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.

Woodpecker Hill

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.
Low Level Path

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.
Difficult Access

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 fence.
High Level Path

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.
To The Hermitage

After about a quarter of a mile a sign points down to The Hermitage with a warning of steep steps.
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 the escarpment.

Hermit's Cave

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 Way Back

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 public.

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