Towards the Severn Bridge

There are two bridges spanning the Severn Estuary uniting England and Wales and it is the “second” Severn Bridge that is nearest to these salt marshes and the one which features here, although both are visible from the marsh on a clear day.


The “second” Severn Bridge was built in 1996, some 30 years after the first, and at the time of its construction I remember standing beneath its skeleton and marvelling at its sensuous, curvaceous outline snaking towards Wales.

Alas these beautiful, sinuous curves cannot be seen from the marsh . . .  rather more of a straight line across the horizon, but even so it still holds a measure of beauty as the light and seasons change.


When the sunlight hits the centre spans the suspension cables shine out like pale sails floating past the Welsh hills. This is a view from the marsh in September. . .


. . . and on a closer view the “sails” separate into a symmetry of cables. The bridge is a lovely shade of “cobalt turquoise light” in the sunlight . . .


. . . but most of the time, especially on overcast days, the bridge takes on tones of grey with only the supporting pillars visible. This is a view across the mud at low tide on a dull June morning.


. . . and on a September morning I was watched by a roe buck at Chapel Pill.


In this November scene you can see the zigzag of Chapel Pill on a flood tide. On a high spring tide this creek and surrounding salt marsh disappears under a metre of water, a great time to watch flocks of dunlin flying to and fro looking for a dry corner of marsh.


Here is a more muted October view of teal, salt marsh and bridge – no lush greens here.


A great September view of salt marsh and bridge. Lovely soft colours and a bit of “teal” action.


Similar colours in this sketch of canada geese which I love as it uses just three colours . . . and a bit of graphite. I think I should limit my colour palette more often.


Last but not least is a surprisingly bright view in November. This sunny autumn day gave birth to some wonderful blues but the colours of the marsh are a definitively autumnal mix of siennas and umbers.


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