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Walking by water in Calderdale

A canal with brown water surrounded by very green ferns and foliage, passing under a stone bridge in Calderdale
Bridge 22, where a lane leads off to my studio in Perseverance Mill

[Edit: Since writing this I've had a chronic ankle injury and have had to move studio to Linden Mill back in Hebden Bridge]

Walking by water is always worthwhile. A scenic two mile walk along the Rochdale canal towpath leads to my studio. The way mostly passes along a narrow strip of land perched between the canal and the Calder river.

Setting off, I often think about many things I need to get done that day but I soon forget them as the abundance of diverting sights, sounds and fragrances, at any time of year, refresh mind and body.

A black hole which is a canal tunnel and its reflection looking black in a green landscape
Negative space. A tunnel makes a huge punctuation mark.

Bridges and tunnels play games with reflections, making black holes of shadow and haloes of light, bringing to mind ideas about portals and the mythologies of doorways, bridges and crossroads found in cultures all round the planet.

A diagonal of viivid green ferns and white flowers of cow parsley plants growing along a canal towpath with dark water.
vivid green ferns and white cow parsley line the Rochdale canal towpath

Manmade structures intersect natural forms and the unfolding year brings a parade of photogenic weeds, wildflowers and garden escapees.

Cowslips in flower along the Rochdale canal bank

These Cowslips are a particularly welcome sight with their cheerful soft yellow blooms after the harshness of winter.

Garden plants have colonised the canal bank with yellow and pink flowers.

At Charlestown the garden plants have colonised the canal bank. In spring and summer each month weaves a new pattern as different perennials come into flower.

Dewdrop diamonds of rain on alchemical plants.

Alchemilla leaves transform dew into diamonds, and blackberry leaves take on tigerish stripes as summer comes to an end.

Blackberry leaves gone stripy during Autumn.

Where the canal and the river run side by side there's an exciting contrast between the still canal surface and the turbulent river water. Hurrying home along the narrow elevated path between them makes me feel alive.

A calm and autumnal river Calder flowing between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.
The river Calder in a peaceful phase.


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