Please note – this is was pre quarantine drawing adventure! I won’t be creating artwork outside until it’s safe for us to do so again. I’ve included links to spots we visited in case, when it’s safe once more post quarantine, you’re able to make a visit.
Last year to celebrate my 30th birthday, Adam and I planned a clamping trip to the Cotswolds. I had always wanted to stay in a yurt and loved the idea of being nestled in the countryside in springtime with our sketchbooks and plenty of nature to draw. Above and below are some of my sketches, photos and select memories from that magical trip…
Fancy Service Station
I’ve always enjoyed stopping off at service stations as part of a long car journey. Stretching my legs and picking up a treat or two. The transitory buzz of people heading off on their different adventures. But the Gloucester Farm Shop and Kitchen services that we stopped at on our journey into Stroud was by far the fanciest, most beautiful service station I have ever seen in my life! We settled down for a delicious, fresh lunch, then got the sketchbooks out to draw the idyllic views through its windows. After perusing the fancy goods of the farm shop for supplies we set off again to find our yurt.
The Teasel Yurt was everything I hoped it would be! An enchanting little cosy space lit by fairy lights and a wood burning stove. Fabulous views looking out over Stroud in one direction and a thick pocket of luscious, green woods behind us. The little deck provided space for us to cook our tasty, treaty dinners at sunset and to spy birds of prey over tea and biscuits whilst huddled in blankets in the chill morning air. At night the stars were bright and clear and the smell of the wood smoke clung to our hair and clothes. It was the perfect little base for us to begin our drawing adventures from.
On our first day of drawing and exploring, we decided to check out our more immediate surroundings. Our Yurt was perched about half way up Selsey Common, a popular walking destination forming part of the Cotswolds way. We planned a little round route that would take us over the nearby hills, up through the forest behind us, up to the very top of the common and back down again on the opposite side – back to the yurt in time for tea. Of course we would be breaking up our journey with a few stops for sketching.
A group of curious cows watched as as we worked on our first drawings. When we stopped for our second sketch in the trees behind us, I spotted a woodpecker flying back and forth to its nest. I could hear its hungry, chirruping babies from where I sat! I was using a combination of pen, chalks and oil pastel for these, whilst Adam had the oil paints out!
Later on in our trip we visited Woodchester Mansion. An unfinished, gothic revival house situated in beautiful parkland. It was a hot day and after treating ourselves to ice cream and a quick look inside the mansion, we went wandering in the grounds beyond. I didn’t make any drawings I was pleased with on this occasion, but I remember watching the sunshine sparkle of the boat lakes and the smell of wild garlic (pictured below) in the early evening as we returned to the car, blissful!
Finally, some of my fondest memories of this trip are from our day spent at Puzzlewood near the Forest of Dean. Magical, ancient woodland riddled with twisted trees, little wooden bridges, tumbling rocky drops and moss covered rocks. We had so much fun drawing and painting here – I could easily imagine that we were being watched by fairies and wood elves as we took in our surroundings. It’s easy to understand why it’s a popular location for filming. It even makes an appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens! We ended our day by driving to Stroud Brewery were we ate a delicious oven baked pizza and enjoyed a cold beer in the warm, cosy atmosphere.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look back into some pre quarantine adventure times. Especially if (like me) you’re missing nature and the freedom to go out in that we’re normally blessed with…those days will come again my friends. I’ve included links to the places we visited in case, when it’s safe again, you’re able to make a visit. For now, I hope that you’re safe and well at home, sending love and good vibes to you!