Monday, September 11, 2006

3 Viewpoints

  • Walked: 10th September 06

  • Distance: 14m

  • Terrain: some

  • Summary: Starting from the round car park to the south of Staunton Harold Reservoir (first viewpoint), head for Breedon Church (second viewpoint). Via Melbourne through Robin Wood to Foremark Reservoir. Pause where the wicker Jack and Jill used to be and the abandoned car park at the South of Foremark Reservoir (third viewpoint). Back past the Calke estate to the finish.

  • Time: 6 hours start to finish

  • Notable views: See above - plus the view back over South Derbyshire from the trig point just before Robin Wood.

  • Notes to self: Find a path back to the car park avoiding Calke Park.

I planned this route as a 'mystery walk' for friends at the beginning of the year and have now walked it several times. This time we started in heavy mist, which soon cleared to reveal the most glorious September day. There were still some blackberries on the hedges, and as a bonus, we found a conference pear tree with ripe fruit!! (I'm keeping the location to myself!!) The description below is not intended to guide anyone around without Explorer 245 and the ability to read it!

The first viewpoint is the start / finish point - the round car park to the south of Staunton Harold Reservoir (which Ordnance Survey have marked as a viewpoint). The first mile is unfortunately along roads, but they're quite quiet, especially first thing on a Sunday! Head back along the road, (past an eye-catching newly-thatched cottage roof) and turn left at the bend to pass Dimminsdale Woods (which is noted for its carpet of snowdrops early in the year, and old lime kilns a few yards from the road - worth a look) and cross the valley bottom. Follow the road to Scotland farm, SK388222. Follow footpaths which take you in pretty much a straight line across fields and a golf course towards Breedon church. Unfortunately this time, we started off in fog, and so we had to peer through the mist to see the outline of the church on its curious bump of a hill:

Paths bring you out on the road at the entrance to the golf course and, a little further, a garden centre which has a tearoom and loos. As you start to climb the hill, the ground is open access land. There are several paths which take you up and back down the hill. Because it's such a steep climb, you find yourself at the top surprisingly quickly! The aforementioned fog had started to clear by the time we reached the church and so although the view from the top of the hill (which includes Donington Racetrack and East Mids Airport) was a bit poor we had this great view of the church itself:

It's well worth making time to look inside the church itself - it is home to a wonderful collection of Saxon stone carvings. When you've finished, leave the top of the hill by finding the path to the north-west of the church. You'll cross a road half-way down and then come out on a tarmac road at the bottom. Walk north along this road just a short way to find the very well-marked path across another golf course. Follow paths in pretty much a straight line which take you over a ridge and down into the historic and beautiful Melbourne.

Pick up the footpath at SK375249, which takes you past St Bride's and a trig point which has a plaque on it which tells you all about it. (This photo of the trig point was taken last winter). Turn around and look behind you - the view from this point is worth a look.

The path which goes directly through Robin Wood is the muddiest quagmire that I know, and is muddy even in the driest weather. In the winter it's worth finding another way around. We hadn't had lunch at this point, and I'm pleased that we held off as we passed Seven Spouts Farm, Hangman's Stone and Bendall's Farm, because the picnic spot in the new Lamont Wood (approx 337245) was perfect; secluded and affording good views:

There used to be a 'wicker' Jack and Jill on this path towards the bottom end of the reservoir. If anyone knows what happened to them, please let me know. Their wishing well is still there (although a bit overgrown) and this is the third viewpoint. In fact, the view over the reservoir from the picnic spot just a little further on is well worth a look:

You'll find yourself in an abandoned car park - permanently locked. I have heard that this is because of night-time misuse, but I'd like to have some confirmation of this. It's actually quite fascinating to see nature reclaiming this area - moss growing over the tarmac and grass coming through it.

If time and legs allow, do locate Carver's Rocks, especially if you like a scramble. It's good fun climbing up the rocks.

The footpath brings you out on the Hartshorne -> Ticknall road. Cross and find the path which takes you past the Scaddows Farm, and then across to the Calke Park. There's a gap in the boundary wall at approx SK358230 which on this occasion we took, headed in a straight line past Betty's Pond and through the nature reserve. We've taken this path a number of times, but you do find yourself among flip-flops, push chairs and old folks with very small dogs. Being a solitary kind of person, I've resolved to find another way back to the round car park!

The route above was generated using Meander. I'm hesitant to publish the route complete with the map because of Ordnance Survey's licensing, but if you'd like the route superimposed on the OS map as a jpeg or in Meander file format, just email me.

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