Dale Abbey - Hermit's Wood
w/e 07 May 2023
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Nikon D3300
It's May, the bluebells are
out and it's difficult to let the season pass without at least
one visit to a local wood, most of which have already been visited
in recent years. This year it was the old favourite Hermit's
Wood at Dale Abbey that got the nod.
The wood can be accessed via a footpath from Potato Pit Lane
or from the village itself but the easiest access is from the
junction of Woodpecker Hill (ahead) and Dale Road (right) from
Stanton By Dale.
Access to the wood is through the gate and into the field. There
used to be a stile to the right of the gate - it may still be
there but if it is, it is currently unusable.
There are two footpaths in the field, a lower one that runs along
the foot of the hill before entering the wood and another that
climbs the hill to the high level path through the wood.
Part of the stile at the entry to the wood at the higher level
is missing which made access a little tricky over the sloping
The high level footpath wends its way through the trees with
many rises and falls, twists and turns but always remains close
to the southern edge of the wood.
After about a quarter of a mile a sign points down to The Hermitage
with a warning of steep steps.
And whoever wrote the sign was not joking as the steps are indeed
very steep and extreme care is needed during the descent down
About two thirds of the way down the hillside, the steps become
less steep and the path turns to reveal the ancient monument
that is the Hermit's Cave, also known as The Hermitage. The 12th
century cave is said to have been dug by a baker from Derby called
Cornelius who lived there for some 20 years.
Two more flights of steps lead down from the cave in opposite
directions to the lower path through the wood. One way continues
to the village and the other leads out of the wood where these
signs relate the history of the area back to Woodpecker Hill.
The path continues along the northern edge of the wood but this
time through the field rather than in the wood itself. I was
surprised when I reached home to discover the latest edition
of the Ilkeston Life newspaper contained an article saying the
wood was being sold by owners, the Stanton By Dale Abbey Parochial
Church Council, but it is hoped it will be kept open to the general