Autumn Footprints 2021 - The Launch Walk
w/e 19 September 2021
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
It's back! Cancelled last year because of the pandemic,
the Walking Festival in Erewash and Amber Valley has returned
this year for a couple of weeks in the middle of September. Even
though it has been scaled back with fewer guided walks there
are still 29 planned for the 16 days between the 11th and 26th.
The customary event to open the Festival where speeches are made
by the Mayors of the respective Boroughs and badges are presented
to Walk Leaders was another casualty of the scaling down but
the opening walk in Shipley Country Park did take place and these
images were all taken on that walk.
The walk led by Ben Wain followed familiar paths through the
park that we have walked many times before but Ben stopped frequently
to share his knowledge of the history and natural environment.
We headed from the Visitor Centre directly to Flatmeadow Farm
where he pointed out the site of the Young People's Forest -
the field to the right beyond the hedgeline - where thousands
of trees have already been planted.
Another pause on Bell Lane enabled him to identify bryony plants
growing in the hedgerow. Bryony is a poisonous plant but in the
past it was "passed off" as mandrake which was used
as a painkiller. For more information see https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/white-bryony
We turned off Bell Lane to walk alongside another hedgerow to
reach Shipley Lane. Here at another pause Ben pointed out rose
hips, sloes and hawthorn berries that were growing side by side
in the hedge. He also explained at this point why the adjacent
meadow is mowed once or twice a year whilst other ares in the
park are mowed more frequently. The former mowing pattern produces
wildflower meadows whilst more frequent mowing results in a lawn-like
surface of mainly short grass.
On reaching Shipley Lane we turned towards Derby Lodge, crossed
the end of Bell Lane and entered the orchard opposite the Lodge
to start the climb up Shipley Hill.
We emerged from the orchard below Home Farm. This is now in private
hands and has been converted for residential use but at one time
it served the Shipley Estate and the decorative tiles and tower
were also a status symbol pointing to the wealth of the owners
of the estate.
We continued past Home Farm and The Gardens - another impressive
property occupied in the past by the estate's gardener - and
then crossed Shipley Lane to reach the top of the hill and the
Shipley Hall site. On the way we passed the former Beech Walk
where sadly the beech trees had to be felled for safety reasons
and the impressive water tower which, like Home Farm, has been
converted into a private residential property. We also passed
a newly planted avenue of cherry tree saplings that have been
planted in the lawned area.
A lot of trees and shrubs from abroad had been planted around
the Hall which again was a sign of the Miller-Munday's wealth.
These included a large Blue Cedar which had been planted in 1904
by the then Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.
From the Hall site we walked through the wood which contains
some of the oldest trees on the hill to reach the ha-ha wall
which at one time surrounded most of the top of the hill.
Here we had time to reflect on some of the autumn scenes we had
witnessed - fungi on a log near The Gardens; a pollarded tree
and horse chestnuts on Shipley Hill and still to come would be
cones on a Cedar tree at Osborne's Pond.
We moved on from the ha-ha to Nottingham Lodge and then dropped
down the hill across the meadows to Osborne's Pond where we spotted
the pond's resident Muscovy duck. "Muscovy" doesn't
not necessarily mean the duck came from Moscow, it's just a term
that means it originated a long way away. The breed's origins
were originally central and southern America.
Leaving the pond the informative and enjoyable walk, thanks to
Ben, was almost over and all that was left was to return up the
hill to the Visitor Centre. So the Launch Walk ended but there
was still another couple of weeks of the Festival left to enjoy
more walks in this corner of Derbyshire.