This time last year I visited King’s Wood, Challock, Kent, in my opinion Kent’s grandest woodland. It was Bluebell season, which I love and I managed to get a couple of okay photographs, attached. Like many UK based outdoor photographers, I follow the country’s annual wild flower blooming calendar, and try to go to the ‘best’ regional flowering places, whether to see Snowdrops, Daffodils, Gorse, Bluebells, Poppies, Honeysuckle, Heather, Sunflowers, or Winter Jasmine. This year, though, visits have, for obvious reasons, had to stop.
I am, of course, like the vast majority of us, 100% committed to Social-Distancing and abiding by government guidelines. We must protect each other and our key workers – heroes to a person and work together to combat Covid-19 Coronavirus. Which, rightly, means that I can’t just re-visit King’s Wood as I like for Bluebells 2020. I don’t live within daily exercise walking-running-cycling distance* and can’t claim that the 41-mile (66 km) drive there is an ‘essential journey’.
As the lockdown continues, other wild flowers – certainly the Spring and Summer bloomers, will start appearing in favourable (for them) places around the South East. But few of us will be able to see them in these habitats, unless we live nearby, or the pandemic is defeated sooner than is currently anticipated.
Where I live, in North Kent, there’s some lovely countryside that I can walk-run-cycle to for daily exercise: a country park, lakeland area, the rivers Thames and Darent, a few small woodlands. And while there, I can briefly enjoy the fresh air and grab a few hand-held shots before heading home. But alas, none of them are renowned for memorable displays of wild flowers. However, all is not lost. It just means that, during this unprecedented period, those of us interested in the UK’s wild flower timetable 2020, must positively resort to a combination of 4 actions:
As an outdoor photographer, I naturally miss getting out (in my case) across Kent and East Sussex. And what a time to miss, now that Spring is here. But let’s be clear, my loss is trivial. Right now, lives are at risk, heroes are working long, stressful hours, and the population is fearful. So, for me at least, it’s time to count my blessings, do what I can to help my local community and then, where possible, get some photographs to share with others that might, if only for a short moment, take their eyes and thoughts elsewhere into the great UK countryside and provide a welcome smile.
*Any reference to daily exercise allowance is in accordance with the guidelines that apply at the time of writing. These may be subject to change, if tighter lockdown conditions become necessary.