Autumn Footprints 2020 - The Virtual Festival
w/e 06 September 2020
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Usually at this time of year I'm looking forward to the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival in Amber Valley and Erewash but this year, quite understandably in the current pandemic, the Festival in its usual format has been cancelled. That does not mean to say that walking is being discouraged. Just the opposite in fact but it is eminently sensible to do this keeping in mind social distancing and taking all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Whilst it is not advised to meet up with large numbers of people there are still plenty of walks that can be enjoyed in the Amber Valley and Erewash area. In the past I have summarised the Festivals with just a few photos from each of the walks I have done so this year during September I will be looking back in more detail at a few of those walks from previous years. To start though this page shows photos of a walk we have just completed in honour of the Opening Walk in Shipley Country Park.

Usually the Festival begins with an opening ceremony in the Visitor Centre in Shipley Park followed by a photo call with the respective Mayors of the two Councils. This year however, the area outside (left) has been transformed with barriers, notices and a one-way system but that is where we started our walk heading off along the path (right) towards Flatmeadow Farm and the Young People's Forest site.

To Whiteley's Plantation

It is traditional to begin the Festival with a walk in the park of about three miles and we have previously followed various routes through the park. This is one that combines elements of some of those routes but it is not identical to any of those previous walks. The first part of the walk took us towards Whiteley's Plantation, seen here straight ahead, through the Young People's Forest Site which is being created on the former Mead Opencast Site. As we dropped down the slope to cross a small brook we turned left to follow another path through the site.
Open Countryside

This took us through some open countryside and behind Flatmeadow Farm, still within the Forest site however to Bell Lane. On the left on the horizon we could see Home Farm on Shipley Hill. Our walk would eventually take us to the far side of the hill.
Bell Lane

On reaching Bell Lane we turned left but soon turned off to the right again. We could have turned into John Wood and followed any of a number of woodland paths but chose instead to turn just beyond the couple in the road to follow a wider and more substantive track.

The track runs parallel for much of the way with one of those footpaths through the wood but then veers away and rises slightly.
Mapperley Reservoir

When the paths come closer together again the views open up across Mapperley Reservoir.
Shipley Lane

The track continues to the Mapperley Reservoir car park and picnic area where several family groups were enjoying the sunshine and then joins Shipley Lane. A left turn here took us up the hill.

Old Tree

We turned off Shipley Lane into the wood and climbed to the top of the hill where several previous walks have taken us through the Hall site but on this occasion we followed the path the passes the folly and circles the top of the hill passing some wonderful old trees on the way.
By Derby Lodge

Eventually we descended the hill again by Derby Lodge to rejoin Shipley Lane at its junction with Bell Lane before leaving the lane again at a gap in the fence right in the middle of this image.
Mowed Path

Several paths have been mowed into the grass but we continued straight ahead climbing uphill again to Cinderhill Coppice.
Cinderhill Coppice

We had seen only perhaps half a dozen other people on the walk so far so social distancing was not a problem, but as we left the Coppice there were quite a few more people around. From here though it is but a short walk back to the Visitor Centre to complete the three mile circuit. You can follow the route by clicking on this link to the
Route Map.

All the above images and more appear in this slideshow.
The Virtual Festival continues with a look back to some previous Festivals.
Forward to Autumn Footprints 2020 - Morley Heritage Walk (2009)

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