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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.

Flatmeadow Farm

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Flatmeadow Farm" below.
Bell Lane

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

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Bell Lane" below.
Hips, Sloes & Haws

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Hips, Sloes & Haws" below.
In The Orchard

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "In The Orchard" below.
Home Farm

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Home Farm" below.
Shipley Hall Site

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Shipley Hall Site" below.
The Ha-ha Wall

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "The Ha-ha Wall" below.
Signs Of Autumn

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Signs Of Autumn" below.
Muscovy Duck

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Muscovy Duck" below.
Almost Over

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.

To record this photo as your favourite from this week's selection vote for "Almost Over" below.

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