La Frontera – click any image for full size
La Frontera, a homestead region designed by Zaffy Bailey (zaffin) and Pete (PeteSunny), opened its doors to the public recently, offering an opportunity for visitors to spend a little time in a setting inspired by Spain’s autonomous region of Andalusia.
Focusing on a terraced village setting among the steps of high, sandy hills, the region presents a simple, elegant setting visitors are invited to explore and photograph – there is an invitation to upload images to the region’s Flickr group – and to enjoy the general relaxed ambience of the village and the beach below.
The little village is split into two by the steps of the hill, with the landing point set in the terraza of the large part. As befitting the location, the building here are adobe-fronted, with some offering a nod towards Moorish architecture again in keeping with the inspiration for the region, while others are perhaps a little more Tuscan in styling. Bicycles are racked to one side of the fountained square, but to be honest, the cobbled and stone-stepped paths winding between and down from the village’s buildings are better followed on foot.
There are several of these paths, ranging from simple dirt tracks cut into a hill, others ancient stone steps, carefully cut and placed and suggestive that there may once have been something far older than the current houses sitting upon the hill, and still others rough stones loosely planted in the sandy soil. Each offers a route of exploration, either up or down from the terraza, making any exploration a matter of following where your muse leads.
Nor are the paths alone in finding a path down the hillside; a stream, rising up above the village, tumbles by way of falls, channel and sloping path down to where the sea awaits (a second waterfall drops more directly to the sea on the north side of the island). With its rushing, turbulent water crossed here and there by bridge and steps, the fast-placed stream may have, over time, played a role in helping to separate a low-lying sandbank from the rest of the land.
The home of scrub grass, a scattering of trees, wild flowers and tall reeds, the semi-circular sandbar offers a beach where a tan can be gained, and the skin cooled by either a dip is the sea or in the pools to be found on the sun-dried earth of the bank. It is connected to the rest of the land by two humpbacked bridges that stand almost guard-like, one either flank of what might have once been a walled orangery. This appears to have once been a part of a larger formal garden, although only the flagstones of a terrace and a central water feature now remains.
A wooden board walk also spans the arc of water separating the sand bar from the rest of the land. Follow this and it will take you to the near-hidden secret of the region: and underground music venue. Located inside a high-ceilinged cavern, this offers plenty of space for those wishing to dance. Zaffy tells me the plan is to make this the venue Whether this will be a “formal” venue for dancing / music is unclear to me; during my visit, Zaffy was either engaged in building or AFK, as my enquiry went unanswered.
Throughout the region are plenty of opportunities to sit and appreciate the setting, from the beach, through the gardens up to the village – including up on some of the roof tops and verandahs, all the way to the highest peaks (or higher still in the case of the windmill standing well above the land to the north-east). There is also a subtle sound scape to add aural depth to the region as one wanders the paths and trails.
Offering uncluttered charm, plenty of opportunities for photography and perfectly suited to being seen under a variety of warmer windlight settings, La Frontera is a delight to visit, and a reminder to those of us sitting on the cusp of winter that warmer days and days in the Sun really aren’t that far away.
- La Frontera (Forest Haven, rated: Adult)
With thanks to Shakespeare for the pointer!