Sep 27 2021

Capturing changes through the ages from WW1 to the present day at Londonthorpe

At the end of 2019 I got involved in the joint National Trust/Woodland Trust project ‘Reconnecting Grantham to its historic landscape’, first as a history and heritage researcher, then as a photographer, both my passions and also my professions. In January 2020 Heather Cook, now the project manager for the project, visited Londonthorpe Wood, Belton Park, Bellmount Tower and Alma Park to identify 16 areas that would be improved in the future, thanks to investment for the project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We decided that I would take pictures of these areas on a regular basis and continue to do this into the future. Because COVID-19 came along in March 2020 it wasn’t possible to go out every three months and record seasonal differences. Since January 2020 I managed to visit all 16 areas at least five times, with some being visited more often. The results can be seen on a work in progress webpage on my personal website go to, click on the Woodland Trust/National Trust widget on the right of the page. The best way to view these is on a desktop or laptop, but you can also use a tablet or phone. 



Since midAugust some bigger works have started onsite– such as the cycleway connecting Alma Park and Londonthorpe Wood and the Londonthorpe Wood Car Park. So when I go out again, when the tree leaves get their autumnal colours, spectacular changes could be seen. I am intrigued by changes in landscapes (and also streetscapes) across different time spans, whether it is over the course of an hour, or over months or years.



I have remade old pictures and postcards, one of Belton House and another of WW I soldiers marching on Five Gates Lane heading towards Grantham for their daily exercise. The Belton Park and Alma Park areas were used as a training camp and training grounds during both World Wars. More pictures can be seen on


For the latter I focus mostly on sunsets and sunrises. I also used the technique to record the tree management works being carried out along the Belton Park Eastern Avenue. You can watch the results on YouTube:



You can send your comments I will be happy to read them.


Estelle Slegers Helsen – Volunteer with the ‘Reconnecting Grantham’ project at Londonthorpe Wood and Bellmount
Feature Image: Londonthorpe Wood, Richard Faulks / WTML
Other images: Estelle Slegers Helsen
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