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.

Watchorn Park

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.
Down to South Wingfield

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.
St Martin's Church

Our 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 countryside.
Ben & Marion

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!
Markeaton Park

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.
Centenary Way

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.
Church Lane

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.
In Spring Hollow

Eccelsbourne RailwayOur 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 Valley Hazelwood SpringRailway. Our leader recounted details of the restoration work and showed a photo (left) of the line before the rails had been installed for comparison.

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 information board.
Wallstones Farm House

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.
Chevin Golf Course

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.
Forward to Autumn Footprints 2011 Week Two

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