Autumn Footprints 2019 - Festival Launch Walk
w/e 15 September 2019
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

The Green Room in the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre was packed on Saturday morning 14th September for the launch of the 2019 Autumn Footprints, the seventeenth annual Walking Festival in Amber Valley and Erewash.

Civic Party

After the opening speeches by the respective Mayors of Erewash and Amber Valley and the presentation of commemorative badges to the Walk Leaders, the Civic Party proceeded outside for the traditional photocall with their consorts.

They were joined by some of the Walk Leaders and other walkers for more photos before a record number of fifty one walkers for a launch walk set off on the first of forty two walks in the Festival.
Osborne's Pond

The walk to launch the sixteen day event was an easy three mile route through the park with frequent stops to learn about the wildlife and history of the park. The first stop was at Osborne's Pond, one of three reservoirs originally built to serve the Nutbrook Canal but which is now a beautiful lake inhabited by a large variety of waterfowl.
Site Management

From there, we climbed the hill towards Cinderhill Coppice. Walk leader Ben Wain described how left to nature the landscape would change through scrubland to eventually become a wood but that tree planting in the 1970s on the former slag heap from the coal mining legacy had failed twice before eventually taking to create Cinderhill Coppice which was now reaching maturity. We then turned left to cross a wildflower meadow that is managed by being mowed annually to retain the habitat for wildlife, some of which as if to order appeared in the skies above.
Hall Site

We continued via Derby Lodge and the Suffragette Wall up Shipley Hill to the site of the former Shipley Hall.

It was here that Ben recalled the history of the estate which has links to William the Conqueror in the eleventh century through to the Miller Mundy family's ownership in the twentieth.
See this section on the website for more Miller Mundy Memories.

Ancient Woodland

Leaving the Hall site, we passed through the ancient woodland to drop down the hill and skirt the Memorial Wood where every tree planted is in memory of someone. Some of these trees too are reaching maturity but still nowhere near the size of those in the ancient woodland.
Autumn Fruit

Autumn fruit was well in evidence as we followed the path to re-enter the ancient woodland and walk through to Shipley Lane.
Mead Site

At Shipley Lane we paused again to view the former opencast site in the distance that has been acquired by the Woodland Trust and renamed Mead and where thousands of trees are to be planted to form the Young People's Forest.
Flatmeadow Farm

We continued along Shipley Lane to Home Farm where we could see most of our route back to the Visitor Centre. This was along Bell Lane which can be seen where the hedgerow runs from the centre of the picture to the left, then along the footpath by the field full of hay bales past Flatmeadow Farm and the Mead site beyond. At other stops on the way, Ben described the benefits of old hedgerows (many of which have been grubbed out with modern farming methods) and also of old farm buildings and barns such as those at Flatmeadow, a haven for Barn and Little Owls. All in all, the whole walk in pleasant autumnal weather was an educational and very enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours in one of the gems of the Derbyshire countryside.
Route Map

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