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Wildlife Heritage Foundation Photography Day
28th May 2010 - 0 comments
WHF (Wildlife Heritage Foundation) is based in Smarden near Ashford in Kent. It is a charity that works to help protect the big cat families from extinction. One of the long term goals for the WHF, is with the view to breeding and where possible re-introduction the cats to their home continents. They participate in the European Endangered Species Breeding Programmes, and help raise money for big cat projects worldwide. The WHF have 9 different species of big cats on show, which include Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Ocelots, Servals, Pallas cats, Pumas and Lynxes.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation Wildlife Heritage Foundation


One of they ways that they raise this money, is through Photography Days. These days cost about £100 to book, and consists of a full day at the Sanctuary, guide for the full day, morning coffee, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. An evening BBQ can be booked for an extra £10 per person. The photography days allow you to get very close to the animals, and get some fantastic photos, which could never be recreated at any other wildlife park.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation Wildlife Heritage Foundation


Although it was a very hot and sunny day, it was most enjoyable and was great to see a charity do such great work and get the general public involved and interested in saving these beautiful creatures.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation Wildlife Heritage Foundation Wildlife Heritage Foundation


WHF is not open to turn up and pay visitors but they do run specialist experiences that are open to pre-booked visitors only. There are 3 different experiences on offer: The Ranger, Big Cat Encounter and Wild Enigma Photo Safari. Prices for these are available when you contact the Sanctuary - to do this please use the "contact us" feature on their website.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation Wildlife Heritage Foundation


Links
Wildlife Heritage Foundation
Imperial War Museum at Duxford
25th May 2010 - 0 comments
The Imperial War Museum at Duxford hosts a variety of military aircraft, war ships and land vehicles, spread across 7 hangers and outside space. There are also civil aircraft on display outside hangers 4 and 5, and a prefab bungalow at the back of the American Air Museum.

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The hangers are as listed:
1. AirSpace
2. Hangar 2 – The Flying Museum
3. Hangar 3 – The Maritime Collection
4. Hangar 4 – The Battle of Britain
5. Hangar 5 – The Working Museum
6. 1940s Operations Room
7. The American Air Museum
8. The Land Warfare Hall

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The airfield at Duxford was built in World War I and was one of the earliest Royal Air Force stations. During September 1918, Duxford opened as a flying school and after the war ended in November 1918 the airfield was used as a base for the disbandment of squadrons. Duxford played a bit part during The Battle of Britain in the summer and autumn of 1940s, every day over sixty Spitfires and Hurricanes were dispersed around Duxford and Fowlmere.

In April 1943 the airfield was fully handed over to the United States 8th Air Force, which had begun to arrive in Britain the previous May. The 8th was the largest of the United States Army Air Forces at this time, in the order of 200,000 men at its peak strength. By 1951 a new concrete runway had been laid and a type T2 hangar erected alongside the four First World War hangars. Although the original T2 hangar has gone, the Museum has since put up another two Second World War T2 hangars on the same site

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In July 1961 the last operational RAF flight was made from Duxford and for some 15 years the future of the airfield remained in the balance. The Ministry of Defence declared its intention to dispose of the airfield in 1969. Plans for a sports centre and a prison were proposed but came to nothing.

The Imperial War Museum had been looking for a suitable site for the storage, restoration and eventual display of exhibits too large for its headquarters in London and obtained permission to use the airfield for this purpose. Cambridgeshire County Council joined with the Imperial War Museum and the Duxford Aviation Society and in 1977 bought the runway to give the abandoned aerodrome a new lease of life. Today Duxford is established as the European centre of aviation history. The historic site, outstanding collections of exhibits and regular world-renowned air shows combine to create a unique museum where history really is in the air.

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Food at Duxford is top rated, all of the food on offer is prepared fresh, and most dietary requirements can be met and it tastes amazing! There are 3 eating places to choice from, all at different parts of the site. You firstly have The Mess Restaurant which is located in the Visitor Centre which opens at 10am and serves hot food from 11:30am. There is also Wing Co Joe’s Cafe which is between Hangars 3 and 4 which is open at 11am, and once again starts serving hot food from 11:30am. Lastly there is Station 357, located in the American Air Museum and serves freshly made sandwiches, homemade cakes, ice creams and refreshments. All of these open at 8am on air show days

The facilities at Duxford are fantastic. Plenty of car parking, and is easily signposted from all roads from the surrounding area. Entry to the museum alone is £16.50, and children under 15 go free. I would advise allowing a day to visit Duxford, as there is plenty to do and see.

