On Friday Ed afternoon and I visited Sutton Park for the first time this year. Sutton Park is a little bit too far out of the city to be considered ‘local’ and so we hadn’t been since December when Birmingham was put in Tier 4 and then a national lockdown. I took my long lens with me, hoping I might see the ponies, and when we arrived at Little Bracebridge Pool found two of them bathing in the water. It has been a dream of mine to see the horses bathing in the lake, but I didn’t think it’d be something I witnessed as the times of day I am there are usually quite busy, and to access the lake the ponies need to cross the main footpath from the heathland. I was surprised to see that they still have their winter coats, but then again it’s been quite a cold start to spring this year.
Sutton Park is one of my favourite places in Birmingham. Yesterday evening Ed and I went for a walk around the Bracebridge lakes. It’s my favourite part of the park because of the horses, and we got lucky because we saw them. If you want to see the Sutton Park ponies but find them a little bit illusive, the best time of day to go seems to be early evening, around 6pm or so. The Sutton Park horses keep to themselves in the woodland when it’s very busy, but tend to graze on the open heathland to the north of Little Bracebridge Pool when it’s quiet. If you arrive and can’t see them, scan the treeline across the heather – with your eyes not your feet – because sometimes they’ll be in twos and threes and are a little harder to spot. As with all of the posts I share about the Sutton Park ponies, it’s important for me to repeat the following: please don’t feed them, touch them, or stand too close to them.
Ed made me a birthday cake following this recipe for a vegan coffee and walnut cake. I first trialled this recipe back in the spring, and it has taken the place of my old favourite sponge cake recipe. The Rose Elliot recipe is pretty good (it was our go-to birthday cake recipe for nearly fourteen years), but the Veganuary one is fluffier and tastes more like a traditional victoria sponge. I made a few adjustments to it though. Instead of 1tsp xantham gum, I use 2tbsps soya flour, and instead of 200ml instant coffee I use 50ml strong filter coffee and 150ml soya milk.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk around Sutton Park before shooting some b-roll for a documentary I’m working on at the moment. While I waited for my friends to arrive I went to see if I could find the ponies in the woods near Bracebridge Pool. Just as I was about to give up hope that I’d see them, I turned a corner and found what appeared to be the entire park pony population grazing on heather and roaming the paths down by the lake. Needless to say, I was in my element. I think I’d quite like to be a pony, they seem to have a good life.
These photographs were taken with a long lens, from a distance. I always repeat this because people who aren’t photographers might think that I was up close as you would need to be with a camera phone, and my worry is that these photos might normalise the idea that approaching the ponies is acceptable, when it’s not. Please zoom with your camera, not your feet.