pylon river severn

Around the Severn Bore Arlingham

The weekend was fast approaching and the weather looked like a hot one for early April.  Using my AA guide book 50 walks in Gloucestershire I selected Arlingham and the Severn Bore, with the river Severn being at its best around Arlingham.

Fail to Plan

The Severn Bore near Arlingham is where the river opens up to the Bristol channel.  At some points the river is almost half a mile wide and during high tide is even popular with surfers, so with the hot weather would almost be like being at the coast.  Its a long way from the coast where I am based in Pershore, the nearest being Weston Super Mare or south Wales.

For my visit to the Severn Bore and Arlingham decided to make an extra effort and arrive earlier.  But the BBC weather forecast for Arlingham was fog and moderate visibility clearing as the morning progressed to very good.

The fog of Arlingham

I arrived in Arlingham not too early not to late before 8AM but still sitting in my car the fog was thick.  I was feeling dissapointed not want another Snowshill episode or Painswick.  I thought maybe I had made a mistake and not paid enough attention to the moderate visibility predicted.

Morning Cobwebs

Still I left my car, readied my camera for handheld shots and proceeded through the village of Arlingham down to the Severn bore.  I noticed by the side of the road some morning cobwebs which with the sun piercing through the fog would make good subjects for a photo.

cobweb arlingham
cobweb Arlingham 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 200mm

Initially I was trying to use auto focus on my lens, but it was difficult to pinpoint the cobwebs.  Especially as I was some distance away using my lens maximum zoom, so as to achieve some Bokeh with the background  emphasising the cobweb in the morning sunlight even more.

Manual Focus

I switched to manual focus and this made it much easier to focus in on the cobweb and shoot some photos.  Using manual focus for faraway objects and it is difficult to determine if you are in focus or not, but with nearer objects it becomes alot clearer and easier, just rotate your lens focus ring until what you want to see in focus appears sharp.

cobweb river severn
cobweb river severn 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 200mm

I was now pretty hooked on shooting photos of cobwebs, the fog was clearing fast and there were plenty of subjects to shoot and practice manual focus and bokeh.


Bokeh meaning blur in Japanese is greatest when the background objects are far away as with the trees with the first cobweb above, but the reeds of the Severn Bore were alot closer to this cobweb.  Another way to achieve higher bokeh or background blur is with a wider aperture, like F/2.8 but which results in a much lower depth of field.  With my lens at its maximum zoom or focal length of 200mm my maximum aperture is f/5.6.  The wider a lens opens on a zoom the more heavier and expensive it gets.

The Severn Bore

Its not far to reach the severnside from Arlingham and join the severn way footpath by the river.  The fog was still pretty thick up in the hills behind Newnham across the river Severn.

severn bore arlingham
severn bore arlingham 1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 35mm

When your shutter speed 1/60 sec is greater than your focal length 35mm then no need to use a tripod even with a small aperture of f/11 so still handholding taking my first photos of the severn bore with the sun reflecting off the golden reeds and Pylons.  But you cant make out the hills in the background due to the fog.

April Flowers

It was a beautiful warm Aprils day, almost felt like summer, not sure conditions were right for photography though what with the fog and low tide but always enjoy a walk in the sunshine.  Just before Hocks Cliff you head across some fields towards Overton to reach the other side of the Severn Bore.

april bluebells
april bluebells 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 200mm

By the sides of the footpaths bluebells were making their first appearance as well as cowslip and ladysmock.

Reaching the other side of the Sever bore with low tide the river was sluggish, almost still like a lake reflecting the silhouette of a pylon across the bank.  There was debris in the river and the mud and sand banks were clearly visible.

pylon river severn
Pylon river severn

Following the Severn way up to Pimlico sands and the Arlingham Warth and the flood planes were full of dandelions and daisy’s.

sevenside dandelions
severnside dandelions

It really was a lovely walk along the severn bore in Gloucestershire, for a very warm sunny day in spring there was very few people around, so peaceful.

Lens Switch

I decided to switch lens from my telephoto 18-200mm to my 24mm prime lens hoping to achieve sharper focus on the Severn Bore meadows not saturated in water but dandelions and daisy’s.  In the field with the bright sunshine and small screen, it was difficult to determine any difference achieved.  I would have to wait until post processing and viewing the photos on the big screen.


Towards the end of the walk along the severn bore you get to see the town of Newnham across the river Severn with Saint Peters Church clearly visible.

church newnham
Saint Peters Church 1/10 sec, F/11, ISO 100, 200mm

Historically Newnham has been an important town.  The Romans were said to have crossed the river Severn here with elephants to fight the Britons holding onto Newnham.  It was an important port and one time King Henry launched an invasion of Ireland from Newnham with 400 ships.

Return to Arlingham

Last leg of the journey is up Passage Road and back into the village of Arlingham, I was parched now, having emptied my water bottle in the almost summer heat.  Alls I could think about was sinking a well deserved pint in the Red Lion Pub.

A good walk around the Severn Bore and Arlingham of around 8 miles, very peaceful and I got my dose of vitamin D from the sun.  I would love to return to the Severn bore during high tide and excellent visibility maybe around sunset.

Severn Bore Arlingham Gloucestershire