A walk through Brown’s Folly Woods
We parked at Bathford, walking along the footpath through the fields from Mountain Wood (Road). The morning was somewhat overcast, with rain forecast from lunchtime onwards. Because of this, we have our coats packed into my rucksack – with my sketching kit.
Across the fields and we enter Brown’s Folly Wood, which is managed by Avon Wildlife Trust. The wood is on a steep hillside and we set off up to the left climbing steeply. Heading for the top of the hill. All the while you can see Brown’s Folly Tower sticking out through the treetops on the top of the hill.
We pass some of the old Stone Quarry workings which the wood has grown up around. The paths are pretty steep all the way up, but very pleasant. Eventually, on reaching the top you have splendid, wide-ranging views across the beautiful Limply Stoke Valley and Bath beyond.
As we walk along the ridge of the hill the Tower gets larger, looming out of the trees. Brown’s Folly Tower was commissioned in 1849 by Colonel Wade-Browne. The squire of Monkton Farleigh Manor and local quarry owner. At the time, business was slow for him, so he saw the Tower as a means of employing idle workers, as well as being a good advert for his stone.
The Tower replaced a semaphore tower which had previously stood on the hilltop. The Folly is also Grade II listed and the whole 100-acre hillside is an SSI.
The Charcoal Sketch
I sketched quickly in Charcoal, working in an A4 ‘Winsor & Newton’, ‘Field Sketch Pad’. This medium seemed to suit the slightly bleak feel of the wintery day. I sketched in a little first, rubbing this with my fingers. To plan out the sketch and put down some contrasting tones.
After this, working back over with more confident strokes for the trees and darker areas on the Tower itself. Finally, I used a putty rubber just to add a few high lights to the branches that were in front of the tower. Other than the ivy there were no leaves, so I wanted the sketch to have a more ‘stark’ feel to it.
We were now, quite literally, on the downward journey. Threading our way down the twisting, muddy paths, through the woods. Arriving back at the stile leading to the fields at Bathford. As we were putting our muddy boots into the boot of the car, the forecast rain appeared. Happy after our rewarding walk and happy to miss the rain we all piled into the car and back to Paul’s house (who was kindly putting us up) for a cup of tea!
Why not check out another of my slightly different Woodland Charcoal Sketches – Wooded Path
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