Monday, February 18, 2008


Walked: 17 February 2008
Distance: 18m

Summary: Starting from Hartshorne, walk around Foremark reservoir, past Bendall's and Seven Spouts Farm, Hangman's Stone and on to Ticknall. By the Calke estate, pick up the Ivanhoe Way at the Ferrer's Centre and on to Ashby. Head off right (west) before crossing the bypass, and back to Hartshorne via Smisby.

It can take some determination to keep walking through the winter, when it's often cold, grey, wet, muddy, dark or all of the above. I have resolved to walk the Ivanhoe Way (I've said this the last two years and not managed it), and so am trying to build up my distance early in the year. The weather has been glorious, if very cold, so it was easy to get out this weekend.

I had been planning to do a 20+ mile walk this weekend, but after yesterday's 9, I stopped short of 20. That's still 27 over the two days.

Was it worth getting out of bed at 7am when the temperature was minus a lot outside? Sure was!!

This is one of the best views in South Derbyshire:

I'm very pleased with this picture of Smisby church:


Walked: 16 Feb 2008
Distance: 9.5m

Park at the Ferrer's Centre car park, walk through to Dimminsdale and enjoy the snowdrops (if it's February), to Melbourne, Ticknall and back to start.

This was meant to be a warm-up for a longer walk the next day, but the weather was so gorgeous that it grew to 9 miles. We've had a high pressure over us for a week or so now, which means lovely sunny still days and cold clear nights.

The spectacular annual display of snowdrops at Dimminsdale Nature Reserve looked even more amazing in the bright sunshine.

This was the best surprise today, I'd never used this path (head on past Scotland's Farm for a bit and off to the left towards Melbourne). The view here is stunning.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Norfolk nature watch

I have been told that there are some daffs out in flower in some areas, but I've not seen any yet. All the ones I've seen have been just budding up like these ones:

Norfolk is full of wonderful old trees. Even without leaves, they look lovely against the clear blue sky. In their coats of ivy, they reminded me of wizened old men and women in green fur jackets:


Hawthorn is just starting to leaf up:

I was intrigued by these white flowers. I thought it was too early for blackthorn or hawthorn flowers, but these *are* blackthorn. The flowers do come out before the leaves and are supposed to come out in late feb, so these ones are a bit early:


Sunday, February 03, 2008


  • Walked: 27 January 2008
  • Distance: 17.5m
  • Total time 8 hrs
  • Terrain: some steep climbs. Total ascent: 200m (lowest point to highest point)
  • Summary: Starting at Alport, along the Lathkill Dale, onto Limestone Way via Moneyash, Midshires way and on to Middleton, divert south East to pick up Limestone Way back to Youlgreave.

Every so often you get an unexpected overwhelming "it's all too beautiful" moment. That happened today. It was unexpected partly because we hadn't expected such great weather, and partly because I hadn't realised how high we'd be going. (I'll have to learn what those orange lines mean!)

The first half of this walk is down in dales and cycle routes. Even this was far more beautiful than I'd expected. From Alport, we used a track to get to Over Haddon, and then down into the Dale. The first part of the path alongside the water is marked with a brown line before changing to green later on. This means that it's not a public right of way, but some kind of concessionary path. It obviously has some history, because you first see this old sign which explains that it's free to use the path, except for the thursday of Easter week, when the toll is one penny!!

This is how beautiful this dale is, and so quiet!

I get frustrated that so many wonderful views don't look anything like as great through a viewfinder, I wonder whether sound and motion help? This is my first attempt at doing this; does it work?

This is where the water emerges from underground. It looks a little odd on the map that the water just starts apparently out of nowhere. Here's the answer: it emerges from a cave, which looks very much like something from early Lara Croft.

After emerging from the dale we found the cycle route via Moneyash and the wonderfully-named Huntmoor Butts (yes, really). The cycle path, an old railway, can be a bit flat and uninteresting in places, but has its moments:

I was surprised to see later (from the tracklogs profile, reproduced below) that this was the highest point of the walk. The climb up to the start of the cycle path was pretty gentle, and we didn't realise we were going so high.

After leaving the cycle route and finding Middleton via Green Lane, we decided that we had time and energy to take a detour that we'd kept in reserve. This took us south-west and it was on this part of the walk that the sun shone and we found the most amazing views.

Click the map below, and then each image attachment in turn to see all photographs from today's walk.

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