Escape from the city articles seem to be a running theme for me at the moment so why not stick to what I’m good at and introduce you to the beautiful hidden world of Kingley Vale. A place for your hit list this summer if you're along the English south coast. Described as special, spooky, and spectacular, read on to find out more about this magical countryside setting.
Desperate for a new place to shoot on a hot day, I came across Kingley Vale on the net. Only 40 minutes away, situated north of Chichester, and the promise of a yew tree woodland, I jumped straight in the car and headed over with a friend to discover what Kingley Vale was all about, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
After a little bit of trouble finding the small West Stoke car park, we headed out on the short walk leading to the start of Kingley Vale. All along the southern slopes, there are the most beautiful tangled yew trees. This was the first time I had encountered yew trees in real life and I have to say, I was amazed at the complexity of all the tangled branches. For those of you, who, like me, haven’t encountered a yew tree before they are famous for their many gnarly branches that burrow underground and grow back up. Kingley Vale is worth a visit alone to check out the dense population of yews that you can weave a path through. Even in the bright sunshine we were shaded, and I have to say, it felt a little creepy. Sadly my shots of the trees were a bit of a fail as I prepared for strong sunlight and then found myself in the shade. Boo!
It was actually the Kingly Vale meadows or Bow Hill & Devils Hump as it is known, which blew me away. My camera was loaded with my first-ever attempt at a film destroy (10 min in hot water and lemon juice before shooting if anyone’s interested!) I had no idea what to expect but the combination of strong sunlight, a beautiful setting, and lemon juice seems to have worked!
The Kingley Vale meadows feature two steep inclines if you wish to do some walking and both offer views out to the sea. As we were escaping for the day, we were quite content to sit around, have a picnic and relax. The whole time we were there, which was a good few hours, we saw only 3 other people. I couldn’t believe in the amazing weather, the place was practically deserted. I had seen so many shots taken from a low perspective that I loved, so I also tried to recreate this.
Be sure to set out and explore this place when the sun is shining and you’re loaded with xpro film. The results are crazy! If you’re not overly into landscapes and nature, bring a group of friends for an amazing portrait setting. Also, why not try rolling from the top to the bottom of the humps for a mind-boggling experience!