The Walk In The Clouds - Part 01
w/e 22 August 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

The "Walk In The Clouds" is the second in a series of "Country Walks" leaflets published jointly by what was then called Groundwork Erewash Valley but is now Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire and Erewash Borough Council . The leaflet is dated 1997. The walk begins at the Sandiacre Library car park (above left) and proceeds by road and alleys to St Giles Church (centre) and on to Stoney Clouds (right). We covered this route in some detail (albeit in the opposite direction) in the Village Trail around Sandiacre so to see the first part of the walk, click the following links: Sandiacre Village Trail Part 8, Part 7 and Part 6.

"Walk In The Clouds" is a particularly apt title for the walk for, as well as passing through the area at Sandiacre called Stoney Clouds, the route crosses some of the highest ground in Erewash where you can "enjoy breathtaking views over the Trent and Erewash Valleys" according to the leaflet. The leaflet also mentions a Saxon window above the chancel arch in St Giles and a stone carving of the Sandiacre Imp on the arch itself. The church has always been locked whenever I've visited but a photo of the Imp can be seen here.

Turn Right

The walk is approximately six miles in total but in this first part we will only cover about a third of that from the start at the library to the edge of Stanton-By-Dale. There are several paths through Stoney Clouds but the most direct route is to turn right on entering the public open space before passing through the gate directly ahead.
First Objective

Our first objective is to cross the M1 motorway so even when not in sight, all we need to do is head in the general direction of the traffic noise. There are also frequent views of the road and even more extensive ones than this should you climb to the highest point of Stoney Clouds.
Through The Trees

The grassy paths eventually narrow and lead down over rocky and uneven ground through the trees to an open area at the side of the motorway. This walk of course is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
Ridge & Furrow

A paragraph in the leaflet states that the grassland around Stoney Clouds still shows signs of the mediaeval ploughing system known as ridge and furrow. From the appearance of the undulations in this area that was formerly part of the Erewash Valley Golf Club before the motorway cut across it, this could well be the area referred to.
Under The M1

Although I think this land is still part of the Golf Club, access is gained to the course by passing under the motorway through this tunnel.
Shielded Path

On the other side we double back to walk this grassy path shielded by trees from the motorway embankment on the left and the golf course on the right.
Across The Course

The path then turns to cross the golf course along a route delineated by a series of white posts. The course itself has very little rough but each hole is lined by trees so even though this is a public footpath, it is always advisable to watch for flying golf balls as the path crosses several holes.
Exit To Quarry Hill

From the final white post, a kissing gate in the hedge marks the exit onto Quarry Hill. To the left of this view is an old quarry which gives its name to the road and is probably unique in that it has been included in the course layout containing two holes.

Before leaving the course there is just time to look down the fairway to observe a lone golfer preparing a shot but I cannot continue without recalling an episode from my youth. With some school friends I cycled to Stanton-By-Dale and we found a number of "lost" balls at the edge of the course. We took them down to the clubhouse where the professional gave us sixpence (2½p) for each ball but he also invited us to "caddy" at the weekend for some amateur competition that was taking place. Three of us accepted but our payment was at the discretion of the golfers. A long Saturday afternoon followed lugging golf clubs in bags almost as big as us and at the end of the day we all received different amounts which in total only amounted to just over £1.00. It seemed a bit like slave labour but the quarry holes made a lasting impression. Those were the days!
Quarry Hill

Emerging from the golf course at a corner on Quarry Hill our route now continues up the hill, with the quarry on the left, into Stanton-By-Dale which is where we'll pick up the walk in the next part.
Forward to Part 02

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