One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is inspecting our sites, which Natasha and I do on a regular basis. On these visits we look out for any health and safety issues which might affect our visitors – such as eye-level branches and twigs across paths (I always have a pair of secateurs in the car) or steps in need of repair; issues affecting archaeological conservation – evidence, perhaps, of burrowing animals, night-hawk activity, or damage to flint walls from frost or from humans; livestock issues – gates not closing properly or fenceposts rotting; and other land management issues – for example, the appearance of the dreaded ragwort in the hay or himalayan balsam by the river banks. I usually also give interpretation panels a bit of a rub down. At the same time I have the opportunity to walk around our lovely sites, and appreciate the monuments, the weather, and the changing flora and fauna.
Throughout my visit I take photos of anything that needs attention – a wobbly fence post here, a broken gate latch there – and when I get back to the office I use these as reminders as I update the Risk Assessment forms for each site, and organise any work that needs doing.
These photos cannot be described as works of art. They are basic snapshots of whatever the problem is with no consideration of lighting, framing, composition. This means we have thousands of photos showing tiny details of our sites with something slightly wrong with them, and not many which do justice to the wider picture – the buildings and monuments looking magnificent in their landscape.
Fortunately, our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Katie Phillips, has been recruiting new Photographer volunteers, and the new role has proved popular – we currently have nine signed up. Over the coming months they will be visiting our sites specifically to take some high quality shots of Trust sites in all seasons. This will build up a brilliant resource which can use in our future publicity, on our website and on social media – to make sure people know why they should come and visit!
If you have good photos of our sites and would like to share them with us, or if you would like to sign up as a Photographer volunteer, please let Katie know: