Capturing a hidden gem

The cottage at Stoneywell is often described as the epitome of a chocolate box and, with sweeping vistas, quirky nooks and crannies and intricate details, it is no wonder that Stoneywell has become a photographer's paradise. This February, come along and take part in Stoneywell's first ever photography competition.

When Donald and Anne Gimson started to significantly develop and grow the gardens at Stoneywell, they had one specific goal in mind: to ensure that there was always something in colour, every week of the year. With an abundance of flora (including over 150 species of rhododendron) and fauna they certainly succeeded, and now the seasonal changes offer budding photographers a reason to return time and time again.

But it's not just the garden and woodland that inspire visitors to get trigger happy behind a lens: the cottage itself, with its winding staircases, handcrafted furniture and nostalgic furnishings, offers an unusual backdrop for photographs.

While you may be spoilt for choice over the best photography spots at Stoneywell, don't miss the most iconic image of them all - looking down at the cottage from the rowan tree on the sheep track.

The view of Stoneywell Cottage from the rowan tree
Stoneywell Cottage sits beyond the rowan tree in the garden

Stoneywell's photographer, Susan Guy, has a few top tips to help you snap the best picture:

  • Alter your angle of snapping so that you are not always standing - crouching works well, though it can be a struggle to get back up!
  • Mix things up with some quirky angles, as well as potrait or landscape photographs.
  • Lighting inside National Trust properties is often low for the ongoing care and protection of the historic collection, so try focusing on a particular item rather than the whole room and have a large aperature.
  • Take your time to create the image that might have formed in your head.
  • Imagine yourself as a triangle (or tripod) - this works really well for slow shutter speed to avoid camera wobble.

So whether you're capturing a picture of the cottage emerging from the rock, a butterfly taking flight in the garden or the blanket of bluebells in the woodland, bring your camera to Stoneywell and share your memories with us.

We're starting the 2017 season with a Photography Day on Sunday 5th February, focusing on how to take a great photo, tips from our volunteer photographer and a chance to explore the cottage and woodland at a leisurely pace. The Photography Competition will run throughout February, when we hope visitors will share their photographs with us so we can display them on the tennis courts during our Photograhy Exhibition on Saturday 4th ad Sunday 5th March.