January 2, 2011
A walk to and around the extremities of Camber Castle started off where the River Brede butts up to the main Rye/ Winchelsea Road. There are other access points further into Rye Harbour . . .
. . clumps of stunted and weather worn hawthorns line the banks of the streams and inlets that mark the marsh landscape . . .
. . first sighting of the castle to the south west. It has a presence that is quite particular – especially as the landscape has changed from when it was planned, positioned and built with the necessary access from the sea. Now, it resides in something far more pastoral, a flower rich grassland, managed by Romney Marsh sheep.
A few ash trees give a hint of the wet conditions – no alders but some crack willows with very fissured trunks . . .
. . . the habitat for terns, coots, bittern, gadwall and widgeon and, in autumn, lapwings and plovers. A wedge of Canada geese flew over head and families of mallards at home on the canal as against the streams and rivers – more food from the houses that back onto it, I guess.
The paths are directed away from the side of the meandering streams and watery areas in the reserve. Just the odd seat and all well gated and discreetly fenced where appropriate. Camber Castle was constructed in early 1500’s as part of a chain of coastal forts and like Deal, built in the shape of the Tudor rose with an outer moat. It was deserted 100 years later when the new shingle ridges built up reducing access to the sea.
Local sandstone, timber and limestone are the main materials but also signs of a narrow brick too.
Beautifully coursed stone with architectural detail . . .
. . and signs of erosion on the south facade.
The view to the east . . .
and to the west. Dark, tufty sedges sprouting through the damp edges of the streams, some of which are still crowded with reeds . .
. . but a good clean up is going on with the cut stems neatly stacked on the banks.
Less cloud over the sea and signs of clouds playing games. I select the poem for the post but then, the evening performance changes the mood into golden warmth like sinking into a honeycomb!
There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.
Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.
None may teach it anything,
‘Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.
When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, ‘t is like the distance
On the look of death. Emily Dickinson There’s a certain slant of light.