Author Archive

AGM Saturday 24th February – new venue

January 7, 2018

The Elms Social Club Bushloe End, Wigston LE18 2BA

In a change to the printed walks programme the 2018 AGM will not again be at Woodhouse Eaves. The Baptist church has been a good venue for many years but the time has come to move on with an opportunity to take a different walk following the meeting.

Formal notice of the AGM with details of the venue will arrive to members by post but we offer this advance notice that the 2018 AGM will be at The Elms Social Club Bushloe End, Wigston LE18 2BA.

 

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Footpath creation

December 18, 2017
Crich Footpath 42 at Whatstandwell station

Crich Footpath 42 at Whatstandwell station

From the minutes of the meeting of Crich Parish Council May 1895 ‘the acceptance of Revd Acraman’s offer of four feet of land across his field to provide a footpath to Whatstandwell Station and the best thanks of this Council.., to be given to Mr. Acraman for his generous gift to the Parish’.

As an ex parish council clerk I’m not surprised that the project was rather protracted, but they didn’t give up and today we can still use Crich footpath 42 from Crich Carr to Whatstandwell station. Read the full story at http://www.crichparish.co.uk/webpages/footbridge.html

Right to Roam – underground?

November 19, 2017

This one is new to me but looks like it has been doing a rounds for a while. It was in The Times today but as that’s not available online free here’s a bit from The Guardian 2016.

From The Sunday Times

From The Sunday Times

“Cavers fight to take the right to roam to new depths” Cavers are calling for the government to extend the rights that allow access to mountains, moors, heaths and downs to the subterranean systems that lie beneath some of Britain’s best-known landscapes. (read more)

Makeney Hall Hotel – weekend

October 30, 2017

This can only be a snapshot of the weekend because I didn’t fully participate only joining the group to lead a walk on Saturday.

I did pop over on Friday evening to announce my walk which was planned to be the  middle distance of the three on offer. I invite the other leaders or a participant to submit a report from their walk.

Perhaps influenced by the filling meal the group had just taken the majority opted for the shortest walk so I’m grateful to those who agreed to join me on an adventurous bus walk.

On Saturday morning we set off to Milford and the bus stop, being a little early gave an opportunity to for a brief history tour of Milford. Today we could only see the building that houses the wonderful 1937 hydro electric generator (read more) but here’s what we missed.

MIlford Hydo-electric plant

We caught the bus to Belper the original plan being to stock up with lunch but all were fully provisioned so we used the bus to take us high above Belper then walked down Long Row to the East Mill having looked down on it over the rooftops. We also popped into the pleasant Riverside Gardens. Hundreds of birds were on the river and discussion took place as to their name. (Chris provided the answer – Black Headed Gull see RSPB website)

While waiting at the next bus stop who should we spy approaching but the long walk group. Well, when I say group it was leader and one follower. They had already done 4 miles and we were yet to start.

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

Our walk started at Cowers Lane half way along the Ecclesbourne Way a walk from Duffield to Wirksworth of 11 miles. It follows the river of that name and the Ecclesboure Valley Railway.  It was pretty wet underfoot but the rain held off as we headed up the valley. Late coffee or early lunch was taken at Idridgehay station where there is a seat. We were also pleased to see a passing train.

 

Idridgehay station

Idridgehay station

Because of heavy going and low cloud it was voted that we miss Alport Height. Little point in climbing to a viewpoint when we knew the views were hidden. Closer views were very much appreciated so no great loss. At Wirksworth station a loop around town paths was on offer but a tea shop and earlier return bus gained most votes. I believe that a beer festival at The Holly Bush in Makeney may also have been an influence.

 

Makeney Hall weekend – preview

October 3, 2017

The LFA away weekend at Makeney Hall Hotel is fast approaching so we offer a preview of one the walks that will be on offer.

The Ecclesboure Way has recently been created following, as the name suggests, the river Ecclesboure between Duffield and Wirksworth. At eleven miles it’s an ideal day walk with links by heritage railway or hourly bus providing a return for this linear walk. The only downside is the lack of refreshment opportunities along the way.

