Thursday, 22 December 2011

Midwinter at the Arminghall Henge

As feautured in an entry on May 8th called 'Prehistory and Power,' this site at Arminghall, just outside of Norwich, was the location of a prehistoric (around 3000 BC) timber henge. Nothing remains today - the rings that marked the earthworks of the henge are barely perceptible, and the site was only rediscovered in the 1920s by an aircraft flying overhead, the markings clearer from the air. The electricity pylons seem to be the only things of any real physical note these days.

Nevertheless, I made my way here for 5.30am this morning, to mark the moment of the winter solstice. The Arminghall Henge was orientated around this celestial occurance, after all. Yet whilst ancient worshippers were there for the sunrise, and the returning of the light, I was more interested in being present at such a long-forgotten place of light worship in the midst of the longest night. It was my attempt at paying my respects to the darkness, as much as the light. I'm no religious man, but being respectfully aware of our basic utter insignifance against such overwhelming - if deceptively simple - concepts as 'Night' and 'Day' seems fairly common sense, to me.

I took a few pictures. Using a flash would of course have been totally self-defeating, so here are three, blurry and all, using only the pre-existing light available.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"And Us Donkeys Wake Up Weary..."

A couple of the beautiful donkeys and Shetland ponies at the Little Tinkers Sanctuary, located next to the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Charlie's Cottage: Derelict Swanton Abbott

A derelict cottage in the North Norfolk village of Swanton Abbott. Apparently, this was last the residence of an older man known as Charlie. Even when occupied, the cottage was without electricity or running water. Standing alone with fields on one side of the building and woodland on the other, it's easy to imagine how, in the depths of winter, this could have felt like a scene from a hundred years past.

NB - I didn't realise at the time, but this is actually marked on the Ordnance Survey as 'Strawberry Hall.' A somewhat grand title - so much so that I kept misreading it 'Strawberry HILL,' as I simply assumed this wee cottage was far from a hall...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Blood Will Flow: The Blood Hill Wind Farm

Lying between the villages of Hemsby and Winterton-on-Sea is E.On's smallest wind farm in the country - the fabulously named Blood Hill wind farm.

According to the excellent website Hidden East Anglia, the name does have grisly origins: "The Blood Hills here (TG473185 area, now covered with wind turbines) are traditionally named from a legend that on these slopes was fought a battle between Saxons and Vikings, a conflict so terrible that the hillsides ran red with blood. The name Gibbet Hill nearby also suggests other possibilities." (http://

How true this is, who knows. All I know is, as with May's entry on the Arminghall Henge (, I'm quite fascinated with ancient sites that nowadays, seemingly seperated from their past relevance, still represent power and energy.

Although not much of a 'hill,' the sight of the turbines from a distance, especially if combined with a dramatic sky, is quite reminiscent of the crucifixes on the hill of Golgotha.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Watch the Weather Change: The Hemsby Weather Station

North of Great Yarmouth, just outside of the small seaside village of Hemsby, are the remains of a former meteorological station. Abandoned for around a decade now, the site is now in quite a state. When in use, the station gathered information for the Met Office.

In the recent past the site has been mooted as a possible location for a new wind farm (there is an existing wind farm nearby at the fabulously named Blood Hill), but at present there is no sign of development here.