On the edge of the Peak District National Park, and Sherwood Forest – of Robin Hood Fame – Clumber Park is the landscaped gardens of what was once the home of the Dukes of Newcastle. Like many such Stately Homes after the First World War, death duties, social change and family decline it was demolished in the 1930s and later bought by the National Trust.
I visited as a young boy, when admission was free and access unrestricted. With my brother, I would roam through gardens slowly returning to wilderness, taking for granted the unusual trees and shrubs. It seemed to go on for miles, varying between the more formal structures near the remnants of the house, to rough moorland, forest and the edges of surrounding farms. It is much busier now, and the improvements the National Trust have made will be welcome to many, although my feelings are mixed.
For a photographer, especially one in search of unconsidered trifles, it is a gem. There is a wider variety of textures, shapes, light, shadow, form and disorder than I could ever tire of. It isn’t a place for the classic landscape, but for a macro of a toadstool faery ring, capturing magical faces in tree bark, wild geese flying across a lake into the sunset, it is rich with possibilities.