Autumn Footprints 2010 - Week Two
w/e 10 October 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

The three walks enjoyed during the second week of the Festival started with the "Breadsall Round" followed by "Church Wilne Towers & Lake" both in Erewash and concluded with the "Holbrook, Horsley & Castle Walk" in Amber Valley. Covering about seventeen miles in total, the selection of images below from the three walks can only give a flavour of the varying countryside and landscapes of the area but show how easy it is to get away from the urban sprawl of the major cities and towns.

Breadsall SSSI

FarmlandPenned SheepLeaving Breadsall Village the first part of the "Breadsall Round" followed the route of the former railway line and passed through a cutting that is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It then took us through some arable farmland and across ploughed fields (left) to reach Morley where some penned sheep took an interest in all the walkers as they passed (right).
Lunch Break

Ploughed FieldThree Horse ShoesAfter Morley Church, I was surprised to find that the path ran diagonally through the middle of another ploughed field (left) as it approached Morley School and the Three Horse Shoes (right) where several of the walkers could easily have been tempted to enjoy a liquid lunch but instead we continued to a field at the rear of the Almshouses for our lunch break in the open air (above).
Golf Buggies

Golf Course EntranceGolf CourseWhereas the morning walk had been across fields, the return to Breadsall after lunch was mainly along country lanes, much of it by the Breadsall Priory Golf Course. To the left, an entrance to the course presented views of a manicured parkland while to the right there were views across a more open landscape. Some of the golfers though (above) were travelling in style as they made their way round.
Breaston Horses

The next walk from Breaston to Church Wilne along the Coffin Walk returning via Draycott turned into more of a nature ramble with a variety of animals all the way starting with a selection of geese and fowls, goats and horses in the fields at the edge of the village.
St Chad's Water

Midshires WayChurch Wilne TowerWe had completed the Coffin Walk several times previously in both directions and the last time we were at Church Wilne, I actually climbed the church tower (right). That opportunity was again available but this time we chose to extend the walk and undertake a twenty minute circumnavigation of St Chad's Water, again something we had done previously but not since 2004 - click here. On route to Church Wilne we had crossed the long distance footpath called the Midshires Way (left).

As we waited for the group to reassemble as some had gone around St Chad's Water while others visited the church, I wandered into the churchyard and spotted a butterfly on a headstone soaking up the sun. After a longer than anticipated stop at Wilne, the group headed back via Draycott where another break to call in at a MacMillan Coffee Morning effectively ended the walk for about half the group. The rest headed back to Breaston on the Sustrans path but after tasting the cake and drinking the coffee, we made our way back via a more direct route.

Road CrossingHorsley FountainAnother day and another walk and this time about forty of us (excluding the babe in arms) gathered in Holbrook, seen here in the distance, for a fairly strenuous six miles. We began by descending a steep hill to cross a main road (left) before climbing up the other side of the valley to Horsley. There are a number of "fountains" (right) in Horsley that were donated in 1824 by Reverend Sitwell.
Horsley Castle

Friendly HorsesOne of the main reasons I wanted to do this walk was to visit the ruins of Horsley Castle, somewhere I had never been before but little remains of the castle and it would be easy to miss if you didn't know what you Fox & Houndswere looking for. Our climb up to the castle had been through two fields of friendly horses (left) who followed us until a gate barred their path and after leaving the castle we descended into Coxbench where a couple of ponies peered over the wall at the side of the pavement for a pat. The animal theme continued as we passed the Fox and Hounds pub (right) before we turned off the road for another climb up to the ridge that would eventually take us back to Holbrook.
Sheltering Horse

In Coxbench QuarryOn The RidgeTo reach the high point of the ridge we first walked through the old Coxbench Quarry (left) and then up through a wooded area before crossing more fields where more of our four legged friends eyed us with a "What are you doing in my field?" look. From Coxbench onwards a light drizzle meant donning waterproofs and even the horse took shelter under a tree.
Corn On The Cob

Although horses and other animals had figured largely in all of the walks this week, we were also reminded near the end of the Holbrrok walk that farming was an important activity and that crops were ready for harvesting. I was hoping to take part in at least one more walk before the Festival ended but other commitments prevented this - but I can still look forward to next year's Autumn Footprints which is already being planned for the 10th to the 25th September 2011.
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