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