Autumn Footprints 2014 - The Opening Walk
w/e 14 September 2014
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Autumn Footprints OpeningCakeThe 12th Annual Autumn Footprints Walking Festival was opened jointly by the respective Mayors of Erewash and Amber Valley Borough Councils at the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre on Saturday 13th September. The event marked the start of the 16 day festival which features some 40 guided walks and the opening was followed by an enjoyable 3.25 mile route in the park. (The cake wasn't bad either!)

Starting Out

Led by Ben Wain, we followed the path from behind the Visitor Centre towards Flatmeadow Farm stopping frequently as Ben pointed out various features along the way. These included not only changes to the landscape due to opencasting but also many of the different tree and plant species and various autumn fruits that are now appearing in the hedgerows plus a smattering of local folklore.
Multi-User Path

The first part of the walk followed the same route as a sponsored walk that I had done previously in aid of the British Heart Foundation but I was astounded to discover that walk took place nearly 12 years ago in October 2002 (link). Both walks went past Flatmeadow Farm to Bell Lane but on this occasion, unlike the Shipley Shuffle we turned off Bell Lane at another track back to the Visitor Centre and then immediately into the field to head for the "New" Community Orchard. Many of the tracks and paths in the park as can be seen here are multi-user routes for use by cyclists and horse riders as well as walkers.
Old Community Orchard

After passing through the rows of young fruit trees we reached Derby Lodge where a right turn took us up the hill to the "Old" Community Orchard. This is now administered by the Green Health Enterprise based in the nearby Gardens House which provides opportunities in practical work for people recovering from mental health problems. The buildings in the middle distance are at Flatmeadow Farm that we had walked passed a little earlier.
To Mapperley

Continuing up the hill by Gardens House we headed along the lane towards Mapperley Village.

At the edge of Shipley Hill Wood we turned left to follow its boundary to the old Miller-Mundy family's graveyard and then up to the folly where Ben pointed out another tree full of berries - the yew.
Water Tower

Following some well trodden paths that we have walked many times before, the group then reached the Beech Walk path to the Water Tower which has been converted into a private residence.
Shipley Hall Site

The path by the tower took us to the Shipley Hall site which had to be demolished due to subsidence and whilst that is regrettable it was pointed out that had it still been standing it would probably have been in private hands or owned by the State and we wouldn't be able to wander freely through the park today.
Shipley Hill Wood

Later we also saw the famous Blue Cedar planted in 1904 by the Prince of Wales who went on to become King Edward VII and also some cherry trees with an unusual metallic-like sheen to a striped bark that originated in Mongolia. I am always amazed when passing through this part of the wood on top of Shipley Hill how small walkers appear when compared to the trees.
Nottingham Lodge

We left the wood near Nottingham Lodge, a twin of the Derby Lodge we passed earlier and which is looking in much better condition than the delapidated building we had seen here previously. Built in 1911 it stood empty for a time but is now inhabited again and looking much the better for it.
The Way Home

From Nottingham Lodge we dropped down from the hill to follow paths cut through in the grass and back along the Cinderhill Trail (link), a path we first followed in 2002 but which is much changed and much more mature since then, to return to the Visitor Centre. The Festival and the colours of the leaves are a sure sign that autumn has well and truly started.
Aerial view of the route followed on this walk.

This walk over much visited and familiar paths only scrapes the surface of all that is to be seen in Shipley Country Park but for a much more in depth look at the Park and its history there are several more pages already on this site (search for Shipley in the box below) not least of which are the Miller-Mundy Memories.
Forward to Autumn Footprints 2014 Week One

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