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.

Flower Garden

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.
Duffield & Beyond

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.
Blue Mountain Descent

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.
Cottage Farm

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.

MacMillan Cofee Morning

Our objective in Draycott was to visit the Marshall's home where a coffee morning (which lasted all day) was being held in support of MacMillan 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.
Over Duffield Bank

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.
River Derwent

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.
Daypark Horses

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.
On The Nutbrook Trail

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!
Distant Ilkeston

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 ....?
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