Peak District Drive Time Journeys - 1st June

Added on by valerie dalling.

At My Feet

I read somewhere once that an artist’s home can seem a bit chaotic at times, with artwork covering every available inch of floor space and the housework taking a back seat, how very true this is.

When I know there’s cleaning to do and an ever growing pile of ironing, it makes it so difficult to tear myself away particularly when the glorious sunshine is streaming through windows which could do with a shammy over them as well. Of course this is said tongue in cheek, and anyway as it could be raining tomorrow I’ll catch up then. Now where’s my shades? Think I’ll take the Wirksworth route today… 

As I reached the bridge heading towards Middleton I caught sight of a sign for Middleton Top to the left which was to be my first stop.

The camera was on the go the moment I pulled up in the car park and stepped out of the car, 

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Time for a quick coffee at the Countryside Centre and a chat to the very helpful staff there, who loaded me up with leaflets and advice on the area. There’s so much to see and do from here with walks, cycle trails and steam heritage, I soon realised that a couple of hours was really not long enough, particularly as I spent most of that time in Redhill Quarry, just across from the car park.

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I’ve already planned to return though and explore further, by organising one of my Walks with the Camera for a group, to coincide with a visit to the Engine House, where we’ll be able to learn more about the winding engine and the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

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It was so lovely here, and all the wildflowers were really pretty and in abundance that I was tempted to stay longer, but this was Drive Time and I needed to move on.

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Heading towards Bakewell, I wasn’t sure at this point where I would be going next, and this is what I love about these days out. When I spend so much time having to be organised it’s so nice to throw caution to the wind for a change, and as I was nearing the roundabout, I saw the sign for Monyash and took a lovely scenic drive until I was stopped in my tracks by a cow near the little hamlet of Crowdecote overlooking the Dove Valley.

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I had to pull the car over pretty quick to get a snap as I loved the way it was perched on the top of the hill, seeming to have quite a commanding presence. I’m not sure on looking at my photograph again though that I held the camera at quite the right angle to emphasise the hill enough, but no matter, hopefully you get the idea!

After driving through the olde worlde charm of Longnor village, I took the turn for Hollinsclough as it was familiar to me from a previous visit to Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill. This time though I wanted to take the lower lanes through the village and explore these peaks from the road and more at eye level.

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I wasn’t alone on what I thought would be a particularly quiet stretch of road though, as there seemed to be some kind of Peak Cycling event going on. I imagine it was pretty tough going for the cyclists as they passed me by in very small groups, but ideal cycling country for them, although I did feel slightly guilty for being in the car, particularly when I passed one guy fixing a puncture.

One thing that struck me about this area was the may flower and buttercups, they were everywhere and an absolute picture. Even as I stepped out the car the meadow buttercups at the roadside were just wonderful.

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I also came across a field of Haflinger ponies which I spent some time watching and photographing, before meeting the farmer who told me they originated in Austria and Northern Italy…it’s been interesting to find out a little bit more about these lovely animals, since being introduced to them.

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I realise there are more photographs than words in this blog but I make no apologies as I had a good day with the camera but it was time to head home.

The final image of the day was taken as I was driving back to Bakewell, On a hill near the village of Chelmorton preparations had clearly been underway for the impending World Cup.

See you on my next Drive Time.

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Peak District Drive Time Journeys - 15th May

Added on by valerie dalling.

Luck on my side.

There will no doubt be a few guys in shorts from Derby wearing their lucky pants and kissing the hallowed turf this weekend, but what does this have to do with my blog you might ask?

Well it got me thinking that like the footballers I also seem to have started a ritual when I’m off on my Peak District travels. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to wear lucky pants, I do have a favourite cd which I play constantly on my journeys. I like to think I have a fairly eclectic taste in music, anything from soul and motown, to r & b, rock and jazz but for this project it’s got to be The Killers every time.

So with the music playing I head off.

As you know, I’m never sure which direction I will be going in, making this project what it’s about, journeys of discovery, mystery trips, but then it’s so much more fun that way.

