Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn
Bradford-on-Avon is one of many Wiltshire jewels and lies only about half-an-hour's drive from home. Like Bath, it dates from Roman times though it was particularly wealthy in the 17th century when its dominant textile industry, made possible by the thirty or so wool mills which sprang up around the River Avon, led to a flurry of building, much of which survives. It has a rich blip potential which always leads to a surfeit of possibility. I have visited it before more than once with my River series in mind only to be taken with something else instead.
Yesterday I went with a view to walking to Avoncliff and photographing the aquaduct which takes the canal over the River Avon and the Great Western Railway line there. I'd tried this before and managed to set off in completely the wrong direction and ending up near Trowbridge. Driving to Avoncliff another time had also failed to work as although I reached the aquaduct from the north, my vertigo prevented me from either walking across it or looking down from it, so I got no suitable pictures.
On this occasion I was successful, having a most enjoyable walk to Avoncliff Aquaduct along the Kennet and Avon towpath. Reaching the aquaduct from the other side means there are paths down to the river level to view it from east and west without having to cross it. Third time lucky, except I decided to blip something completely different instead.
Of course, there were many distractions, not least on the canal. I even met a lovely barge dog that I befriended; that let me stroke its head with every indication of appreciation while it lay on the towpath beside the Crispy Duck (I have problems with dogs solely because I have hyperacusis and their barking sets off my phonophobia and causes inordinate misery).
I returned to Bradford beside the River Avon on the Barton Farm Country Park walk. People were kayaking on the river and I encountered some pollarded trees and examples of structures made from willow branches. There was a sole swan on the river near the Town Bridge. I had earlier seen it see off a mallard drake that had dared to come too close to where the swan was feeding, and there had been much flying, hissing, paddling, splashing and quacking as the mallard flew for its life. Swans are graceful but not gracious.
In the end I had no option but to choose a rear view of this magnificent medieval monastic tithe barn. Dating from 1334, it was originally part of a grange and used to store produce, and if you watched the eighties TV series Robin Of Sherwood you will recognise it as it stood in for Nottingham Castle. It sports pairs of porches on either side and measures a massive 168 by 31ft (51 by 10 metres), supporting 100 tons of stone roof tiles.
The canal runs behind it and standing on the towpath I was struck how each are iconic representations of their eras - the fourteenth century barn and the eighteenth century canal. Construction of the Kennet and Avon actually began at Bradford Lock in 1794, 460 years later than the barn. The world has changed rather more swiftly since then, though less than half of that time has elapsed.
Edit: I swapped the picture shortly after posting, after the first two comments. The original blip was the first alternative.
Lens: Pentax 12-24mm
Tithe Barn And Willow (Pentax 18-55mm)
Tithe Barn And Canal (Pentax 12-24mm)
Canal Scene With Bike (Sigma 70-300mm)
River Sign (Sigma 70-300mm)
Back blip: Blossom (14.3.2011)