a photographer's notebook issue 15
back on the road

An Annual Report assignment for Travis Perkins provided the opportunity to capture panoramic double page images in a range of settings across a wide array of their various merchant divisions in Northampton, Exeter & Coventry.


First up, a gathering of Travis Perkins’ apprentices at their largest UK distribution centre
 in Northampton allowed me to channel my inner ‘Sir Alan’ co-ordinating a line up of young talent.


In Exeter, we meet the friendly face at the other end of the ‘click and collect’ experience. The Travis Perkins app allows customers easy access to the online shop and management of their trade account - wherever they are.


Out in the yard in Exeter two colleagues prepare a pallet of cement for dispatch.


Over the counter catalogue shopping has taken off in the construction sector in a big way. Toolstation is one of Travis Perkins’ fastest growing divisions and here in Exeter we get a glimpse behind the scenes at just how effective and organised 'optimised stockholding’ can be.


We continue the theme of smart warehouse management at TF Solutions, 
an air conditioning and refrigeration distributor in Northampton.


Highland Cattle, Mangalitsa and Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, Badgerface, Beulah, and Exlana sheep… these are just a few of the rarer breeds to be found in the rolling hills and forests of Devon where I revisit Amelia & Ben.


A highland cow grazing on the edge of a clearing in Ashclyst Forest. 



Early on a misty morning I joined Amelia as she used her quad bike to track down her Highland cattle. They’re fairly self-sufficient but not always that easy to find! As part of a pioneering project, Amelia has special permission from the National Trust to graze her highland cows in this beautiful woodland near Killerton House. There are thought to be many biodiversity benefits when cattle graze in woodlands at low intensity. By breaking up what are known as vegetation mats with their hooves this opens up the forest floor and allows a wider variety of plant life to prosper as well as being beneficial for tree regeneration.


Amelia with a group of her mangalitsa pigs. They’ve just been given a couple of buckets of feed!
For those that haven’t encountered these hairy pigs that look a bit like sheep they are a Hungarian 
cross breed growing a big reputation for the high unsaturated fat content in their meat…



… and seen playing her role as pied piper 
leading an Oxford Sandy and Black sow to her feeding trough.


Meanwhile over in the Sid Valley, you can just about see Brock, the trainee sheepdog bringing the sheep down from the hills for their deworming ‘rinse' and to check their hooves. Ben keeps a variety of of three breeds, predominantly with a stong Welsh Mountain heritage: Badger Face, Beulah and Exlana.


It’s late afternoon and we’re on a deadline.
We need to get the sheep down into the pen for their ‘rinse’ and then on to a new pasture before dark. 
Brock the trainee sheepdog however is in too much of a hurry and is ‘driving’ them too fast.
It’s a narrow lane and there is the occasional escape route so we don’t want to lose any sheep on the way. 
Ben is barking numerous commands at Brock, particularly ‘get back’ and ‘lie down’.



Brock’s work is done for now, and he can go back to just being a regular dog, and friends again with Ben.


Meanwhile Ben still has work to do.
The sheep ‘rinse' must be administered, 
and so he is corralling the sheep
 in batches of seven or eight at a time.


Next month, in my last newsletter before summer recess, you can see the results of a testing day with a brand new piece of kit called Light Revolution. As a photographer that enjoys lighting control, to say that the results are transformative, would be an understatement.

We will also revisit Chris who found himself, not for the first time, hand rearing a young piglet, Betty, rejected by mum. 
Chris takes huge pride in creating a happy environment for his pigs. Here he is constructing an A-frame to support his new pig shelter 
and also provide a base for an outside terrace so that the residents have a sun deck to bask on in the morning sunshine.

To see more of Charlie’s photographs, visit the website at e m 07802 820408
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