Pollarded Willows, Aylestone Meadows and Ulverscroft Brook, 11in approx Vivien Blackburn
A sketch of pollarded (viciously :>( ) willows in Aylestone Meadows - the area I've chosen to revisit throughout the year.
It was after 3pm and the late sunlight was golden and dramatic against the cool winter colours of the sky, reflections in the water and bleached reeds and grasses. I love these lights, so specific to a season, time or place.
This photo was taken nearby - the willows in the sketch are just a little further along the path. The wall is the beginning of the packhorse bridge, going off to the left across streams and wetland.
When I took this second photo I've shown, back in the Spring, they hadn't been cut back - they may have been getting dangerous? but it's such a shame to see these huge trees butchered like this. My children climbed them when they were young and it will be a few years before any children can climb these and the whole area suffers from their loss. (Though I have to admit I loved drawing them),
The bridge in the first photo is a railway bridge and in the second is a Victorian bridge over the canal, which links to the 15C packhorse bridge that crosses the flood plain to the right. They are taken at about 180deg to each other from only a few yards apart. You can see the modern pedestrian footbridge across the brook, that joins the canal, in the foreground of the second and in the distance in the first.
Marshy land was the most difficult and dangerous for travellers to cross in the past and this was a very important bridge on a route for the coal from the mines in the north of the county as well as local traffic. When the canal was built it destroyed part of the packhorse bridge.
The whole area is a tangle of streams, rivers, pools and canal with a variety of bridges from the 15C to th 20C and flood meadows.
The sketch was done with Neocolor II water soluble crayons and a bit of white gouache and black conte pencil. It's about 11 inches square-ish. ( I don't do 'accurate'!)
Link to sketches of the meadows, waterways and bridges from the air here
PS another version of the willows here on my blog