reigate-heath-surrey-misty-morning

Reigate Heath, Surrey is a quiet unassuming place. The golf club and subsequent course dominate the heath but it’s in the woodland where the best photography, in my opinion, is to be found. On a misty late October morning, just before the clocks went back, I ventured out before the dawn broke. The mist was thick on the heath, but in the trees, the early morning light was able to produce some soft conditions, perfect for shooting treescapes. Reigate Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a very important wildlife designation nationally as well as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The lowland heath habitat includes heather and acid grassland, it is rare to find these two flora growing in the same place. Reigate Heath also has a number Bronze Age burial mounds, dated between 3-5000 years old, which are designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. It was during the Bronze Age that the Heath was clear of trees and a cemetery was established on the Heath. The heath has a rich history, not all of it welcome for the unsuspecting traveller. As little as 200 years ago, the local tavern, the Skimmington Castle was rumoured to be used as a lookout for highwaymen to spot their victims approaching over the heath from Dorking. Yet even for the brigands and highwaymen, the heath could be a dangerous place, as anyone who was caught and convicted of robbery was guaranteed to meet their maker on Reigate Heath too. A gibbet was erected at a site now know locally as ‘Gallery Hill’ named after the gallows which sent crooks on their way. The gallows remained until around 1817 when trees were planted on the heath. This photograph was taken using an Olympus OMD EM5 I, using the 14-42mm kit lens. 0.3 sec, 26mm, F9.0, ISO100. 


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