是否有胆量穿过这片蓝铃花丛？ Dare to tread through the fairy flower?
Bluebells in Hertfordshire, England
For just a few weeks every spring, across the pond in England and under the newly forming woodland canopy, one of the most enchanting flowers begins to bloom. The bluebell is known by many names but those who know it as the 'fairy flower' might be the most prepared to withstand its strong, sweetly scented allure. According to British folklore, a blooming bluebell carpet on the woodland floor is a mystical place where fairies live. The legends hold that fairies hang their spells on the flowers to dry, and disturbing them would unleash the magic. In earlier times, children were warned that picking bluebells would cause them to be spirited away. Even adults could fall victim to the flower, being doomed to wander the woods and never escape. And heaven forbid you ever happen to hear the fairies ring the bluebells for their gatherings—it means your death is imminent, a belief that inspired another name for bluebells: 'dead men's bells.'
The truth of the matter is that bluebells are considered toxic. Ancient folktales about fairies were a good way to make sure curious humans avoided handling them. But enjoying their beauty is a whole different matter. Walking through ancient woodland to catch a glimpse of these short-lived beauties is a popular activity throughout the United Kingdom where they are most often found, like those in today's photo of Hertfordshire, England. Rare in other parts of the world, there has been a success in transplanting them, should you want to want to tempt fate with the fairies.
寒冷降临科茨沃尔德 Cold falls on the Cotswolds
Winter in England's Cotswolds
The Cotswolds region is well known by Brits as a sleepy summer getaway, a day-trip destination for rambling through rolling pastures and charming villages while sampling delicious local produce. But in winter, this rural landscape takes on a new character when snows blanket the countryside.
Some visitors take several days to hike all 102 miles of the Cotswold Way, the trail that leads from charming Chipping Campden in the north, over hill and dale through villages including Dursley—near the spot where this photo was taken—and finally to the city of Bath in the south. The whole stretch has year-round appeal—especially if you include stops at cozy cafes and pubs on the route. It's no wonder the Cotswolds region is the largest patch of land in the UK designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
梧桐树峡 Sycamore Gap Tree
Stars over Sycamore Gap
The Northern Lights have set the sky alight with color here at the famous Sycamore Gap, in Northumberland. This tree has been keeping a lonely vigil for hundreds of years at the bottom of a steep dip in Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile-long fortification built to mark the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire. Silhouetted against the sky, it is said to be the most photographed spot in Northumberland National Park.
This part of Northumberland is also home to Europe’s largest area of the protected night sky and England’s first and largest dark sky park. In February it hosts a dark skies festival, with activities, talks, and an exhibition to entice visitors to venture out after dark. Very low levels of light pollution in this area make it a popular destination with stargazers who can see the Milky Way - and sometimes the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy - with the naked eye on a clear night.
The Northern Lights, a celestial light show caused by charged solar particles hitting Earth’s atmosphere, are a rare treat for the lucky ones here in England's most northerly county. But this iconic sycamore is here in all atmospheric conditions, ready for its close-up.
被白霜覆盖的山毛榉林 Beech forest covered in hoarfrost
Cranborne Chase, England
If this looks to you like the setting of a fairy tale, you're not alone. These surroundings have long inspired writers and painters alike. Naturally, Cranborne Chase, England, has been designated a national protected area because of its natural beauty. It may be especially beautiful in winter, when the trees and shrubs can be coated with hoarfrost, an uncommon type of frost that forms when water vapor turns directly into ice, skipping the liquid stage.
Cranborne Chase is a plateau in southern England touching the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. These 380 square miles of diverse countryside include rolling grasslands, river valleys, hillsides, and ancient woodlands. The area has been inhabited since the stone age, and for centuries was a royal hunting ground—in fact, the word 'chase' derives from these hunts. Today, while Cranborne Chase is protected from most new development, it's not a wilderness—nearly 90% of the land is used for farming and more than 30,000 people live here.
Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria, England
Reflecting winter skies and frozen fells in our homepage image is Rydal Water, one of the smallest but prettiest lakes in the Lake District. Rydal Water is one of the two lakes most associated with William Wordsworth, one of England’s greatest poets. (The other is neighbouring Grasmere, to which Rydal is connected by the River Rothay.) Wordsworth lived around these bodies of water, first at Dove Cottage and later Rydal Mount, between 1799 and 1850, writing some of his best-known works and hosting leading lights of the Romantic movement, including his friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. To the western edge of the lake is Wordsworth’s Seat, a rocky outcrop said to be the writer’s favourite spot.
Rydal Water is in a glacial valley, one of 13 valleys in the Lake District. Partly owned by the National Trust, it sits at the foot of Loughrigg Fell and has been known to freeze over on winter days like this one. You can walk around Rydal Water and take in Wordsworth’s former homes as well as passing by Rydal Cave in the hill above the lake. Surrounded by woodland, pasture and craggy fells, with several historic properties and beautifully designed landscapes, this is an inspiring place for aspiring poets, whatever the season.
Between the Lakes and the Dales
Nestled between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, the smooth rounded shapes and steep gills (ravines) of the Howgill Fells capture an eye-catching pattern of light and shade. These ancient hills, formed more than 400 million years ago, have remained a largely settlement-free zone, uncrossed by roads and untouched by development. Trees are scarce on the high ground, where sheep and wild ponies graze and small streams tumble down dark, narrow gullies and the panoramic views from the fells are a sight worth climbing for. The highest point is the top of The Calf, at 2,218ft (676m), from where hikers can enjoy a 20-mile skyline of the Lakeland peaks, the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the nearer Howgill peaks.
Part of the range sits within Yorkshire Dales National Park, although they are actually in the county of Cumbria. The Howgill Fells’ striking appearance was perhaps best summed up by the famed fell walker and guide book author A. Wainwright as “sleek and smooth, looking from a distance like velvet curtains in sunlight, like silken drapes at sunset … a remarkable concentration of summits often likened to a huddle of squatting elephants”.