Autumn Footprints 2011 - Week Two
w/e 09 October 2011
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, I participated in four
more of the guided walks on consecutive days from Tuesday to
Friday with my wife joining me on three of them. She had a previously
made appointment on Tuesday so I set off alone on a rainy morning
to Little Eaton.
The first walk of the week therefore was a moderate one with
some climbs of three miles through "Little Eaton Woods &
Fields" lasting three hours. The weather may have been gloomy
but this garden near the start of the walk would brighten any
day. Although some of the flowers and plants were past their
best the overall appearance of the garden was a joy to behold.
We climbed up from the village towards Duffield and to Blue Mountain
Cottages where more than one comment was passed about waking
up in the morning to the views across the valley. The sun did
try to break through while we were here and the cloud did disperse
enough to see the countryside beyond Duffield Church.
We descended down the lane from Blue Mountain to Eaton Bank and
on to the Bridge Inn at Duffield. Having been on similar walks
in the area previously I knew before we started that it would
be more of an amble than a ramble. Although very informative
and interesting with many stops along the way, it had taken an
hour and three quarters to complete the first mile and a half.
It was anticipated that the three miles would be completed by
1pm but when the leader announced that it would overrun by about
an hour and that he was going back "over the top",
with the weather closing in again, I decided to leave the group
and took a more direct route back to Little Eaton. Stopping for
photos along the way I completed the return in just thirty five
minutes and the route I followed would be repeated as part of
a much longer walk later in the week.
The hills and woods of Little Eaton and Duffield along with the
rain were but a distant memory the following day when we joined
a large group of walkers in sunny conditions in the level landscape
at Breaston and Draycott for the "MacMillan Breaston Circular"
walk. We followed a track in a north-westerly direction from
Breaston to pass Cottage Farm and join the long distance footpath,
the Midshires Way.
The Midshires Way is a 225 mile route from the Ridgeway in Buckinghamshire
to the Trans Pennine Trail near Manchester but we only followed
it to the south west for a short distance to pick up the route
of the old Derby Canal. We turned right here and headed for Draycott
easily seen from here across the level fields.
Our objective in Draycott was to visit the Marshall's home where
a coffee morning (which lasted all day) was being held in support
Breast Cancer Week. I understand the event raised over £450
and the refreshments were especially enjoyed by all the walkers.
I can vouch for the coffee and walnut cake - it was delicious.
The middle picture above shows the Mayor of Erewash with our
walk leader also enjoying cake.
On Thursday it was back to the hills around Duffield for the
six mile "Holbrook & Derwent Valley" walk. Starting
at Holbrook we followed various footpaths and tracks, crossed
fields, went through woods, an old disused quarry to descend
Duffield Bank to the Derwent Valley.
A short detour took us over the River Derwent to the church and
war memorial at Duffield before leading by the river to recross
the bridge and pick up another path on the other bank. We then
followed the same route towards Little Eaton that I had walked
a couple of days earlier on my own.
Before reaching Little Eaton though we turned off to climb up
for a brief lunch break overlooking Coxbench and Horsley Castle,
then on to the area known as Daypark (above) and back to Holbrook
via Stoney Lane, a really steep hill that had most people panting
for breath at the top. Fortunately the walk ended at the Spotted
Cow Inn where refreshments, both food and drink were available.
We ended our participation in this year's Festival with another
six mile walk, the "West Hallam Wander" in familiar
territory around West Hallam and Shipley just to the west of
Ilkeston. The route led from West Hallam to the Straw's Bridge
Nature Reserve and onto the Nutbrook Trail (above). Even with
autumn colours showing and the temperature rising my thoughts
went back to last December (click here) when we walked along here in
entirely different conditions!
The return to West Hallam provided many views of the distant
Ilkeston with the tower of St Mary's and the spire of the URC
prominent on the skyline and belied the fact that part of the
route was through the former coal screening plant which once
was a hive of industry. This walk concluded our participation
in this year's festival although there were more walks over the
weekend but we are already looking forward to the tenth next
September. Now I wonder if they've ever thought of doing a Spring
Footsteps Festival ....?