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I'm an architectural photographer. I travel around Britain recording and interacting with special places that have a spirit about them. I work from my camper van called Woody and I share my experiences via this digest.

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Visited by a potential subscriber in the Cotswolds yesterday whilst writing this digest.


Northumbrian candle light, Hexham Abbey.


“Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light; light and shade reveal these forms...”

Le Corbusier: Towards a New Architecture


Northumbrian Light

The forecast was good and so the shoot was on.

I arrived at the Abbey at first glimmer

I was hoping to capture something magical: the movement of light through a building in a single day.

But this wasn't any old light, this was Northumbrian light.

And this wasn't any old town, this was Hexham with its ancient ochre walls that refract and absorb a particular quality of light.

Inside the Abbey, the Northumbrian light, having sifted through Hexham stone, is refined once more through the finest stained glass.

Ghostly cusping enlivens the arcading...

... and strange, organic worlds emerge from the darkness.

Shadows work towards beauties end...

...and the raking light invigorates the mason’s marks..

As the day draws to a close

And then I saw it happen: the literacy of light on the Saxon Acca's Cross - the saint rumoured to have saved the town from raiding hordes by blotting out the light with conjured mists.

A day in the Light of Hexham Abbey

If you're teetering on the edge of becoming a member, here's an extra special incentive: a signed copy of my last Abbey Time Shift poster. A visual record of the light moving through the south transept at Hexham Abbey. There's also a little goody pack of post cards and photos for runners up too.

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Hadrian's Wall

I finish a photoshoot in Carlisle and head for lodging near Penrith.

I'm getting a little caught up in myself. It's the height of the season and I'm working more hours than equates to a healthy balance. I feel untethered and anxious. I'm fretting about logistics - how am I going to fit in all the photography with the weather being so dire?

In spite of having lots of post-production to do in the van, I decide to take a detour. I make my way along a latitude that roughly passes through Hexham and on to Newcastle.

It always helps to think of Hexham. The days spent there several years ago pass through my mind like pulses of light. They are calming.

I drive into the timeless landscape surrounding Hadrian's Wall. It's a unique place, defined by the ancient ribbon of limestone that runs through it.

I park up near Birdoswald Roman fort, detach Splinter from Woody and head along cycle route 72 that runs adjacent to the wall. I can see the wall stretching out beyond Birdoswald into the distance. I keep my cadence low and slow and revel in the stones that have been here for millennia.

As I cycle along the wall, I take in each stone as ballast.

I stop at turret 49b and observe the sweep of wall from west to east as far as I can see. I think of the miles of wall beyond the horizon, reaching out to the coast, and drink it in. Each stone has been cut from quarries nearby, squared and laid true by Roman hands.

"As I cycle along the wall, I take in each stone as ballast."

Two or three auxiliary soldiers lived and sheltered within this space. I imagine their conversations tucked around each stone like mortar: love-stories coursing through the mortar joints, comedy springing from the castellation and tragedy lurking in the quoins.

And because of the fort at Vindolanda (just over 10 miles from here), I know what they were saying. Here they found some of the oldest handwritten documents in Britain preserved in anaerobic layers of clay.

They talked about birthday parties and wished for warm socks against the biting Northumbrian climate. Indeed they vexed about the weather:

Caelum crebris imbribus ac nebulis foedum,” (the sky is obscured by constant rain and cloud).

And they worried and fretted just like me.

To Flavius Cerialis from Masclus:

"Please, my lord, give instructions as to what you want us to have done tomorrow. Are we to return with the standard to the shrine at the crossroads all together or every other one, that is half of us?" 

Like other places steeped in history, these stones are more than the sum of their parts. They're not just a tourist destination, a bucket list item or a heritage asset. They give me counsel.

Sat on the wall in my lycra with a furrowed brow, I feel humbled in their presence. They rise up beyond their material value and anchor me to the present day through the nutrients of the past, through the continuity that they represent.


From the wall I head through the lanes of Cumbria through the Eden Valley to my lodgings at Englethwaite Hall Caravan and Motorhome site.