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Links
The Imperial War Museum at Duxford
The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
25th May 2010 - 1 comment
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial


I decided to visit the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, which is located just outside Cambridge. It covers an area of 30.5 acres, and is surrounded by peaceful woodland, kindly donated by the University of Cambridge.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial


The cemetery lays to rest 3812 service men and women who died in the Battle of the Atlantic, and the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe during World War II. The tablets of the missing on the south side of the land, hold over 5000 names, and Rosettes hold the names of the people that were recovered and identifies, which are accompanied by statues of a few of the servicemen.

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Just after entering the grounds, you are welcomed by a 72 foot high flagpole, which sits on a platform with the poem "In Flanders Fields", written by John McCrae. It reads:
TO YOU FROM FAILING HANDS
WE THROW THE TORCH –
BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH


Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial


The site is very impressive and i would urge people to go and visit if they are in the area, as it really did take my breath away as i walked in. The grounds are kept immaculate, and the architecture is without fault truly amazing.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial


The grounds are open daily, between the hours of 9 and 5, apart from Christmas and New Years Day.

Links
The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Stoneacre
17th May 2010 - 1 comment
Stoneacre is a 15th Century, Yeomans house, set in Otham near Maidstone. Houses built in this era were built as open halls, without any internal dividing walls. Its impressive architecture is enclosed by orchards, sweeping meadows and a beautiful, well kept garden. One of the main features of the building is The Great Hall, along with the rare and beautiful Kingpost, formed by a cluster of four engaged shafts which supports parts of the roof.

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In 1920, Aylmer Vallance, began working on restoring and extending the house, after the damage caused by World War I, to include wings either side of the Great Hall. Vallance, was a very good friend of the creative William Morris of the Arts and Crafts movement.

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As it is a privately occupied property, no photography is allowed inside, which is unfortunate as the inside of the house is spectacular, and would have made some amazing photos. Also due to this, the site is only open on a Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays. Admission price is £3.50, or free for National Trust members.

Links
Stoneacre @ The National Trust
Old Soar Manor
16th May 2010 - 0 comments
Old Soar Manor is a medieval manor house, one of the rare early examples of this kind of structure set in Plaxtol near Borough Green, Kent. It was built around 1290, which belonged to the Colepepper family. The Colepeppers where one of the largest landowning families in Kent and Sussex. They did this, apparently, through a policy of kidnapping heiresses and marrying them.

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Out of all of the buildings that were originally built, only the two-storey soler end remains, which stands over a vaulted undercroft. This was the Lord's private dwellings. The architecture is quite simple, but still very affective and beautiful to look at. There are a few narrow and low passages, and the stairs are a bit awkward to navigate, but it is very much worth it.

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Old Soar Manor is co owned by The National Trust and English Heritage, there is no entry fee, and when I visited there did not appear to be any staff at the site, but there is a room with information about the history of the property, which is a good and interesting read.


Links

Old Soar Manor @ English Heritage
Old Soar Manor @ The National Trust
Dungeness
10th May 2010 - 0 comments
Sunday 9th May saw a group of friends meet up in Dungeness for a day out taking photos.

Dungeness is most famous for its Nuclear Power Station and its shingle beach. The Power station is divided into two, the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. The first one closed in late 2006, and unfortunately guided tours of the station stopped in 2001 after security fears of September 11th.

Dungeness


It is also one of the stations along the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. The track uses the 15" gauge, and was opened in July 1927. All of the steam locomotives that run along the railway where built between 1925 and 1937, and run at a speed of 25mph. It runs from Hythe to Dungeness, and covers a length of 13 and a half miles.

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Dungeness is also home to two lighthouses. Since 1615, there have been a total of 5 lighthouses built, of which only 2 remain today. The fourth lighthouse was built in 1901, which has since become a tourist attraction and after walking up its 169 steps, gives the visitor a birds eye view of the beach and surrounding landscape. In 1961, lighthouse number five was built, which is a much more modern looking lighthouse, which replaced the lighthouse of 1901.

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The day was very enjoyable and relaxing. It was amazing how many unusual and colourful things that were found on the beach, and how many abandoned boats that were decaying, never to feel the sea again. The landscape is very bleak but still beautiful for artistic purposes.

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Ightham Mote
09th May 2010 - 0 comments
I decided to re visit ightham mote as when i went there in late november last year, the house and gardens were not open. I was also interested to see how my photography has progressed since my last visit.

