On the edge of Exmoor Workshop

Adventures in Photography – Somerset and Devon

13th – 16th May 2022 

I have just come back from running my new Somerset and Devon workshop and wanted to write a short blog post about the weekend and the workshop experience. We were very lucky with the weather – we had a good mix of sunshine, moody clouds and a few showers but nothing that prevented us from getting out.

Somerset and Exmoor are locations that are both close to my heart. I lived in Somerset for 14 years and know the area well. It is a beautiful location, lush and green and really diverse for photography.

Our base for the weekend was the Porlock Weir Hotel which is an excellent place from which to explore the surrounding area. The rooms are really comfortable, the location overlooks the harbour and is perfect for sunrise and the breakfasts are excellent and really welcome after an early morning of photography.

The workshop began with a photo walk around Porlock Weir on the Friday afternoon which was followed by a sunrise shoot on the Saturday morning. There are some lovely compositions looking out across looking across the bay towards Hurlstone Point. The old wooden groynes at the entrance to the harbour make an interesting foreground and a good subject for some long exposure photography. Sunrise at this time of year is about 5.30am so after starting just before 5am and shoot for over an hour we were ready for breakfast back at the hotel.

The daytime session on Saturday focused on the area around Kilve which is situated at the based of the Quantocks.

Kilve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and consists of a rocky beach backed by shallow cliffs. These are formed from shale and layers of blue lias stone in which fossils can be found. It is the geology and rock formations which make this location interesting for photography.

The beach has some amazing textures and some fascinating layers of rock interspersed with shallow rock pools. Photography wise there is plenty to shoot from wide scenes to more detailed compositions.

From Kilve we headed into the Quantocks and explored the old Drove Road which runs above Crowcombe. The route, sunken in places, is lined with hedge banks, a unique system of earth banks and walls topped with beach trees. These were a commonly adopted system of marking boundaries in Somerset and Devon and you will find them all over the woods in the Quantocks.

The day was rounded off with an image review and post processing session back at the hotel.

Sunday started early with a visit to Lynmouth to photograph the beach and its beautiful harbour. There are some lovely compositions here looking along the bay and around the harbour. Although this is a busy location with lots of boats it is picture postcard pretty and is good for wider vistas as well as more intimate compositions.

From Lynmouth we headed over to Watersmeet where the East Lyn river meets Hoar Oak Water. The rivers are surrounded by one of the largest and most beautiful ancient oak woods in Britain. This is a fantastic landscape for photography. In May the valley is full of woodland flowers and the trees are looking vibrant in their spring foliage. There is also a lovely National Trust tearoom here for when you need a break from photographic compositions.

We finished our photography session on Sunday with a walk around the Valley of the Rocks. This area encompasses a dramatic and rugged section of coastline with some amazing views and some really cute feral goats. The valley is a U shaped dry valley that runs parallel to the sea with steep and jagged rock faces on its seaward side. It is a great place for sunset photography.

The workshop finished on Monday with some more photography around Porlock.

I am planning to run this workshop again next May. There will only be 4 places available so I am running a pre registration for this event. If you would like to come along you can register now and reserve a space without leaving a deposit. The price will be similar to this years at £895 but this may change once the room rates at the hotel have been issued in September. Deposits will be collected in September. Registering reserves you a space but is not binding and there is no obligation to continue with your booking. Please email me if you would like to reserve a space.