Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dimminsdale Sloe Walk

  • Walked: 21 October 2007
  • Distance: 7.3m
  • Terrain: 90m ascent over 3 miles and the same descent
  • Summary: Park at the Severn Trent car park at the south end of Staunton Harold reservoir, through Dimminsdale, through South Wood, along Ashby by-pass, back to start along Ivanhoe Way
  • Time: 2-3 hours start to finish

This is another regular walk. I walked this route just a week or two ago, and spotted an abundance of ripe sloes on the Ivanhoe Way. This time I added Dimminsdale nature reserve, adding a couple of miles to the route.

Before setting off, I harvested the sloes that have grown on my own hedge. This photograph is simply to record the number of sloes that my 10ft long by 18" high hedge has grown in this, its third year (and the first year that it's produced berries). I planted a blackthorn (relative of the more well-known hawthorn) for two reasons - it's very spiky and child-unfriendly (like me), and because I like sloe gin. People have been sceptical that it would produce sloes, so I'm especially proud!

Dimminsdale nature reserve is at map reference SK 376219. (To find the car park I used today, Take the B587 north from the A42 Ashby junction. Follow the road for 2km past Staunton Harold Hall, take the first left towards Calke and park in the picnic area car park, which is on the left just before reaching the reservoir. The entrance to Dimminsdale is on the roadside about 50m before bridge over the reservoir.)

We set off at about 9:30 in a thick mist. This is the 'view' over the reservoir.

It was chilly, but as the sun started to burn through, things looked very pretty. There's still a light touch of frost on the ground. This picture was taken just after leaving the nature reserve and just before reaching the craft centre's long driveway. You'll see from the map that there are two options here. We walked towards the craft centre car park and picked up the footpath from there. Later, on the way back, we followed the signs for the Ivanhoe Way which take you via the road back to this point.

As noted once before, you can follow the public right of way easily because of Leicestershire's bright yellow wayposts and some clanky industrial-style gates. This walk leaves the Ivanhoe way where two rights of way cross, and goes through South Wood. After leaving the wood, the route passes Pisternhill Farm. We follow the contour of the land, keeping the farm buildings to our right. The route has been uphill so far - climbing 90m over a few miles.

Just past the farm, the ground levels out and gives some wonderful views. The solitary 'cloud' is actually vapour from Ratcliffe power station. Just to the left in this picture, you can see the silhouette of Breedon church.

We arrive at the Ashby Bypass. We're on the public right of way just north of the road itself. Unlike the pavement beside the road, which goes down into the cuttings, this footpath stays up above the road. The trees that have been planted here are getting taller, and when mature will help to screen off the road. As I've noted before, the traffic noise is a small price to pay for the wonderful views here.

The path peels away from the road, and just past a horse dressage ring, we can take a left and pick up the Ivanhoe Way. I love this part of the IW - it's all downhill now, and it seems particularly green.

This is where I had previously spotted the sloes, and I wasn't the only one who had, because we weren't alone picking some this morning. Putting them straight into the Kilner jars meant that we knew when we had exactly the right number!

As you can see from the map, we picked a different path back to Dimminsdale and also picked a different path through the reserve. The sun was beautiful by now, and everything was looking lovely in its autumn foliage.

This is the view over the reservoir just before getting back to the car park. Compare this picture with the earlier one taken from the same spot!

The route above was generated using Meander.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.


dive said...

I remember you planting those bushes, Pea.
Well done!!!

And I love the way the mist burns odd to reveal glorious views. What a lovely day out.

dive said...

Burns OFF; not burns odd … Typo hell slaps me round the face.

peahen said...

I thought your first version sounded much more poetic!

Flugel Proud said...

Are you going to make some sloe gin or are you making wine with your berries?

peahen said...

that's a good question - I have a recipe here for sloe wine! However, my own little bagfull went in with the others we picked and are now soaking in gin (wish I was).

whippetsgalore said...

mmm... I'm looking forward to a glass of that Sloe gin. And so You should be proud of the crop you grew on you own hedge well done. A good walk with excellent views.

Eb said...

What gorgeous, storybook scenery. You are lucky to live in such an area.

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