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

Duffield bridge over the River Ecclesbourne

The route starts at Duffields railway stations. One on the Derby – Matlock line. The other serving the heritage line to Wirksworth this shares the valley so with luck we will see a tourist train sometime during the journey.

We initially share paths used by the Centenary Way keeping close and often crossing the river which on our visit was flowing fast after heavy rain over night. The ground was soft but rich pasture ensured our boots stayed clean.

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

Windleyhill Farm on the Ecclesbourne Way

After a couple of miles the route climbs to Windleyhill Farm where a confusing layout of paths meet among the disused farm buildings. From here the views across and down the valley provide a change of scene and show how delightful this neglected area can be.

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

Crossing the Ecclesbourne approaching Turnditch

After the tiny village of Windley we drop back to the river meeting the railway near Shottle Station. The hamlet of that name is two miles distant while Turnditch and it’s Inn is just 300 metres to the left along the Asbourne road.

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

A heritage railcar approaches Idridgehay station

We considered sitting by the river for our lunch. Wet grass and older legs encouraged us to press on to Idridgehay where a bench on the station platform offered a comfortable stop. Our pause was enhanced by the arrival of the 13.30 heritage railcar to Duffield which had to pause while the third man operated the crossing gates.

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

A Peak and Northern Footpath Society sign shows the low route avoiding Alport Height

Over half way, but, it’s now a climb of nearly seven hundred feet to Alport Height but wow was it worth it. It is said that the Shropshire Wrekin can be seen from here so we scanned around as we headed for the eight masts which mark the hill top. Ratcliffe on Soar power station was clear in the sunshine and, not so clear, five cooling towers, all that remains of the former Willington site . It is said that a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons saved the towers from demolition in 1999. New plans were passed for demolition of these landmarks early this year…….but they are still there late September 2017.

Alport Height

Alport Height

We anticipated downhill from here and so it was to the outskirts of Wirksworth at Gorsey Bank. A sigh from weary walkers as the route turned right, uphill so close to the end. This deviation rewards the traveller with a fine view over our destination so route planners were forgiven. The walk ends at Wirksworth station but with a bus in five minutes half of the party gave that a miss.

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

The view over Wirksworth near the end of the walk

A surprisingly good walk and excellent weather when the days either side were both wet. It was good to see that a number of new gates had been installed along the route, some by volunteers from the local RA group. Well done to all for opening up a very pleasant valley that has been long neglected by walkers.

Walk end - Wirksworth station.

Walk end – Wirksworth station.

Thanks to  Walking John’s Blog for some of the pictures used here..

 

 

Thursday 13th July – change of venue

June 29, 2017

Just shows how popular walking is and the impact walking groups have on the viability of pubs.

Gate Hangs Well Syston

Gate Hangs Well Syston

We will now be meeting at The Gate Hangs Well at Syston on Thursday 13/07/2017.

Our original venue of the Royal Oak Cossington already have a party of 20+ walkers booked in so we have moved 5 minutes down the road.

Out of area

June 23, 2017

An out of area story but one worth telling to encourage the reporting of problems even if you are not planning to return to the area. In 2010-11 I did a long walk from Chepstow to Berwick upon Tweed ‘The Great English Walk’. I encountered a few issues along the way so took time afterward each days walking to report these. I never expected to get back to see if improvements had been made but hoped my effort would benefit those who later used the same paths.

Biddulph FP 77 bridge installed 2011

Biddulph FP 77 bridge installed 2011

In Staffordshire I used an unsigned path at Biddulph which crossed a stream. I reported the missing signs and bridge. In a letter of February 2011 Staffordshire County Council said, ” Public Footpath No. 77 Biddulph Town…..The path has been inspected and a job sheet has been issued for two new fingerposts, path clearance work and the installation  of a new 12 ft sleeper bridge.”  In October 2011 I received a follow up letter. “I am pleased to inform you that the earlier problem you reported concerning the above public right of way has now been resolved; the path has been cleared, two new fingerposts and a new 12 ft bridge has been installed.”

On Saturday 17th June 2017 I had the first opportunity to use the path again. I was delighted to find the path, easy to find, well walked and the stream safe to cross on the substantial bridge.

