Sandiacre - Part 06 - Church Drive to Stoney Clouds
w/e 5 March 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Click here to read David Roberts' "Memories of Sandiacre" - opens in a popup window

Although this is a circular walk around Sandiacre, in this part we walk up to Stoney Clouds but will have to retrace our steps along Church Drive to Starch Lane before continuing in the next part.

Early Settlement

Starch LaneWe left our walk in Part 5 at the eastern end of Starch Lane and having progressed to the western end (left) we pick up the walk at the junction with Church Drive (above). We are now near the very heart of the original settlement of Sandiacre, the name being a derivation from the Saxon words 'sond' and 'oecer' meaning 'sandy' and 'field' respectively. In William the Conqueror's time when Sandiacre was listed in the Domesday Book, it had approximately 70 residents but it is thought that there would have been a settlemnet here much earlier than that. It is quite possible that the settlement was on The Porteway, an ancient routeway.
Church Drive

There is also a possibility that Dale Abbey and Lenton Priory were sited near to The Porteway which gave rise to the local name of 'Monks Way'. (Of course I did a whole feature on the Stones of The Monks Way on this site earlier and it can be seen here). Church Drive though is named because of its proximity to the Church of St Giles which stands on top of the bank on the right of this image. I attempted several shots of the church from various angles and different positions but a bright sun in a clear sky proved difficult, not that I am complaining.
St Giles' Church

This is one of the better shots. It shows the thirteenth century broach spire to good effect but internal views of Saxon and Norman details in the nave walls and chancel arch were not possible. It is perhaps a sad reflection but a neccesary requisite of these modern times that St Giles, like many other churches, needs to be locked when left unattended. The chancel dates from the mid-fourteenth century.
Cloud House

Beyond the church and the cemetery is Cloud House. The name is proudly displayed on the gate (inset) but is accompanied by a warning that 24 hour CCTV recording is in operation. Apparently the property was sold at auction a little while ago and some restoration work has begun so only long distant views from the road are possible - the above being captured with the aid of the zoom lens. Cloud House was once owned by Rev. Joseph Jackson, willed to Dame Borlace Warren of Stapleford Hall and once held the trout fishing rights in the nearby River Erewash, not that I think there are many trout in the Erewash these days.
Stoney Clouds Sign

At the end of Church Drive is the entrance to the Stoney Clouds Nature Reserve. 'Clouds' is another derivative of a Saxon word 'clud' meaning 'hill' although it has often been suggested that from a distance the rocky outcrops resemble clouds. And from a distance the sandstone escarpment may well have been seen by the Romans who are thought to have used the springs that were believed to have healing qualities at its foot.
Path To The Top

Today, as well as being a nature reserve where small mammals, amphibians and a variety of birds find conditions to suit them all, Stoney Clouds is also popular with the local human population. I am told it is an ideal location when snow is on the ground for sledging and even skiing and at other times it is an excellent place on the edge of the village for walking, exercising dogs or just being out in the open air. All the paths lead eventually to the top of the outcrop from where there are some good views over the Erewash Valley.

Stoney Clouds

Below the escarpment is an area of mixed woodland including hazel, ash, oak and silver birch trees and is seen here from the road to Ilkeston. In the next part we will return down Church Drive to pass St Giles' Church again - its spire can just be seen near the left edge of the trees in this image - but if you would like to see more of Stoney Clouds, there are some more images here from when I visited there in January 2003.
Note to self: Why do I always pick cold and frosty weather to go there?

 Back to Part 05
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