High up in a Dartmoor valley, at the upper limit of tree life, I discovered these two rowan trees clinging to the granite clitter (the debris below a tor). They were among a group of scattered rowan trees growing in one of my favourite places, known as Tavy Cleave. I was searching for tree subjects to be included in The New Sylva. Neither of these two trees were selected as drawing subjects by artist Sarah Simblet but one close-by was a perfect subject. I hope to provide a sneak preview of the drawing on the book website soon.

The River Tavy can be seen bottom left. It rises 6km further upstream, far beyond Tavy Cleave Sharp; the tor just visible below the crown of the left-hand rowan. The head of the river is one of the most inspiring wilderness areas remaining in Britain: a landscape of extraordinary peat hags, and home to the raven. As I explored the trees among the clitter, wheatears flitted quickly between the rocks showing their white rumps, while overhead skylarks were in full song.

Rowan trees
Rowan trees, Dartmoor. Lumix GF2, 7mm (14mm equivalent in 35mm), 1/320sec, f11, ISO100. Handheld. March 2012.

Subject: Rowan Sorbus aucuparia trees, sometimes known as the mountain ash.

Location: Tavy Cleave, Dartmoor, Devon, South West England. 350m altitude.

Equipment:  Lumix GF2, 7mm (14mm equivalent in 35mm), 1/320sec, f11, ISO100. Handheld, resting on rock.

Processing: Post-processed in Lightroom. Converted to Black & White. Greens and Yellows increased 25%. Cropped square.

Gabriel Hemery

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