It was author and vet James Herriot who gave the view from the Sutton Bank escarpment the ultimate accolade – “England’s finest”. He might be accused of hyperbole but this is certainly a great and varied location for a landscape photography workshop.
Sutton Bank is atop the steep scarp slope running along the western side of the North York Moors National Park. At 282 metres high, it is blessed with an amazing vista over conical Hood Hill, mysterious Gormire Lake and the verdant Vale of Mowbray. There is plenty of pay and display parking at the National Park Visitor Centre and a well developed set of trails which we will explore.
A short, but reasonably steep, descent from the rim will bring us to Gormire Lake. This sits in a shallow, wooded bowl beneath the bright limestone face of Whitestone Cliff. The ancient, deciduous woodland should be in fresh leaf when we visit. There's plenty to occupy us on the way down, with the possibility of early bluebells and ramsons (wild garlic) in addition to the trees. The dark lake was once thought to be bottomless and to conceal an entrance to hell... somewhat prosaically it is only just under 7 metres deep! One mystery is the lack of an outflow, which - strictly speaking - makes this a pond. The shore is lined with mature trees and should provide us with many possibilities for image making.
Being west facing, the top of Whitestone Cliff is an ideal location for late afternoon photography, with low light raking across the fields and hedgerows far below. Bring a long lens – to pick out backlit trees, livestock and buildings – or use a wider lens to create an heroic panorama of the Vale. Along the rim trail, there is also a fine stand of larch, twisted and stunted by the prevailing westerly winds - a great place for more eery images, especially if we are blessed with low cloud.
As this workshop is co-led by Joe Cornish, we will split into two groups with a maximum of five participants per group. The groups will swap leaders at lunchtime. This will give participants the opportunity to experience different teaching styles and approaches to photography.
There will obviously be some walking involved but it will never be a race - especially not back uphill from Gormire. Please be prepared for the weather; a waterproof coat, walking boots, fleece and quick drying trousers are a must. The ground may be muddy and slippery.
We will break for lunch at the Sutton Bank visitor centre, which will also give us the opportunity for a comfort stop.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions we will not be providing refreshments on this workshop. The Park Life Café, by the car park, has a takeaway service operating during the pandemic. If you don't wish to order from here, please bring a packed lunch and a flask of tea or coffee.
This course may be booked along with the Falling Foss workshop which runs the following day.
Photo tuition from David Ward & Joe Cornish
Lunch & beverages
Transport to venue & parking
Full fee payable at time of booking
N.B. To comply with current Government advice, the workshop is strictly limited to 10 participants, split between two leaders. We will follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols throughout the day. You must bring a mask with you. David Ward Photo Tours are certified Good to Go by Visit England.