Collins Land – click any image for full size
I was stunned to realise that it has been almost four years since I last visited Collins Land, the home of Cerys Collins (Cerys Celestalis). In fact, it has been so long that in the intervening time, Cerys has moved from at Homestead to a Full region. The current build has been in progress since May 2017, with Cerys noting it is now “95% complete”. Having learned of the Japanese-themed redesign by way of my favourite region hunters, Shakespeare and Max, Caitlyn and I had to leap over and have an explore.
Following the region landmark will deliver you to a shaded spot south and west of the region’s centre, and the grounds of a large traditional Japanese house, built over the cooling influence of a large pond. The latter is an indication that water plays a subtle but important role within the region – keep an eye out for how Cerys makes use of it throughout. The house is situated to one side of tiered gardens and grounds, all of which tend to form a good starting point for explorations.
Wooden paths wind and fork their way through the grounds, offering a number of points of entry into the house as well as leading to other points of interest. Follow these board walks with care: just when you think you’ve found them all, the likelihood is you’ll find another leading you to a little scene, a part of the whole whilst also feeling entirely secluded. One route, for example, leads way to a little shaded summer-house to the south overlooking a beach; another route offers access to another little group of buildings in the south-west corner of the island, where a Koi house sits over another pool of water.
Close to the landing point lay stone steps climbing up into the region’s highlands. These are, like a number of the major paths around and through the region, marked by a torii gate. The steps wind their way up to a high plateau, where sits a Buddhist shrine protected by a moat and walls. Along the way, you’ll pass through bamboo groves and past a Machiya house. As well as offering a break from the climb, the gardens of the house offer a view west and north, emphasising the verdant nature of the region.
The shrine isn’t the highest point on the island, however. That honour goes to the pagoda in whose shadow it might sometimes sit. This pagoda can be reached by scrambling over the rocks, but there is a fabulous climb via wooden walkways which winds its way up the side of the cliffs, after also starting from the gardens of the landing point. This route – its start denoted by another of the torii gates – should not be missed, and offers more views out over the surrounding mountains.
On the north side of the region, sitting under the massif, is a small village, reach by following yet another wooden footpath running northwards from the main house near the landing point and along the west side of the region – watch for the pleasing little detours off of this again along the way. This path gently climbs down the rocky shoulder of the island to reach the village by way of a bridge separating another inland pool from the waters surrounding the region. Built over cobbles and stones, the village appears to be devoted to farming and fishing, and visitors are welcome to try their hand at Greedy, Greedy if they so wish.
The lowlands of the northern village are matched by the beach to the south, once again reached by steps leading down from the gardens and house at the landing point. Follow the stepping-stones here and you’ll uncover one of the region’s secrets. As noted, there are others awaiting discovery, as is a hidden place – although I’m not 100% certain that is intended to be open to the public.
I really cannot over-emphasize the beauty of this iteration of Collins Land. The colours are rich and vibrant, the landscaping beautifully and painstakingly done, the beauty spots numerous, the hidden places intimate, the use of space exquisite – as is the way the paths and climbs naturally follow the contours of the land. Keep an eye out for the little touches of humour to be found dotted about in the ground in the water. This humour offers a nod to the fact the work is still ongoing: a group of artisans working (and resting!) as they ready the final bits…
All told, an absolutely gem of a region – as is always the case with Cery’s designs. Click the image below and scroll around the landing point in 360o. If you’re a Flickr user and take shots of the region, please consider sharing them with the Collins Land Flickr group.
- Collins Land (Collins Land, rated: Adult)