Ightham Mote is located in Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks. It is a Grade I listed, moated medieval manor house built in the 14th Century, which nestles in a sunken valley. It is still unknown who built the Mote, but records have shown Sir Thomas Cawne as the first owner. The name "mote" derives from "moot", "meeting [place]", rather than referring to the body of water. It was left to the National Trust in 1985 by the American businessman Charles Henry Robinson

As you start to walk down towards to moat, you are met by a beautiful view of the estate, as you are higher up than the rest of the grounds. After walking down the steep slop, you can walk both ways round the outside of the house and end up at the entrance to the courtyard. The two things you notice first, where a dove cote and a large kennel. The kennel is the only Grade I listed dog house ever recorded, which was built in the late 19th century for a St. Bernard named Dido. The courtyard was completely enclosed in the 15th century.

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On entering the house, your eye are drawn to the beautiful artitechture which is carried through every room. There are over seventy rooms in the house, which include The Great Hall, the Chapel, Crypt and two Solars. All of the rooms have been kept beautifully and once again have a knowlegable and polite member of staff inside each room.

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Ightham Mote


The gardens are very peaceful and idyllic, and offer a slow and easy walk, exploring the streams that lead off from the moat, crossing little wooden bridges. The lawns are kept imaculate in a checkerboard style, which leads up to the mini waterfall. Much of the garden's charm comes from the constant sound of running water wherever you walk.

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Ightham Mote


For the £10 entry price it is well worth a visit. Food wise there is the Moat Restaurant, which serves hot and cold food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and a range of desserts. The gift shop i found personally a tad overpriced, but still with some very nice local produce and plants.

Links
Ightham Mote
My Ightham Mote pictures from November
Leonardslee Lake and Gardens
05th May 2010 - 0 comments
Bank Holiday Monday, i decided to go to Leonardslee Lake and Garden in Horsham, East Sussex for the day.

On arrival to the Gardens, you are met by a wonderful long driveway that leads you up to the main entrance. You pay as you enter the car park, where there is ample spacing. A £9 entry fee was paid, which within the first 10 minutes of entering the Gardens it was already worth paying.

The lake and gardens are Grade I listed and are set in a beautiful Valley which lies to the North of the South Downs, and just on the edge of the High Weild of Sussex. Sir Edmund Loder purchased the Gardens in 1889, from his wifes parents, and since then five generations of the family have lived at Leonardslee. Each generation of the family have made significant changes to the Gardens.

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Various paths can be used to take you down to the Lakes. Each of these paths host a variety of flora including Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Magnolias. As you start walking down the paths, you are welcomed by a beautiful Rock Garden, which was created in the early 1900's.

They have two eating establishments to choose from - The main Clock Tower Restaurant, which serves hot meals and cakes along with a variety of refreshments from midday onwards, and the Garden Cafe is open all day for sandwiches and other light snacks and refreshments. The quality of the food from the Garden Cafe is gorgeous and fresh, and they are willing to cater for special dietary requirements.

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Beyond the Dolls House is a 140ft dolls house, which displays a Country Estate and local town, crafted in 1/12th scale. It was started in 1999, commissioned by Robin Loder and created by Helen Holland. Since 1999, it has been extended to include outbuildings, a department store and craftsman workshops. In 2006, the exhibition had grown so large that it needed to be moved to a new location, which is where it can be seen today.

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Opposite the Dolls house exhibition is a collection of Victorian Cars which were made before 1900. All of the cars on display are owned by the Loder Family. Over the past five years, nearly all of the cars have participated in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. The collection contains three Peugeots, two Stephens cars, a Fisson, an Armstrong from Connecticut, a Daimler and also the Bonnet, a very early experimental car from the 1880s - which is quite possibly one of the earliest motor cars in the world.
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It is with great shame that the Estate will be closing for good at the end of June this year. It will be missed as it is a fabulous place which is enjoyed by all ages.

Links
Leonardslee Lake and Gardens
Scotney Castle
01st May 2010 - 0 comments
I decided to go to Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, Kent on Thursday. This estate is owned and maintained by the National Trust. It consists of two properties - the old ruins, which is surrounded by a scenic moat and gardens, and at the top of the estate lies the modern Elizabethan style house which was built in 1837 for Edward Hussey III.

Scotney Castle

The inside of the House has amazing architecture and furnishings. On the day that we visited, the whole of the house had been transformed back in time to the day of Christopher Hussey, and his wife Betty's Wedding Day.

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To me, the whole estate has a Disney fairy tale look and feel to it, as it is very romantic and peaceful. The Gardens are very well looked after, and are stunning when in full bloom.

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For the £9 entry price, it is well worth a visit. As you approach the estate from the road, the entrance is just on a corner, and the entrance is slighty hidden to the driver. The food is good and reasonable priced and the staff are very knowledgeable and polite.

Links
Scotney Castle @ The National Trust