Edge of the Vale

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In the summer I spent a few evenings and early mornings shooting the hills surrounding the valley of the River Stour — the Blackmore Vale — in North Dorset and South Somerset.

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For much of the year, the clay and low limestone ridges of Thomas Hardy’s vale of little dairies provide little to keep a landscape photographer occupied for long.

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But in the golden hour light, the steep scarp slopes of the chalk downs to the south and east can. The Dorset Downs in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Cranborne Chase in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB — all part of the extensive chalk formation that forms much of the upland and sea cliffs of southern England — provide promontories, like Bulbarrow and Fontmell, and islands in the vale, like Hambledon and Duncliffe.

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And the more gently rising limestone that divides the Stour flowing south east to the English Channel from the Yeo, flowing north west to the Bristol Channel, dropping in its own scarp into the Somerset Levels, with its own peninsulas and islands at Corton Beacon and Cadbury Castle.

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These photos all taken in August and September 2012, but more can be found in the Dorset gallery.

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