Thursday, 2 October 2014

At Trompynton, Nat Fer Fro Canterbrigge....

Everyone is telling me that Autumn is here. It's got a little bit cooler and some rain is threatened to arrive soon. Experts inform us that the Autumn colour should be spectacular this year. Even the local weather forecast is saying that trees have started to change. Really?

I went for a little wander at Byron's Pool local nature reserve but, although I found some brown and yellow leaves lying around (as you can at any time of year), it seems we'll have to wait a little longer for the full show.

No matter - green can be quite attractive too. So I went for a stroll with my camera and my memories anyway. This little strip of woodland alongside the River Cam in Trumpington, near Cambridge, was where I used to ride my bike as a youth, where we punted up the river a couple of years later, where I used to walk with my father on Sunday mornings and where I've often come with either binoculars or camera during the last forty-odd years.

On old maps this area is called Old Mills, presumably to differentiate it from the "modern" water-mill at Grantchester which has been unused since 1929 and was built several centuries before that. There were also two other mills in the past but no one's quite sure where they were! It's generally thought that Old Mills was the site of the mill mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

At Trompynton, nat fer fro Canterbrigge, (Cambridge)
Ther goth a brook and over that a brigge,
Up-on the whyche brook ther tant a melle; (Mill)
And this is verray soth as I yow telle.

All that remains today from that mill are some rather silted up fish ponds.

Over the years I must have photographed nearly every tree stump in this little wood, some of them must have grown considerably over the decades I've been visiting, while others have fallen and rotted away, thanks to the efforts of the wonderful fungi.

I zapped up the colour on one of these photos once and was astounded at the range of colours hidden in the greys and muddy browns. I'll do another in time for my next post, just to show you what I mean. 

And there are so many shades within the greens too, more I think than digital technology can reproduce accurately.

In case anyone was wondering, Byron's Pool gets its name from the fact that Lord Byron - old George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron himself, he of the Romantic poetry and excessive and reckless lifestyle - used to swim here while a student at Cambridge. Virginia Woolf is also said to have skinny-dipped in these same limpid waters.

Just as I was thinking about leaving a flash of azure zipped downstream - a Kingfisher. I watched its hasty departure then was aware of movement just below the bank where I was standing. A grass snake, known in olden times as a water snake, was making its way purposefully to the other bank.

Take care.


  1. That old moss and vine covered tree is so beautiful. I love your photos. Who would ever have thought Lord Byron and Virginia Wolf would have the same taste in swimming holes!

  2. 'Tis a lovely spot, regardless. And while skinny dipping appeals to my memories, the realities of age and common sense team to spare spectators from such a sorry sight.

  3. My computer is being weird again so I cannot see any of your photos but I can at least remember our visit last fall to Byron's Pool, and those soft woods. A lovely place, both in person and in my memory.

  4. What a cracking looking place - layers of nature and history. I kind of miss places like these!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. You must have been inspired by the impressionists

  6. I too cycled out of Byron's Pool from Cambridge but, instead of finding a romantic wonder, was disappointed by finding a dank black waterhole. I got good exercise riding the bike anyway.
    Thanks for the quote from Chaucer, I used to read the prologue in Old English and read the tales to my husband when we were courting. My physicist husband had his awakening to poetry from that reading.
    I think I would appreciate the place much more now that I am wholly tuned in to nature.

  7. Methinks this is a bosky wood, where his ghostly Lordship swims his pool..and Tennyson notes, with studious eye, How Cambridge waters hurry by...? What a WONDERFUL looking place and fabulous pictures. I'd really like to drop in there someday.

  8. Love the colors and textures in these photos. Quite beautiful there. It will be interesting to see it in fall colors. Looking forward to that.

  9. Beautiful photos…especially that first one!

  10. Lovely photographs John. I especially like the fungi and that wonderful grass snake - well spotted.

  11. This place looks amazing! I like the shot of the grass snake.

  12. What a wonderful place for a walk and some pictures. I love your shots.

  13. What a treat to have a grass snake and a kingfisher! Beautiful collection of photos. It is looking very green in your area - here there are still a few green trees but mostly it's all orange and brown here.

  14. Green can and does look fantastic John, especially here :) the only thing is that it belies the temperature right, or is it stll warm over there ?

  15. It's still looking very green there. Thanks for the interesting trivia about Byrons Pool.


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