Saturday, May 28, 2016

Owler Bar, Robin Hood, and Chatsworth Water Spectacular.

I started the walk at Owler Bar and walked down Horseleygate Road, quite a pretty area. I found the footpath leading off to the right; I hoped this would lead directly to the large area of Access Land where I could wander freely across the moors. It didn't though, I ended up coming out further down the Baslow road, which I needed to follow for a few minutes until I found a suitable footpath.

I hadn't walked along any of these paths before as a continued downhill towards Car Road [A forestry track, or maybe a firebreak] so I wasn't miffed by the extra mileage. The countryside here is pretty too, riverside meadows, heathland, woodland and eventually open moorland.

I do like to include gates in my photographs.

I reached the road and entered my next area of open Access Land, this time the northern part of Leash Fen where archaeologists do give some credence to a legend of a lost city, sinking beneath the bog. There's a local rhyme 

When Chesterfield was gorse and broom,
Leash Fen was a market town;
Now Chesterfield's a market town,
Leash Fen is but gorse and broom.

All I discovered was a footpath across the bog.

A short stretch of road to walk along and then I took the footpath which leads up to Birchen Edge, Nelson's Monument and the Three Ships. It's a location popular with climbers and so there's a well-maintained path across the boggy terrain...more boggy terrain for me to cross.

The 'Three Ships' are three large boulders with the name of one of Admiral Nelson's flagships carved into the rock, the three ships being 'Victory', 'Defiance' and 'Royal Soverin'...[that's the spelling used.]

The descent to Robin Hood needs a little care, even in dry weather like today. Robin Hood is named after the pub of that name. There's not much else here; as far as I'm aware there's a Bed and Breakfast, a couple of farms, a holiday cottage, and a car park.

The road where Robin Hood is situated is quite busy but at least there was footpath or a wide verge for me to walk along until I reached a footpath onto the Chatsworth Estate, down some steep, overgrown steps leading to a recently-rebuilt footbridge over a fast flowing beck. Although I was now walking in the Chatsworth Estate, it would be another half a mile or so until I would reach Chatsworth area of easy walking. When I reached the parkland I sat on the first bench and spent a bit of time scraping off the worst of the dried on mud from my trousers, using a sturdy plastic store loyalty card that I had in my wallet...I regularly do this...I think it's the first time I've mentioned it on the blog though.

I wanted to look at least reasonably presentable when I reached Chatsworth House. I had to walk briskly in order to arrive at the Cascade House inside the gardens in time. I was a few minutes late for the start of the talk, but I still got some decent photographs of the fountains playing at their maximum pressure.

The guided walk continued, visiting three more water features, until we arrived at the highlight of the day...turning on the Emperor Fountain to its maximum height. The guide reckoned it reached well over a hundred foot, quite impressive, yet this is less than half its original height  when it was constructed in the 1840s. 

I've used sepia effect to add a bit more contrast to the picture. By this time it was quite cloudy and so difficult to fully appreciate how impressive the fountain is. On a sunny day it produces spectacular rainbows and the water spray sparkles like jewels.

I spent about forty more minutes in the gardens before going to catch the bus back to Sheffield.

I seem to have messed up the fonts in this post, I think it was when I copied and pasted the rhyme about Leash Fen and Chesterfield. I might try and sort it out later, but at the moment I'm a bit tired and am just looking forward to a long, hot soak in the bath.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bakewell and Ashford-in-the-Water

[I'm starting today's post with a very simple photograph of a hot air balloon I saw as soon as I left my house this morning - I really like the contrast between the colours]

I had planned to go walking in the Hope Valley today but the 272 bus didn't show up - so I caught the 218 to Bakewell. At this hour it went via Chatsworth House, and even so early on a Sunday morning it was delayed by a few minutes because of the large number of people, and cars, already there for the International Horse Trials.

After going to the toilet I went to the shop for a sandwich; I was given a free promotional copy of 'The Sunday Sun' newspaper. I walked along the Waterside; there are usually people feeding the ducks and geese even though there are prominent signs telling them not to...this morning was no exception.