I feel energised by my visit to the wall. I re-schedule my post-production and cycle out on a loop that takes in Armthwaite and Kirkoswald.

Kirkoswald is a delight. A village on a hill set around a market square full of pubs and a shop.

I stop for a bitter shandy at the Fetherston Arms..

and buy vegetables for dinner at the local shop with its horned six over six sashes and yawning bow window. It speaks of the 1840's.

St. Oswald's Church, Kirkoswald

Having had my mind eased by the latitudinal Hadrian's Wall, I find it stretched by the longitudinal St. Oswald's.

This place is defined from its depths to its heights. Beneath the nave, a spring runs out towards the west end, and above the east-end, on a promontory that overlooks the church, is the bell tower, set high enough to charm the villagers to mass and warn them of border raiders.

St. Oswald's is old - perhaps originating from rituals around the spring. The building we see today is C12th with later additions.

It tells its story through the gaps lapses and silences: the Tudor windows punched through the medieval stone and the secreted monuments along the north wall that include an Anglo-Saxon grave marker with incised rivulets that echo the spring that runs beneath this place.

The porch is of 1523 - timber framed. Built 1300 years after the first stones were laid at Hadrians Wall. That thought stretches my mind again.

Inside the porch is a door with divine decorative metalwork. I'll let the photographs do the talking.

The thumbed latch is so good that I've included it twice..

From the hands that laid the stones at Birdoswald to the thumbs that opened the door at Kirkoswald. These things can't be rushed.

This building feels alive, it has water coursing beneath its nave. I finally fix myself back into this day by taking on the cool waters at St. Oswald's Well.


Members can see St. Oswald's and the surrounding landscape in a beautiful VR here" (can be viewed on any device)

Be there: St. Oswald, Kirkoswald, Cumbria in glorious VR
Andy Marshall is documenting his travels in his time-travelling camper van 🚐📸🏛

I set off from Kirkoswald feeling refreshed and relaxed and cross back over the Eden on the way back to Armathwaite.

At Armathwaite I'm drawn in to the Fox and Pheasant across the bridge - a lovely little hostelry tucked away in a spot just beyond the bridge.

I cancel the stir-fry in the van and have a pub dinner instead.

It's here inside the pub that I take one of my favourite photographs of the trip. A black Labrador caught in the raking light waiting for its owner.

I've recorded the full cycle route on Komoot, below:


Van Life Gallery
My van, Woody, is my time-travelling machine, taking me to some remarkable places that have altered my mind like wine through water.


New cycle route linking every English cathedral to be launched in Bike Week | Cycling UK
2,000-mile route links all 42 Church of England cathedrals, from Newcastle to Truro Relay ride launches route on 30 May from Newcastle Cathedral Launch coincides with World’s Biggest Bike Ride to kick off Bike Week 2021 Raising funds for Cycling UK’s campaign to Break the Cycle of social isolation W…
Britain, the Byzantine Empire, and the concept of an Anglo-Saxon ‘Heptarchy’: Harun ibn Yahya’s ninth-century Arabic description of Britain
[The following post has now been fully revised, expanded and published as C. R. Green, ’Britain, the Byzantine Empire, and the concept of an…
‘Our own little congregation’: the people of London’s soon-to-close Smithfield market
Poultry market is closing this month and all meat traders will be gone in five years as historic site becomes new home of Museum of London
Life in a floating world: a houseboat in Utrecht
All aboard an incredible black steel houseboat moored in the heart of Utrecht. By Jose Martens



"Variety is the spice of life and the diversity of materials, styles, textures, details on the facades at Oundle in Northamptonshire is one of its true delights."

Andy Marshall’s Genius Loci Digest - 9 Sep 2022
C16th Wool Hall detail (foreground) - Lavenham, Suffolk.


Cycling the Kirkoswald loop (with a dash of Hadrian's Wall).


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Andy Marshall is documenting his travels in his time-travelling camper van 🚐📸🏛

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Photographs and words by Andy Marshall (unless otherwise stated). Most photographs are taken with Iphone 14 Pro and DJI Mini 3 Pro.