend a couple of hours walking. After 10 minutes I found Bradgate Park country park,…

Day walks in the Pyrenees

As well as the two wild camping trips higher in the Pyrenees mountains, we also had five or so day walks to recover and shelter from bad weather. The weather this year was unusually bad compared to what we normally have over the summer. Walk 1 – Precipitous Backpacking Walk 2 – Into the Spanish Pyrenees Castillon-en-Couserans The weather was…

Precipitous backpacking in the Pyrenees

The first stage of my Pyrenees hiking trip was to get from England to France, and then into the mountains. I landed in Toulouse at 21.30 and spent the night at a hotel close to the airport. The next day we went to collect the hire car which my dad and I would share driving. The process went smoothly until…

Practicing insect photography in Germany

I recently visited my sister near Dusseldorf in Germany, they were busy one afternoon so I grabbed my camera and walked to the nearby Stinderbachtal nature reserve. The aim of the trip was to test out my new Neewer macro extension tubes for the Sony A6000 camera. I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks so an afternoon of…

The challenges finding a macro lens for Sony A6000

In the words of this person I sent a message to about their lens: “It’s an absolute minefield!”   Overview When summer started here in Warwick I started to notice so many more insects about. Maybe because it was summer, but also because I installed an app called iNaturalist that can identify anything which led to trying to identify everything. I’ve always…