Hanbury Hall

National trust properties can provide a wealth of photographic opportunities with their immaculately kept houses and gardens. Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire is one I have visited many times over my lifetime as the gardens provide many seasonal highlights. Its worth visiting at different times of the year, to capture the changing moods of the properties.

Home Grown Wildlife

Its amazing how much wildlife you can encourage into your garden just by letting it grow naturally. Up until a few years ago we used to mow this paddock several times a year. Today many would see it as field of weeds but to me its a wildlife haven. I included the barn in the image below, as it is also an important part of the habitat. Lots of insects and spiders benefit from the red brick walls that warm up in the sun throughout the day. Some of my best findings have been discovered around the edge of the building making it an important area of my study.

The area of study: Paddock


Various species of arachnids living in the paddock


In order to encourage particular wildlife, I laid down six chip board panels amongst the grass. The panels provide a whole host of wildlife with shelter and in some cases a home. The boards warm up nicely in the sun which the snakes particularly benefit from.


A litter of bank voles in a nest under one of the panels


Within a week of putting down the panels, I had mice, voles, shrews and grass snakes living underneath them. Over the course of the summer I have lost count of the number of nesting voles that I have encountered under the boards.

The population of bank voles in the paddock is booming. Everywhere I look I find new nests. If you just sit and listen your can hear squeaking and rustling coming from within the long grass.
Amazingly, bank voles become sexually mature at just five weeks old. Female bank voles can produce up to four or five litters a year which explains the numbers found within my paddock.

I have been documenting the bank voles with the aid of my field studio to create ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ style images.

The setup


The results



To be continued…

The project continues

The last few sunny days have really started to bring the garden to life. I can once again continue the Meet Your Neighbours project on a regular basis. This year I shall have a new pond up and ready for the months ahead. Where there is water there is life, so I can’t wait to find out what takes up residence in the garden with this added feature. 

Here are a few from the last few days.

Running crab spider - Philodromus disparimage

Orange Tip Butterfly - Anthocharis cardaminesimageCommon frog tadpole - Rana temporariaimage

Caddis flyimage

Common centipede - Lithobius forficatusimage

High resolution images can be viewed with the following link:-