I was working in Belper during the morning so my Drive Time really started from there, taking me firstly towards the stormy skies of Beeley. I had never actually headed up through the village before, having only got as far as The Devonshire Arms on walks in the past. Oh dear, I will try not to turn this project into a guide to Peak District hostelries, as of course I’m driving, but let’s be honest there are some great pubs in Derbyshire. http://www.devonshirebeeley.co.uk

Anyway my little car steadily chugged up the hill with a few stops on the way. The trees on this stretch of road were magnificent, and with the dramatic light provided quite a few photo opportunities for me from little copses and dense woodland where the light was playing hide and seek, to more isolated trees highlighted by the deep colours in the sky. When I got out the car to photograph this tree which had caught my eye, I was also treated to the sound of my first cuckoo of the day, an elusive bird and yet with a call that is simply quite wonderful to hear.

Turning the corner at the top of the hill I found myself in the middle of a very surreal landscape. A follower suggested “all that’s needed is a lion or two and you would think it was the Serengeti” I liked his thinking!

Beeley Moor is quite something and I spent a while here, taking a walk and enjoying this strangely beautiful environment. Time was passing, so I headed back along the same stretch of road, as sometimes it’s good to see the same landscape from the opposite direction.

This turned out to be a good plan, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met Pete the Argentine tango dancer, come harmonica and accordion player at Hell Bank Corner. He was quite a character, with a few stories I managed to tease out of him. If you’re lucky you might actually catch him hosting a quiz sometime in one of the local pubs. 

The stormy skies had disappeared by the time I reached Beeley village again, and the bright early evening sunlight was telling me to take a chance on that sunset I keep chasing, so after rather a pleasant drive through Chatsworth I decided to head over to Baslow.

It would seem I wasn’t the only one that had the same idea, but why was I on my own on Baslow Edge when Curbar was covered in tripods? I think Chesterfield Photographic Society had something to do with that.  Another good plan I thought, as I enjoyed my own peace and quiet watching the sun go down, save for the sound of more cuckoos, two this time calling to each other, it was lovely, A perfect end to a perfect day.

O blithe New-comer! I have heard,

I hear thee and rejoice.

O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,

Or but a wandering Voice?…

Extract from

To the Cuckoo by William Wordsworth

Peak District Drive Time Journeys - 3rd May

Added on by valerie dalling.

Getting to know the wildflowers of the Peak District

Whenever the camera and I set off on one of our Peak District Drive Time journeys together, I never usually know quite where we will end up, as in a nutshell, this project is all about personal discovery.

I am beginning to find it will be easier for me to try and write about my days out in a blog, which I’m hoping will eventually become incorporated in a website about my travels…I suppose this is all part of the learning process for me, and as the project develops then so will I, so please bear with me.

Yesterday was slightly different in as much as I knew before I left home that I was going to spend the day in search of wildflowers, well it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, and it seemed the perfect way to spend a quiet day with nature.

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I take different routes up to the Peak District and yesterday I went via Middleton by Wirksworth where I stopped to take this photograph. I have always found it to be a welcoming sight, an invitation if you like, despite the fact that I’m actually leaving the village rather than just arriving. 

Continuing on my journey it wasn’t long before I reached the turning for Stanton in the Peak. I have visited this hilltop village only once before and that was for a beer at The Flying Childers, a great traditional village pub with plenty of history, particularly in the name http://www.flyingchilders.com so it was nice to take a leisurely drive along the lanes this time, taking in some beautiful distant views on my route. I made a couple of stops for photos before having to make a decision whether to turn left or right. Left it was and as I slowly started to descend I spotted a lovely bank of trees…

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I wanted to get closer so taking the road towards Rowsley I soon found myself parked by the side of it. I have to be honest and say I’m not sure whether I should have walked into the field or not, but the gate was open so I took my chances as I really couldn’t resist my findings…bluebells! I hadn’t seen them from the top lane but there they were, an absolute delight, so that was the next couple of hours taken care of!

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Eventually after some 200 photographs later, I left this pretty new found location and headed for Peter’s Stone, Wardlow Mires, an area I was already familiar with and where I was first introduced to some particularly beautiful wildflowers of the Peak District.  I have yet to photograph an orchid I feel completely happy with but it would be wrong of me not to include one from my day along with a personal favourite of mine, the cuckooflower. 

Again I had parked within sight of my destination, where a short walk took me to a little dip in the landscape and these tiny but beautiful flowers. The occasional walker passed the time of day with me as I enjoyed a picnic and sat writing for a while, before finally putting my camera into action.

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I decided to finish off my day with a drive to Froggatt Edge before starting to make my way home, as the light was beginning to fade.

So until the next time…

All my images were handheld and taken with my Panasonic Lumix G3.