Autumn Footprints 2011 - Week One
w/e 02 October 2011
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
Now in its ninth year, the Amber Valley and Erewash
Walking Festival took place between 10th and 25th September with
about thirty guided walks plus sessions on map reading, Nordic
walking and an introduction to bushcraft. As in previous years
we signed up for several of the walks of varying lengths and
as usual I went snap happy and captured nearly 600 images. I've
selected just two or three from each of eight walks, the first
four of which during the first week of the Festival are on this
page. If I went through all the images again I would probably
come up with an entirely different selection but I hope these
chosen pictures give just a flavour of the event and show the
variety of scenery - and weather - in the local area.
The Festival opened in Shipley Country Park with a launch event
and guided walk on Saturday 10th September but our first participation
was on the following Monday when we joined a group for a walk
"Round about Alfreton". The walk started at the bus
station in the town centre and headed off west through Watchorn
Park (above), across the Alfreton Golf Course and through the
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve to Oakerthorpe. Watchorn
Park is named after Robert Watchorn who rose from working in
the Derbyshire coal mines to become the USA Commissioner of Immigration
on Ellis Island in the early 19th Century. Despite his success
in America he never forgot his roots in the Derbyshire town and
became a well respected benefactor.
Classed as a moderate walk of about five miles, the route ascended
a hill and passed through woods before descending towards South
Wingfield where we enjoyed a picnic lunch at All Saints Church
followed by a look around the church itself.
return to Alfreton was by way of a climb back up out of the valley
of the River Amber across mainly pasture land to arrive at another
church, that of St Martin, Alfreton. A feature of this walk not
apparent from the images was the gale force wind, the tail end
of hurricane Katia that was blowing across the UK but it was
a bright day and there were plenty of good views over the surrounding
It was still a windy day on the Tuesday which may have accounted
for the low turnout on the "Markeaton Circular Walk" on the northern
outskirts of Derby. This was one of three guided walks arranged
for the day and presumably the other two were better attended
but those who opted not to undertake this walk of almost four
miles missed a very pleasant morning with the walk leaders, Ben
and Marion. The leaflet describing the route of the walk refers
to the stile at All Saints, Mackworth with Markeaton, as a "granny
gobbler" but I can confirm that no grannies were gobbled
on this particular day!
The majority of this walk was through mainly agricultural land
on footpaths and bridleways but the end section was via the very
attractive setting of Markeaton Park.
The next walk I participated in was to be the "Top O' Stanley"
on Thursday of the first week and this was to be a solo walk
in that my wife needed to be in Derby on the same day. With plenty
of time available I decided to drop her in Derby and make my
way from there to Stanley for the 10:30 start. In the event this
really was a solo walk as resurfacing work and traffic congestion
at Spondon caused so much of a delay that I didn't arrive at
Stanley until 10:45. I had an inkling of the route the group
would be following and set off after them but at a choice of
paths, I picked the one that led to the Centenary Way.
This led to Church Lane which I followed and in about two miles
reached Morley Church where I spent a few minutes looking round.
It transpired later that the group had taken a slightly longer
route and arrived at the church about ten minutes after I had
left. It also transpired that we both followed a similar route
back to Stanley and the group's route length of six miles was
about half a mile further than mine. The group stopped at Morley
for a lunch break so I was back at Stanley well before them having
met only one other walker (going in the opposite direction) all
the way round.
final walk of the week was titled "From New Rail to Old
and back again" and was classed as a moderate walk of four
and a half miles with a gentle long climb starting at Duffield
Main Line Station. From there it followed the Ecclesbourne Valley
following the recently restored and newly opened Ecclesbourne
Our leader recounted details of the restoration work and showed
a photo (left) of the line before the rails had been installed
We then climbed up to Hazelwood and into Spring Hollow where
the stone structure (right) commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond
Jubilee and marking the place where Hazelwood spring water emerged
at the roadside caused a slight pause in the walk to read the
Resuming the walk, the group followed a track to a path behind
Wallstones Farm House which provided some splendid views across
the valley towards Duffield and beyond.
On a misty autumnal morning, this is just one of the views to
Duffield across the Chevin Golf Course. Our route on this walk
took us about four and a half miles in total and continued at
this height until reaching the Midshires Way where it descended
to cross the golf course and back into Duffield.
There were further guided walks over the weekend plus an "Introduction
to Nordic Walking" and a "Have a go at Geocaching"
event but our participation resumed on the following Tuesday
at Little Eaton.