Smalley - Bell Lane
w/e 9 October 2005
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
The sun doesn't always shine on Ilkeston Cam and there have been
several misty October days recently. Such was the case when we
followed the bridle path from Smalley Village towards Shipley
Country Park. Near the start of the walk the path crosses Smalley
Dam. This was constructed near the end of the eighteenth century
but became silted up after years of neglect until the Smalley
Community Project restored it removing much of the silt. It is
now in a conservation area.
A little further on is the grade 2 listed Smalley Lodge. A stone
built into the wall has the date 1861 inscribed on it and when
the lodge was built, it was a gatehouse to the Shipley Hall estate.
To the north of the bridle path at Smalley Lodge, a gap in the
hedge afforded a view across the farmland where it was obvious
that the farmer had followed the old saying of "Make hay
while the sun shines" before the damp misty conditions had
The path continues through Manchester Wood and at a low point
in the road the overnight rain had settled to present us with
a muddy and flooded area. Fortunately it was possible to pass
on the left hand side without getting into too much of a mess.
Beyond the wood the hedgerows were absolutely full of berries
at varying stages of ripeness for about two hundred yards. I
wondered about another old wives' tale that says when there are
a lot of berries we can expect a hard winter. Whether this is
true or whether it just means that we have already had a good
summer I don't suppose we'll know for certain until next spring
arrives. The moisture in the atmosphere congregating on spiders'
webs made some interesting patterns in among the berries.
The further we walked along the bridle path, the closer we seemed
to come to autumn as the greens of Smalley Dam and Manchester
Wood started to be replaced by the browns and yellows near Prospect
Farm. The bridle path is known as Bell Lane, the name being derived
from the bell pits dug for coal in mediaeval times for the Abbot
of Chester. Coal mining continued until the latter part of the
twentieth century but now apart from the leisure facilities in
Shipley Country Park, farming seems to be the main activity.
From here the path continues into the park but that will have
to wait for another day unless of course you care to delve into
the archives. (1 - 2 - 3 - 4)