Derby - Darley Playing Fields
w/e 16 August 2020
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
It must be
getting on for forty years since I was a regular visitor here
(left) during the winter months where, with about a dozen or
more others, I would squeeze into a changing room to prepare
to officiate in local amateur football matches. There have been
a number of changes since then but you still have to walk along
the path by the tennis courts (right) to reach the football pitches.
It was about half a mile walk to the furthest pitch and as a
referee you always hoped for one of the nearer ones. If your
decisions during the match didn't meet with the approval of the
players and their supporters, it could be a long half mile back!
Fortunately I never had a problem.
This time though we walked that half mile along the path between
the avenue of trees.
To the left there is more open space - not really enough for
any more football pitches - but the tree line marks the edge
of the River Derwent.
At the far end of the avenue Folly Road Footbridge crosses a
brook feeding into the Derwent and on the other side of the bridge
is a large boulder with an information plaque. This describes
the origin of the name "Folly" which came about when
it was discovered that there was insufficient water to drive
a mill built here in the seventeenth century. The mill was converted
into three houses, two of which still remain.
A timber bridge was replaced in 1948 but erosion made it unsafe
and it was closed in 2002. We returned from Folly Road over the
now fully restored bridge to the main path to start our return.
Leaving the main footpath for a little while we reached the point
where the brook reaches the river, a popular spot for paddling
and swinging from a rope attached to one of the trees - not that
we did either! The brook was known locally as "Red Ditch"
due to the soil on the banks having a reddish tinge.
As we walked along the river we spotted three paddleboarders
going the opposite way upstream.
We hadn't gone very far when the sound of a splash alerted us
to the fact that one of the boarders have fallen in and was scrambling
to get back on his board.
(Those of a certain age will already be thinking of The Goon Show.)
We rejoined the main path but soon reached a colourful signpost
we had passed earlier and it was here that we moved out of the
shelter provided by the trees to follow another path in the full
glare of the sun.
The signpost indicated that the city centre along this riverside
path was only a mile away whilst Burton was fifteen miles distant.
Across the river we could see Mill House (the white building)
and the pavilion and the cricket ground in Darley Abbey Park.
The park occupies the whole of that side of the river opposite
Darley Playing Fields but we soon left the riverside path to
get out of the blazing sun to return to the start of our walk.