Sunday, November 18, 2012

grass or concrete?

Here I'm standing in the middle of the Holywell site just on the edge of Ashby, the Beeches pub is down there somewhere to the left. I'm using the public footpath here, everyone has a right to walk through and enjoy these lovely views. There's a planning application in to build here 400 houses, a shop, school and other facilities. It's in the middle of The National Forest with Prestop Park Wood just in front and to the right, and Ingles Hill Wood behind me. It looks better as it is, I think!

More photos of this morning's walk in my set Walking in and around Prestop Park Wood

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Derbyshire Rights of Way Improvement Plan

If you use Derbyshire's rights of way, do take some moments to read their Rights of Way Improvement Plan.

I support their excellent work in keeping the paths open and documented but I have strong feelings against too much intervention and 'furniture'.

But make up your own mind, and fill in the questionnaire (it doesn't take too many minutes) and help to shape their policy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Autumn mist

I gather that it was beautifully misty frosty morning earlier, which made me wish that I was a morning person. A quick look at some of this morning's webcam images confirms this. The first signs of autumn colour in the trees, mist hanging over them and frost on the emerging crop.

Then I noticed not so early - pic taken at five to nine. Still wishing I could get up that early.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Dovedale October 2012

Not my usual kind of walk, this is a very popular and beautiful path, well maintained by The National Trust with good facilities. It's very dog and family-friendly.

Money grows on trees here! There are a number of logs on the way which have had coins hammered into the splits by walkers. I've not seen this anywhere else - have you?

My suggested route - Milldale to Dovedale and back (or vice versa)  is about 6 miles with good parking at either end.

More details about the route are here

More photos fron today's walk are on Flickr here

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ashby Woulds walk, August 2012

Now that the colours are turning autumnal, I've been looking back through some photos from earlier in the year.

On a lovely day in August I walked my 11m Ashby Woulds walk, starting at Shellbrook, to Moira Furnace (ice-cream, coffee, loos and other walking essentials available) to Donisthorpe woods and towards Measham. That part of the walk follows the Ivanhoe Way. Then leaving the IW at Oakthorpe and through a potentially beautiful new part of National Forest to Willesley to loop back to Shelbrook.

More details about the route are here

And this photoset can be viewed at Flickr

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The National Forest - still a forest in the making

I'm lucky to live somewhere near the heart of The National Forest - a forest in the making covering most of N W Leicestershire, South Derbyshire and East Staffordshire.

The forest is more than ten years old now, there are trees that are mature and even being harvested. But there are still new areas being added to the map. It seems that whenever I walk in this area, I come across new plantations. Here are just two new examples I've spotted this year.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

South Derbyshire Three Viewpoints Walk

This walk could be called 'Two Reservoirs' or just 'Viewpoints Walk' because there are many more viewpoints than the three of the title, including views across both of South Derbyshire's reservoirs - Foremark and Staunton Harold

One benefit of the rainy weather we've had this year is that the water levels are nice and high.

This is one of the first, if not the first, that I devised and I've walked it many times. It felt good to tread the 14 miles of South Derbyshire again today, I have neglected my hobby this year, a downside of the rainy weather!

More pictures from today's walk are here on Flickr

And more information about the route including a map is here at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rutland Water full circular route 2012

One of my favourite places to walk, Rutland Water. I've devised several circular walks close to the reservoir and I like to do the full circular walk once a year, which I did in July this year (2012)

You have the option of walking around the reservoir, officially 17m, or you can add the Hambleton Peninsula route, officially making 26m. However I've measured these routes and found them much shorter (I believe the full walk with the peninsula is more like 21).

Either way, it's difficult to lose your way - the paths are mostly surfaced and well-signed. The views are beautiful and the walking includes waterside, woodland, lanes and villages.

