Rare scenes of the River Kennet, one of England’s most precious chalk streams, are now on view in spectacular fashion – thanks to a second version of the Beautiful Kennet calendar now sale in the run-up to Christmas.
Ninety per cent of the Kennet flows through private estates and remains hidden from view. But thanks Action on the Kennet (ARK) the land owners gave permission for Philip Perkins to stroll the river’s banks with his camera while creating the new calendar.
“And I had a truly tremendous time,” the 69-year-old photographer from Ramsbury, whose initial 2013 calendar raised £780 for ARK, told Marlborough News Online.
“The land owners were very kind and co-operative and I feel privileged to have been able to photograph parts of the Kennet never seen before. So it is very special.
“The pictures used for next year’s calendar are mainly early and mid-summer shots. And they are really the theme of next year’s calendar, although there are autumn and winter shots too for November, December and January.
The estates he concentrated on included Howe Mill, The Wilderness, Durnsford Mill, The Old Mill and the Littlecote Estate.
“Many people won’t have seen these views before,” he said. That’s why I made a beeline for the estates. The pollution incident in July was very serious but fortunately the river was declared clean about three weeks later and now ARK volunteers have been very busy re-populating the affect parts with river fly larvae.”
Photograph is a passionate pastime for Mr Perkins, a telecommuncations consultant representing two major American companies in Europe.
“I really love photography,” he added. It is so enthralling. I have literally taken hundreds of pictures now of the Kennet – some of my favourite ones have yet to be used – but I just hope that the new calendar is successful and raises substantial funds for ARK.”
He has deliberately produced the calendar earlier this year because he discovered the market for next year’s calendars, especially high quality ones, can start as early as May and June. The Kennet calendar is selling mainly at £10, though some retailers do reduce the price to £9 or £8.99. “It’s up to them,” Philip pointed out.
And already he is thinking of taking a wider theme for the 2015 Beautiful Kennet calendar.
“Instead of concentrating on one stream, perhaps next time I can open it up and do a calendar of the Kennet Valley, show the wonderful landscape as well.”
Among the stockists for the 2014 calendar are:
Aldbourne: The Post Office
Axford: Red Lion Inn
Great Bedwyn: Stores & Post Office
Hungerford: Cobbs Farm Shop (on the A4), Inklings, From the Heart.
Mildenhall: The Horseshoe Inn
Manton: The Outside Chance
Marlborough: The Craft Shop, St Peter’s church, Mayther, the White Horse Bookshop and the Oxfam shop.
Pewsey: Gallery & Art Centre.
Ramsbury: Crown & Anchor Inn and the Post Ofice.
Shalbourne: Stores & Post Office.