Walked: 22 August 2009
Distance: 6.1 miles
Terrain: easy, but quite a bit of road.
A good viewpoint is an important part of a good circular walk. I've driven past this particular spot quite a few times since I've lived in the Midlands and made a mental note to myself that I should check the map and see what what possibilities there are for a walk that passes by it. But I've not managed it until today.
It's not marked on the map as a viewpoint, but I think it should be. It happens to be over the border in Leicestershire. So why am I saying that it's one of the best views in South Derbyshire? Well, it's just outside the South Derbyshire town of Melbourne and it just... *feels* like South Derbyshire; rural, rolling green hills.
The spot in question is on the B587 close to Staunton Harold Hall. Yes, you have to enjoy these views from the discomfort of a fast road. But it's worth it.
I've devised a circular route which includes this spot, and I've thoroughly enjoyed walking it today. It's been a beautifully clear and sunny day and there are several other delicious moments on this route.
There are a couple of convenient car parks en route (the Severn Trent one just past Dimminsdale and the craft centre) but I chose to start at the round car park below Staunton Harold Reservoir. It's off the circular route by about half a mile, and so adds a bit on to the total distance, but it's worthwhile because of the wonderful views from that car park (which *is* marked as a viewpoint on the map).
I've snapped this next view so many times before, so I've tried to find a couple of different angles. It's where the road passes Dimminsdale and crosses the bottom of the reservoir:
This walk follows the Ivanhoe Way for a little bit. When it parts company with the long-distance route, it crosses a couple more fields before emerging onto that B587. This is the spot I've been going on about. The next few photos are taken from there, pointing in various directions. It's the highest spot around, and there's a good long view in almost all directions. Unfortunately, you're on a fast road, and enjoying these views by peering over hedgerows, but hey. Footpaths are few and far between here, but it's worth walking along the road north-west as far as a sharp bend in the road for another vantage point to take in more of these long views.
Unfortunately, it's then about a kilometer along this road before we pick up the driveway / track towards Stanton Harold Hall and the Ferrers Craft Centre. It's a very pleasant walk.
The Ferrers Centre is one of the best craft centres around and I recommend the tea shop for refreshments. It's in the grounds of Stanton Harold Hall, which has its own church and lake; a real beauty spot.
After passing through the craft centre, it's a short and pleasant walk through Dimminsdale nature reserve before emerging on the road at the bottom of the reservoir, and retracing steps back along the road to the round car park.