Sunday, September 23, 2007

3 Viewpoints

  • Walked: 23 September 2007
  • Distance: 14m
  • Terrain: some inclines
  • 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: 5.5 hours start to finish
  • Notable views: See above - plus the view back over South Derbyshire from the trig point just before Robin Wood.

I planned this route as a 'mystery walk' for friends 18 months ago and have now walked it several times, the last time being just over a year ago. (I seem to have taken half an hour less today. possibly because it wasn't as warm, and so stops were shorter!)

This is the view across the reservoir - the start / finish point.

The first thing I noticed today was the changing colours of the trees and shrubs. It makes the countryside look beautiful, but I find it faintly depressing, because it heralds months of darkness and cold.

When Bardon Church first comes into view it looks so far away but you do arrive at the foot of the hill quite quickly. You first have to cross this golf course, which always feels slightly perilous. It's quite a climb to get to the top of the hill, but the view is worth it. A good place for coffee and yurt cake, especially if you've forgotten to eat any breakfast as I had this morning. I've probably mentioned before that this church is well worth a visit for the large collection of Saxon carvings.

There's another golf course to cross before Melbourne comes into view. I noticed that the landscape had a real patchwork quilt look to it today. You can just about see a tractor in this picture, busy doing what tractors do. The footpath crosses this field. It's hard work crossing a ploughed field, not to mention the risk of being run over by a tractor or being covered by what it was distributing, so I took the safer route around the edge of the field.

This trig point marks one of my favourite views in South Derbyshire. I've never managed to take a convincing picture, but we're looking down on the Trent Valley. I recently heard someone complaining that if you are driving from Ticknall to Swarkestone, there's nowhere to stop and take in the view. I wanted to call that person a lazy so-and-so, because this point is only a very short walk (half a mile) from Ticknall. Making an effort to get there makes you appreciate the view so much more. The history lesson on the trig point is a bonus! (I think I've published a close up of the text in another post - better still get out there and find it!)

Lamont Wood by Foremark Reservoir is a great spot for lunch, again looking down on the Trent Valley. Not such a nice day as it was in September last year when I took this same photo. The boots weren't looking great then, and they have walked 320 miles since (yes, I've been through my posts and added up the miles!) The boot manufacturers aren't queuing up to sponsor me, and I'm not sure how many more miles these ones have in them.

After lunch, continue along the reservoir, and head for Calke. I'd previously resolved to find a better route back to the car park, avoiding the Sunday crowds in the grounds of Calke Abbey. The green line on the map shows the route I tried today, which worked well. It involves a longer walk along the road just before the end, but it's much better.

An interactive route map, GPX file (for loading into your favourite mapping or navigation app) and more details are all at