Autumn Footprints - Week Two
w/e 12 October 2008
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

During the second week of the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival in Amber Valley and Erewash, we participated in another five of the guided walks and below are a couple of images from each of those walks. The weather remained fine for almost all of the rest of the festival but there were one or two misty days and a light drizzle on the final morning that soon gave way to a pleasant afternoon.

Derby Lodge

Our Monday walk took us into familiar territory (see the Miller-Mundy Memories) up Shipley Hill from Mapperley Reservoir but our leader, a local Historian and Natural History Lecturer, shared some snippets of information that were new to us and also identified a number of trees and birds that had previously gone unnoticed. How many people know there is a Turkey Oak tree in the park for example - although it's nowhere near the Derby Lodge pictured above that is now showing its Autumn colours?
Wood Sculpture

Sadly many of the old beech trees in Shipley Country Park have had to be felled for health and safety reasons or because they have become diseased. This one appeared sound enough but the experts had thought otherwise and down it had come. The stump has since benefited from some excellent carvings by a talented artist who has left his mark in several places on the remaining stumps. Our walking colleagues christened this one "The Old Man of the Woods".
Erewash Canal

Another day and another walk, this time with the West Park Walkers around Toton Washlands. Part of the three and a half mile route was along the Erewash Canal in Long Eaton and as it was with a Walking for Health group the whole walk was mostly on the level with no stiles to climb over.
Sandiacre Lock

As the front runners in the group reached Sandiacre Lock they paused for a while to allow the back markers to catch up. For me it was just another photo opportunity.
Flemish Glass

During the first week of the festival we had walked with another Walking for Health group at Sawley through Orchid Walk to St. Chad's Water. We had previously visited St. Chad's Water in 2004 and walked around the lake but the church had been closed then. This time though we forsook another walk around the lake and were able to inspect the Flemish stained glass windows inside the church of which this is one.
Power Station View

This walk started at Breaston and followed the Coffin Walk, so called because the churchyard in Breaston was not consecrated until 1824 and prior to that funerals for Breaston villagers were carried out at St. Chad's in Church Wilne. The coffins had to be carried across the fields between the two along a footpath that became known as the Corpse Way or Coffin Walk. In those days of course the distant power station at Ratcliffe on Soar and the towers holding the power lines would not have been seen striding across to landscape.
Canal Crossing

Our next walk, the Sandiacre to Stanton Gate Loop (via Stapleford) was with the Sandiacre Strollers and as we neared the end of the festival, the autumn colours were starting to make themselves known. Also the misty morning added to that autumnal feeling although walking conditions were still very pleasant. The route of this walk crossed the Erewash Canal and followed the waterway towpath northwards before branching off into Stapleford.
St. Giles' Church

The route regained the canal at Stanton Gate and then followed the towpath south again to conclude back in Sandiacre. From this vantage point as we neared the end of the walk, the mist had not cleared but St Giles' Church was still prominent in the distance.

The Sandiacre walk was on Friday and by Saturday I had developed a nasty cold. I had planned and hoped to complete the Pinxton Push, a six mile walk along the route of the old Cromford Canal from Langley Mill to Pinxton on the Sunday morning but the fact that I still felt unwell and also that a steady drizzle was falling persuaded me that it was not the best idea to be out in such conditions. I was still struggling to breathe easily but fully dosed with paracetamol and a restful morning at home in the warm meant that I felt much better after lunch and so decided to join the final event of the festival, the Kirk Hallam Wildlife Walk. This was just a gentle stroll around Kirk Hallam Lake and in the nearby meadows where this small frog was just one of the wildlife specimens found.
Kirk Hallam Meadows

Leaflet CoverTo the uninitiated the meadows area looks to be covered by grass, but closer inspection by one of the leaders of the walk found numerous varieties of wildflowers, plants, reeds, grasses and sedges to name just a few. The Friends of Kirk Hallam Lake & Meadows are busy working to maintain and protect the lake and meadows site and are actively encouraging the involvement of youngsters who live in the area with a "Young Rangers" scheme.

This walk brought to a conclusion the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival for 2008 and whilst next year's programme has still to be arranged, the dates have already been fixed. The festival will run between Saturday 12th and Sunday 27th September 2009 - but we aren't going to wait until then to enjoy more of the scenery in Amber Valley and Erewash.
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