Scents of summer

Round & About


Artist Helen Grimbleby shares her love of nature in her monthly Nature Sketchbook

“Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full grow and luxuriance of its richness.” Charles Dickens

Summer is the season when our senses may easily delight in the natural world and the fairer weather means the opportunities to engage directly with nature are greater.

The wind of blustery seaside cliff tops is kinder and more inviting when it is warmer and drier. Its gentler brush on bare arms may even be welcome on hot summer days. Pink sea thrift flowers break up the wild expanses of rocky coastal scenes dominated at other times by blues, greens and greys. Such rocky coastal locations can also be home to puffin colonies who at this time of year are kept busy feeding their single chick broods.

Puffins can be found on the mainland in the very North of Scotland and also at Bempton in Yorkshire. Most are found on small islands such as Skomer (Wales) and the Farne Islands (Northumberland).

Badger cubs are actively playful now and I am so very hopeful to see some this year. I plan a few night-time hikes for this purpose. This brings excitement and a hint of trepidation in equal measure as the familiarity of darkness and shadows was left behind in the long-ago winter months.

After re-reading Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows in late spring, I was longing to see a badger in the wild, something I had never seen before. A short while later, I was slightly lost making my way back to a campsite in Wales after a friend’s birthday party. Having gone off track, driving up a high-hedged narrow single track, steep mountain road in the Black Mountains, I was focused on fretting about meeting a vehicle coming the other way. Then, turning a corner, I found myself face to face with a badger. Only momentarily perturbed by the road blockage cause by my car, it set off making its way through the embankment hedge, its slightly brownish, warm black coloured body perfectly camouflaged, wearing an intelligent expression set on a moon river face. What a joy!

I am assured of the scents of summer on my night-time walks with honeysuckle, wild rose, elderflower and pyramid orchids all in June bloom and my jaunts may be accompanied by an orchestra of grasshopper making their reedy music as I go. Will you walk with me grasshopper?

Helen Grimbleby is a West Berks/North Hants based artist who is inspired by the natural world’s changing seasons. After exploring outside, she enjoys writing, illustrating and painting larger landscapes at her home studio (@helengrimblebyart).

The road to creativity in Hindhead

Round & About


Hindhead Art Trail takes you on a picturesque journey through both art and the artists’ lives via ceramics, landscapes, portraits and stained glass

During June’s Surrey Open Studios you will find luscious ceramics, dramatic abstract landscapes, perfect wildlife portraits, and much more from the ten artists on the Hindhead Art Trail. All works are for sale and you can even get involved in creating your own art at their workshops.

The trail is a perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon. Start in Churt with Fiona Millais’s evocative semi-abstract landscapes that respond to the local area and the coast. Across Churt village, Georgina Rey is exhibiting loose oil sketches done on site capturing the feeling of local places, alongside larger, colourful abstracts. Just up the road, see Stephanie Draper’s colourful paintings and monochrome prints inspired by maps locally and beyond. Create a small colourful block sculpture with Stephanie at her drop in sessions on 7th, 8th and 9th June.

Turning south through Whitmore Vale, find Alison Hunt’s textural, abstract landscapes in wonderful tones. They sit alongside Nicola Martin’s stoneware pottery, including signature ‘Earth Bowls’ evoking the strata between land and sea. Both artists are inspired by the colours, shapes and textures of the natural world which they interpret in their pieces.

On the road into Grayshott, visit Alison Orchard’s working studio at Applegarth Farm. Enjoy a collection of expressive sea and landscape paintings, alongside gutsy abstracts and a range of limited-edition prints. The gallery also showcases a selection of hand-thrown ceramics by respected artists. There is a lot to tempt and inspire! Alison will be running a one-day gestural seascapes workshop at Farnham Pottery on 27th June.

This might be a moment to stop for a coffee or lunch at Applegarth Farm restaurant and deli, with locally sourced and home-grown food.

Next stop Annie Child’s fused and stained glass, in her lovely oak framed garden studio on the edge of Grayshott village. Annie’s range of glass art draws on her love of colour and the beauty of the natural world around her.

In Grayshott Village, the Punchbowl Gallery hosts Angie Wallace and Nicky Chubb. Angie creates realistic artworks of wildlife, full of intricate detail in coloured pencils and pastels. Nicky paints multicoloured and textured collaged nudes from life.

Finish the trail in Beacon Hill with Emma Godden’s fantastically observed, tactile garden ornaments inspired by seed pods and flowers. Make your own at her workshop on 21st June.

Start and finish the trail where you like. Trail maps are available in each studio, details of opening times and workshops at and Instagram (@hindheadarttrail)