October 2001 and autumn was at last beginning to
show its true colours. The weekend had seen early morning mists
and was typical of what we Ilkestonians call "Fair Weather".
That was also appropriate as lorries and caravans of the Showman's
Guild were rolling into town to prepare for the 749th Annual
Charter Fair. During the weekend I found time to visit somewhere
that is as enjoyable (perhaps even more so) and owes nothing
at all to thrill rides, roundabouts or slot machines.
Locko Park is situated on the outskirts of Derby
at the southern end of the Pennines. The countryside is undulating
rather than hilly, pleasant rather than spectacular and access
can only be gained on foot. A convenient lay-by on a country
lane provided an ideal spot to reach the park.
The Entrance to Locko Park
Enjoy with me the beauty of Locko Park in Autumn.
An undulating landscape dotted with trees
(below left) beginning to take on the shades of the season hid
some of the delights to come. In the summer the park used to
be popular when it was possible to "Pick Your Own"
fruit but this activity ceased around the Millennium. Prior to
that I was once caught in a thunderstorm (below right) whilst
picking gooseberries and finished up with my waterproof jacket
pockets full of rainwater. Please note though that if you intend
to visit the park, that it is no longer possible to pick fruit.
There is a large lake in the park which attracts
many water birds. The park and its lake were laid out in 1792
by William Ermes.
The view across the lake was doubly delightful (below
left) as the mist shrouded trees were reflected but the arrival
of a flock of Canada Geese disturbed the calm waters (right).
Across the lake there are tantalising glimpses
of Locko Hall in the distance but this is about as close as you
can get as the Hall is not open to the public. It was built in
the 1720s by Francis Smith of Warwick and has been the ancestral
home of the Drury-Lowe family since 1747. A chapel on the site
was built in 1669 and prior to that in medieval times a leper
hospital occupied the site.
At the far end of the lake the road forks. The way
to the left is a private drive to the Hall and the right hand
road (below left) heads in the direction of Lodge Farm. But it
was soon time to stop and retrace our steps back to the car with
more evidence of the changing season on the way.
Evidence too of the farm life returning to normal
and the end of the Foot and Mouth outbreak as these cattle made
their way homewards. "How now, brown cow?"
Passing the lake once more, the wildfowl had moved
and I was able to capture this image of one of the prettiest
and most colourful trees reflected in the still waters.