The light on the hills

It's that time of year when suddenly the sunlight begins to slant across the land in the most extraordinary way - the low-lying light and long shadows of autumn.  I can't help but feel October is my favourite month of the year, or at least it is, by the time it arrives.  Yesterday, we went for a long walk. The trees, verges and hills were gleaming.  The long shadows of October.  Even the telephone wires are like a spider's web.  My favourite stand of trees, steady on the top of the hill.  The shadows betray the ancient workings of this land, and the delicate ridges of a thousand sheep and cattle paths.  Cows in the woods and on the hills beyond.  How anyone can think that ancient grazed pasture is not the way to go, in the chalk hills of West Dorset, I don't know. The clouds pass over casting spotlights on the ancient landscape.  Back to reality, nothing better than a muddy puddle.  I'm afraid that the ash die back has largely finished off all the huge, ancient trees in our valley, now. Looking across the cricket ground.  And home. This was the mood all day yesterday.  This morning we woke to bright sunshine and a cold morning - the first touch of frost in the garden. The dahlias will be over, soon enough now.  But for today they live for another day.  The extraordinary second flowering of Charlie's irises is a sight to behold in mid October.  In the veg garden. And in the greenhouse, which is so beautiful, it's like a poem or a work of art.  Autumn days. I'm on an early train now to London, and thence to Scotland - I have a week with the brilliant Robert Dalrymple, laying out all the pages of the book I've been photographing and writing for the last many years now, of all our practice projects - ranging from interiors to new houses to new towns.  It's a moment that has been a long time coming.  The book will be published by Rizzoli next autumn, 2024, and there's certainly a way to go yet, but it's an exciting week to come.


I live in Northumberland which is a beautiful big country.Before that I lived in Wiltshire,& when I see your wonderful Ravilious type photographs of the countryside around your house it makes me homesick for the area.Especially now in deepest soggiest November!

Elizabeth Cornwell

Very odd to see bearded irises , my favorite flower , in full bloom together with late years dahlias !

Edward v Leeuwen

Thank you again. It comforts my soul to know that England is still England.


Living in London now with only a small roof garden, your views of chalk downland made me feel so nostalgic. And your wonderful garden – a lot of work but glorious to see. Thanks.

Leana Pooley

You take the most incredible photos. I can’t wait for your book to come out! It will be incredible.

Margery Feller

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