Start Bay

AONB in 3 words - Heaven On Earth

Martyn Norsworthy on living and working in the AONB

International award winning photographer Martyn Norsworthy grew up near the coast in the heart of South Devon AONB. Here he tells us how the protected landscape is at the core of his work and of its importance to him as a breath-taking open air studio.

Which part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty do you live in and how long have your family lived in the area

I live near Kingsbridge, although my fathers family came from Start Bay. My family have lived in the area for hundreds of years. I was born here.

Do you feel any sort of responsibility for the landscape that you live and work in

Yes I do, it's such an amazing and varied landscape that needs saving from development for future generations. I also believe it is a working space too and through working partnerships the area can be preserved but in a way that still allows it to live.

As an award winning photographer can you tell us a bit about how the protected landscape helps your business

That's a simple one. The landscape around here is simply stunning, easy as a landscape photogrpaher but more so as a Wedding and Portrait Photographer - it provides me with an enviable open air studio with some of the most breath taking backdrops I could wish for!

What can be done to ensure that this area and other 'protected landscapes' remain special for future generations

I'd say carry on as you are hopefully, land owners need help and advice on how to work within the "protected" areas but need to earn a living too. It's a very fine balance.

Over the centuries, the South Devon landscape has inspired poets, authors, scientists and artists, many of whom have left a rich legacy of cultural associations – do you have a favourite

This is an easy one! Start Bay, especially from Start Point. When you look back inland you see so many variations of light and scenery. Rugged cliffs, beaches, rolling green hills and it changes minute by minute.

What would your ideal day out in the AONB involve

As a photographer I love both early mornings and sunsets too. The light at the beginning and end of days is simply divine, creating a much more dramatic edge to any landscape. On the summer solstice I once photographed the sunrise at Start Point and then spent the day enjoying the sunny weather in and around the South Hams, ending up at Hope Cove to capture the sunset. So fortunate to go from east coast to west coast in a day and get both.

What's your food heaven

It has to be fish, love the local fish and especially if served right next to the beach. Start Bay Inn is a favourite haunt...

Have you any unfulfilled ambitions

I have to say I am lucky enough to have completed so many of my ambitions. From a work point of view I would like to produce some amazing portraits of inspitrational famous people. On a personal level I want to travel and explore New Zealand, I have family there and really need to go and explore!

What's your favourite view in the AONB

There really are so many! As a photographer my eye sees so many wonderful sights. But as previously mentioned it has to be sat among the rocks on the spine of Start Point, looking back inland across the beaches and countryside. My second is from Bolberry Down looking back across Dartmoor all the way to Haytor.

Can you sum up the AONB in 3 words

Heaven On Earth

Photos copyright Martyn Norsworthy