Just after taking the photograph above I encountered a small group of people; to be honest they were partially blocking my way - as I edged by them I noticed that they were gathered round an old man who was encouraging them to stroke his pet squirrel. I didn't stop and crossed over the bridge, walking along the meadows until I reached the lane leading to the next footpath.

In one of the large gardens that backs onto the river there was helicopter parked/moored...or whatever the correct word is.

I steadily climbed out of Bakewell, at first through woodland and then my favourite landscape...limestone grassland. There were some lovely views.

The path led down to the Monsal Trail which I took for maybe half a mile before finding the footpath which took me by Churchdale Hall to reach Ashford-in-the-Water. To start off with I was walking along a tarmacked drive, but then I descended down some fields and through a small wood to the road. There was a disused stile which was a perfect location for me to stop and eat my sandwich...and some chocolate biscuits.

Ashford is a pretty village; I've included some photographs of subjects I haven't taken before.

For the next section of the walk I had planned to climb up to Sheldon and Magpie Mine, however during the steep climb up out of Ashford I pulled a muscle in my groin and so had to return back to Bakewell by the shortest, and easiest, route.

I never even reached Sheldon, just a point on the road next to the mobile phone mast about a mile east of the village. I headed towards Bakewell on the road for a few hundred yards and then took the footpath which comes out right across the road from the lychgate leading into the churchyard.

Yet again, more gorgeous views for me to enjoy.

There was some lovely blossom on the trees in the churchyard. I went inside the church - there was nothing that interested me though.

I was looking forward to enjoying a pot of tea and maybe a scone when I got down into the town. I knew it would probably be busy...and I was right in my assumption. As an the moment Bakewell only has one fish and chip shop and the queue  stretched right across the Square and into one of the side streets [There was a fire at the other fish and chip shop and restaurant a few months ago and it remains closed]

So...I left Bakewell on the 2:30 bus and arrived in Sheffield nearly an hour later. On the train travelling back to Doncaster I remembered my free newspaper and so took it out of my rucksack. When I opened it up it was as though it was written in a foreign language...or some type of top secret military code. I didn't understand about a quarter of the headlines. I think I'm out of my depth when it comes to celebrity and pop culture...I'll just stick to the opera and ballet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hemswell Antiques Centre

A trip out in the car today with Siobhan, one of my support workers. It was the first time I've been out with her this year so there was plenty to talk about, a lot of catching up to be done.

I have to book our days out a week in advance and when I booked Siobhan last week the weather forecast for today was fine and sunny. Well, that's not how it turned out. It was miserable all day; cold, dark, murky, and wet. Obviously I had to change my planned destination. Hemswell Antiques Centre, a few miles east of Gainsborough in Lincolnshire is an ideal wet weather location to visit. There are six or seven separate large antiques and collectors' centres housed in various hangars and ancillary buildings at the former RAF base, plus cafes and a small garden centre and building supplies depot.

We had to travel via Retford because the road was closed at Beckingham. This meant that we drove through Clarborough. I thought I remembered the name from somewhere, and as we passed through the village Siobhan noticed a sign pointing to the 'Traquair Tapestries' displayed in the local church - we planned to stop for a look on the way home.

We were both quite tired after looking around all but one of the antiques centres; climbing up and down several hundred steps in the process. Although we had eaten our sandwiches in the car as soon as we arrived just after eleven o'clock we called at the cafe at the Retford and Gainsborough Garden Centre at Beckingham for tea and scones.

We didn't find the church and the tapestries on our return journey through Clarborough; as I've just found out this is because the Traquair Tapestries are actually in a neighbouring village, Clayworth.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wentbridge And East Hardwick Walk With Three Friends From Leeds

In choosing the location of today's walk I had to take three things into account: the pick-up point needed to be easily accessible from east Leeds and the A1 trunk road, the terrain needs to be quite flat...and I'd need to be able to get there on the bus on a Sunday morning. So...I opted for Woodlands, to the north west of Doncaster town centre.