More photos from this walk in July 2012 are here

I've published more information about the full circular Rutland Water route here

This time I made a video while walking - take a turn around the reservoir with me!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lathkill Dale 2012

Lathkill Dale is beautiful and I love doing this walk in the Spring, when there's lots of colour and the leaves are just out. Besides the dale itself, the walk takes in woodland, villages, open fields and lanes.

This is one of my favourite photos ever. People visit Lathkill Dale just for this waterfall (there are many other beautiful views!) I was unprepared and took this without a tripod or any special equipment, or much knowledge of slow exposure photos. From memory it was about 1/20 sec with the camera pressed against a rock.

More of my pictures of this walk taken in May 2012 here

I've published two versions of this walk, shorter (11.5m) and longer (17.5m) - find them both listed on my Derbyshire and Peak District walks and take your pick!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weavers' Way

Norfolk has a number of decent routes. Weavers' Way is one of the UK's National Trails and follows old railway line, bridleway and country lanes. It joins Cromer and Great Yarmouth, and in the Yarmouth half takes in the Norfolk Broads.

At 60 miles, it's impossible to do in a day, but it passes through many towns and villages and so can be broken into two or more sections.

On 7 April I walked the first half, Cromer to Stalham. It's a linear walk and so you have to use public transport or arrange lifts. An Easter break with the folks was a perfect opportunity!

More photos of this walk on Flickr 

My own information about Weavers Way is here

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

drawing a line between weight and photo quality

I've been struggling with this a little bit. On a long walk I don't want to be encumbered by weight and bulk, but at the same time I've been feeling the need for higher-quality images.

I've been using a Sony bridge camera for the last two or three years. It's close to an slr in its features, has a huge optical zoom and it's very light. But I've been seeing its limitations, so I've moved to a dslr, which is obviously much heavier. I've gone for a bumbag case so that I can carry it reasonably comfortably with easy access to it and no space taken up in the rucksack.

I'd love to take a tripod around with me, especially on dull days, but even my fairly light and portable one is out of the question. I've just invested in one of these: Which I bought as a monopod but is clearly a combined 'pod, walking stick and handy weapon!

I won't use it as a walking stick, I know that some are designed for that but this one isn't. But it will travel happily in or on the side of the rucksack.

If I can carry these things comfortably on a long walk, that should allow me to capture more professional-looking images without hampering my walking too much.

How do you manage to tread the line between portability and quality?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mooch around Prestop Park

Not so much a circular walk as a mooch around. I took footpaths from my house to Prestop Park Wood (the area that my webcam shows) and then wandered around the woods. As part of the National Forest, access is open. Some of the trees here are evergreen some (poplars, silver birch, oak) are not, as is very obvious at this time of the year.

It doesn't feel like spring yet, but last Thursday was one of the sunniest blue-sky days you could imagine in Winter.

More photos from this session are on Flickr

Friday, February 24, 2012

National Forest webcam - Prestop Park Wood

I'm lucky enough to have this view from the back of my house. The wood is Prestop Park Wood, in The National Forest.

I've finally got a webcam running - it's broadcasting a picture every 30s so that you can see the weather in this area and also see some gorgeous sunsets. I'm also compiling some stop-motion video using minutely, hourly and daily images. The first of these is now on Youtube

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Chasing rainbows

The last attempt at walking to these masts was cut short and as the bank holiday was such a gorgeous day I decided to keep walking until I found them.

The day was so pleasant that it didn't seem like January at all.

I got as far as Fisherwick (by Lichfield) which is within spitting distance of the tall one. At this point I'd done 15miles (= 30 miles for the round trip) and was doubtful about the hooves carrying me all the way back. It was completely dark half way back but the sky was so clear and the moon so bright that I could see clearly and had a very strong shadow. I was also fascinated with two stars so bright that I guessed that they were planets and later identified them as Jupiter and Venus.

DSC07480DSC07485DSC07492DSC07493The end of the rainbowIn a reflective mood DSC07506DSC07477

Chasing Rainbows, a set on Flickr.