Autumn Footprints 2013 - Week One
w/e 22 September 2013
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

If it's Christmas, it's December, the Annual Charter Fair, October and September is fast becoming known locally for the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival in Amber Valley and Erewash. Sixteen days of organised walks for people of all capabilities from one mile strolls to twelve mile strenuous hikes and even a map reading course there truly is something for everyone. This year with the Festival in its eleventh incarnation, we tended to opt for the middle ground enjoying routes led mainly by Walking For Health or Ramblers groups and this selection of images all come from the first week of the Festival which began on September 14th.

Bennerley Viaduct

I was undecided right up until the last minute whether to attend the opening event and walk in Shipley Country Park or join a three mile walk with the Ilkeston Local History Society titled "Top Cut, Bennerley, Bottom Cut Loop". Deciding on the Saturday morning I opted for the latter and joined the group at Ilkeston Junction.

On the Nottingham CanalOn the Erewash CanalWe followed the Erewash Canal (left) on the outward stretch to the Bennerley Viaduct where we were able to view its remarkable construction at close quarters. Although a wrought iron construction, it was built in the same manner as wooden bridges. Walking through the former Bennerley Foundry site later used as a Coal Screening Plant, we picked up the Nottingham Canal (right) for the return leg.
Nottingham Canal
The cloudy sky at the beginning of the walk cleared as the morning progressed and the day had brightened considerably by the time we reached what was probably the most picturesque part on the final stretch of the Nottingham Canal near Coronation Road at Cossall and a posse of photographers must have come away with an image similar to this one.
Locko Park Estate

Near Bluebell'sSweet ChestnutOur next walk was on Monday when we set off from Bluebell's Ice Cream Parlour at Spondon with the Erewash Ramblers on a variation of Country Walk No. 5 "The Squire's Walk" of some 6.5 to 7 miles around Dale and Ockbrook. We began by crossing a couple of fields (left) before entering the Locko Park estate (above) where a sweet chestnut tree was showing a fine harvest (right).
Arable Land

Dale HillsBetween the MaizeThere was a mid-morning "coffee" break near Columbine Farm (left) at the foot of Dale Hills before we continued to the edge of Dale Village. Climbing up through the trees in Ockbrook Wood we then passed through the arable farmland between Dale and Ockbrook (above). A little section of road walking at Spondon led to more open countryside and a track through a head-high maize crop back to Bluebell's.
Waterloo Cutting

Woodside Colliery Headstocks MemorialNear Shipley Garden CentreFor our Tuesday walk we opted for the easy couple of miles from the Shipley Garden Centre with the Heanor Walking For Health group. A figure of eight route passed through the little used "Waterloo Cutting" (above) and Shipley Wood, crossed Shipley Common returning via the Woodside Colliery Headstocks Memorial (left) and then along Pit Lane to return to the Garden Centre (right).
The Bell At Smalley

South of Horsley WoodhouseBell LaneWe joined another Walking For Health group from Horsley Woodhouse on Wednesday morning for the "Horsley Woodhouse and Smalley" walk. This route left the village along Wood Lane and then passed through the open countryside to the south of the village (left) to Smalley. Here it continued to keep to the south of Smalley and went a little way down Bell Lane (right) before turning northwards to pass through more fields to emerge at the side of The Bell at Smalley public house (above).
Horsley Woodhouse

Church HallStatueCrossing the road we turned into Dobholes Lane noticing the statue in the garden on the corner (left). Now I know it had warmed up during the morning but not enough to be standing about in nothing but a loin cloth! The direct route back to Horsley Woodhouse was by road but we turned off to cross the recreation ground and out into the open countryside (above) to return to the Church Hall (right).

We were surprised on this walk as Walking For Health routes are normally up to three miles in length with no hills or stiles. This one at a touch over four miles had both stiles and hills so kudos to the group.
On Thursday we had planned to join the Erewash Ramblers again for a walk around "Morley 'Portway' and Brackley Gate" but call us fine weather walkers if you like but we didn't fancy trudging across fields in the pouring rain. Instead we took the dog for a walk in Ilkeston and got drenched anyway!

Ecclesbourne Valley

Friday and a five miler called the "Duffield Circular Walk" proved to be the most populous walk of the week. With an estimate of some sixty to seventy participants, just a few of the walkers are seen here in the Ecclesbourne Valley making their way towards Quarndon Hill.
Cow At Close Quarters

After climbing the hill passing through a sheep farm on the way we made our way back down again to Duffield along a number of footpaths some of which are part of a fifty mile route circumnavigating the city of Derby called the Derby Nomad Way. The descent through the fields involved climbing a number of stiles and the lowing of a single cow standing in the hedgerow gave warning of its presence well before it could be seen.
Ilkeston Junction

We ended the week as we had begun at Ilkeston Junction with a Saturday afternoon walk and talk under the guidance of Paul Miller of the Ilkeston Local History Society. A gentle walk from Victoria Park via the Manners Link, Heanor Road, Rutland Street and Millership Way with frequent stops for Paul to show old photographs of "The Lost Railways of Ilkeston" returned us to the spot where we had started the "Top Cut, Bennerley, Bottom Cut Loop" a week earlier. Paul with Grant Shaw, is the co-author of "Railway Tales" a publication by the Society and available from their website. Paul to the amusement of the walkers didn't miss an opportunity to plug the book and all of the photographs he showed during the walk are also in the book. For some of us though they were not so much "history" but just memories of our youth ... but that's another story.

Well unlike last year both my wife and myself got through the first week of the Festival unscathed and are now looking forward to the second week's selection. To be continued ....
Forward to Autumn Footprints 2013 Week Two

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