I arranged to be at Woodlands for 11:15; as it turned out my friends arrived for 10;30 - completely misjudging the amount of travelling time they needed. It's very rare that people have to wait for me; I wasn't late though and actually arrived twenty minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

It was an tight squeeze in the car with four of us; fortunately its only a short drive to the starting point for the walk...even though we took a wrong turn and didn't end up going by the shortest route.

We arrived at Ley's Lane car park just beyond Little Smeaton just in time to grab the final parking space. For the first few minutes we saw a lot of people taking advantage of the lovely hot weather, mainly family groups and dog walkers; as we approached Wentbridge the numbers thinned out though.

The walk to Wentbridge is charming, limestone grassland at first and then alongside the River Went at the bottom of the valley.

This area has historical connections with Robin Hood.

We walked through the village and diverted down the lane to eat our sandwiches at the church; Chris, Maureen, and Jonathan sharing the only bench in the churchyard...I found a pleasant spot on some grass well away from the gravestones.

The walk along Went Edge was more than I had expected, a variety of different landscapes and far reaching views to the west, only spoiled by the heat haze.

As we were walking along the road towards East Hardwick I noticed that Maureen and Jonathan were getting further and further behind and frequently stopping for drinks. I had a word with Chris and we agreed to shorten our originally planned walk and make our way back across the fields to Wentbridge.

As we were approaching the footpath we needed at East Hardwick one of the locals came over to us and gave us what he thought was some useful advice, to look out for the large piles of manure...we could use them as landmarks so we wouldn't get lost; that's certainly a new navigation tip for me

In sight of Wentbridge we gathered together for a conference; a decision needed to be made. It was obvious to me that Maureen and Jonathan were struggling, and I do know these things because I'm a walk leader and so was assertive in making my point that I thought it would be better if they finished the walk at the Blue Bell Inn in Wentbridge and wait there as Chris and myself walked the additional distance of a mile and a half back to the car. 

Chris drove me back to Woodlands and then as far as I'm aware went back up the A1 to pick up Maureen and Jonathan.

An excellent day out along the North/West Yorkshire boundary in the districts of Selby and Wakefield. Congratulations to Maureen and Jonathan who aren't regular walkers; I calculate they did seven or maybe eight miles today.

UPDATE: I've just been contacted by Jonathan on Facebook and he informs me that the pub was closed for they had to sit outside. Well, at least the weather was nice.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Baslow, Chatsworth House Garden Tour, Calton Lees, Calton Houses, and Bakewell

A walk with a specific activity included today.

I got off the bus at Baslow Nether End and walked through Chatsworth Park to Chatsworth House, getting there in plenty of time for the start of the first of the daily garden tours at 11:30 even though the bus was twenty minutes late due to some poorly organised roadworks on Abbeydale Road at Sheffield.

I actually reached Chatsworth House just as they were opening the gates to the garden at eleven o'clock and so I had plenty of time to head for the Emperor Fountain to take some photographs. I tried to capture a good image of the rainbow created by the spray; you can just about make it out if you enlarge the bottom picture.

I then walked a few yards and pointed my camera right into the sun; I'm quite pleased with the result.

I took my time in getting back to the place where people were gathering for the guided walk, as I did so my mobile phone rang with some good news for me about an employability programme for people with autism that I might end up organising, or even running.

The tour of the garden lasted just over an hour and it was really enjoyable; we were regaled with tales about stags and serpents, the Cavendish banana [from which over ninety percent of bananas bought in the UK are descended], the first day at work of Joseph Paxton the famous landscape gardener...and a scandalous ménage à trois.

I stayed about another hour in the garden; eating a couple of flapjacks that I'd brought with me, before walking across the parkland to Chatsworth Garden Centre at Calton Lees where I popped in to The Vines restaurant for a scone and a pot of tea.

The weather got a bit more cloudy and it probably spit with rain whilst I was inside; so it was good timing, even if it was rather early for a scone.

I then walked along the track to Calton Houses and across Calton Pastures before dropping down into Bakewell via the footpath that cuts across the golf course. 

I took a photograph of this interesting sign; the instructions only apply to people walking in the other direction, up the hill away from Bakewell.