Updated: Jul 17, 2018
I have been admiring and photographing the Downs at University of Nottingham, University Park Campus for more than seven years now. When I first arrived at the Uni as an MA student I could hardly believe that the vast expanse of green, rolling gently away from the main cluster of buildings towards the sports complex, was going to be the setting for my year of self development. It is one of the greenest campuses in the country and although it does not contribute directly to anyone's employability or knowledge acquisition it does make for some very pleasant journeys to lectures and seminars.
Over the years I have watched this idyllic vista flourish with green grass and become overgrown with rashes of wild flowers. Students descend on this space when the weather is warm to play games and hang out listening to music. Sometimes the expanse is used to host festivals, concerts and fairs where students and visitors revel in between semesters. In autumn the trees that circle the Downs become ablaze with shades of orange, yellow and rust. Leaves fall in a carpet across the footpaths as students crunch their way to classes.
The scene turns more austere as winter strips the trees and the grass loses its vigour. Winds blow more liberally and walks across the Downs becomes shuddery and cold. Still the beauty persists as a chill descends and all the elements of nature seem to shrink and wait for the glory of summer to return. The arrival of snow is almost as exciting an event, for the great stretch becomes a blanket of white dotted with brown skeletal sculptures. It makes the Downs seem even greater, stretching endlessly into white clouds in the distance. The scene is breathtaking.
Despite the repetition I have never tired of the many beautiful views this spot affords. Year after year it remains a place where cobwebs are blown away and the mind is refreshed by the sheer serenity of the surroundings. If you have never been I highly recommend a visit.