A walk from Somerby

May 10, 2017
Somerby shop and main street

Somerby shop and main street

Back to my theme of linear walks. This one from Melton Mowbray via the bus service 113 taking me to Somerby where I pick up the Leicestershire Round. I can’t recall that I’ve walked this section in reverse. This offers totally different views and with the limited sun behind me picking out new features in the landscape I enjoyed the walk across to the Punch Bowl.

I was delighted to find that the path through oilseed had been mown, this suggested a recent job but better late than never. It was rather a thin crop and it was clear to see where walkers had trodden a narrow path before a real path had been made.

Footpath D69 on the Leicestershire Round looking north

Footpath D69 on the Leicestershire Round looking north

By the time I dropped down the steps into the Punchbowl it was time for lunch so I rested on Jim’s seat which still looks good after four years.

Jim's seat in May 2017 still looks good 4 years after installation.

Jim’s seat in May 2017 still looks good 4 years after installation.

I appear to have a reputation for reporting lots of path issues but all I found on this eight mile walk was one rotten waymark post resting against a tree on the Jubilee Way at the start of the Dalby Hills permissive path.

LFA has started a trend on the Ernest Cook Trust Estate. A new resting place has been supplied by Jack Atton and Terry Darby who, while working as woodmen for the Trust, planted the trees here between 1980 and 1996 .

Jack Atton and Terry Darby's seat with a fine view across to Little Dalby

Jack Atton and Terry Darby’s seat with a fine view across to Little Dalby

It can be very muddy along the permissive path but it was fairly dry on this visit with views north through the still leafless trees. Finding the Other Route with Public Access to head north from Burrough Hill was a challenge. I mistook a stile as the route also used by horses but it came to an abrupt halt by a fence and ditch. Try again………. not quite on track but I eventually met the road from where a hedged track is clear to see and use.

Burrough Hill flanked by gorse in flower - the smell was delightful.

Burrough Hill flanked by gorse in flower – the smell was delightful.

The ORPA heads north into Melton where it meets Sandy Lane. It’s part of the National Cycle Network and has been given a metalled surface. Cars are prevented by blocks of concrete firmly blocking some of the gates so it’s pedestrians only and easy walking. The view to the east is far ranging especially from Gartree Hill.

When the cycle track becomes a proper road I turn right along a bridleway, a little apprehensive with such a sea of yellow ahead will there be a path? Well there was and here it was vital. A vigorous crop as tall as me, again cut a bit late and when it starts to flop the path will disappear. I timed my walk spot on.

Looking south from the junction of paths D98A and D99 near Burton Lazars.

Looking south from the junction of paths D98A and D99 near Burton Lazars.

I cross the busy A606 and take a combination of well walked paths and tracks into Melton. The final mile is alongside the River Eye then between the buildings of what was pedigree Petfoods but now just says Mars. I did make a short detour under the railway on what Network Rail call the towpath while making plain this is not a public right of way. It does offer a handy short cut from the housing estate into the top end of town.

 

 

Good news for walkers at Great Glen

May 7, 2017

Footpath C28 which goes south from  the Pug and Greyhound pub at Great Glen was for many years an impenetrable jungle of  briars and brambles.  When I retired I felt it my duty to clear a way  through it to cross the bypass and to reach the canal.   In the summer of  2016 I took my shears each evening and cut a way through the brambles.   On  one occasion I met a young man in shorts battling his way from the bypass as  I was cutting my way up towards him.  He greeted me with joy to see some  clear route ahead and some respite for his cut legs!  I felt my labours were  rewarded.

Footpath C28 at Great Glen

Footpath C28 at Great Glen

Professional help

Professional help

My path was only a narrow muddy single track through dark overhanging  brambles.  I later got some help in widening it  and then talked to  Great  Glen Wildspace group about the importance of having paths which connected  park areas with the footpath network  and they found volunteers to widen and  clear the footpath (for the benefit of birds and wildlife).  It is now a delightful route to add to your repertoire.

Footpath cleared by Wildspace team. Looking towards the bypass.

Footpath cleared by Wildspace team. Looking towards the bypass.

Heather MacD

Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

May 3, 2017
Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory!

The Wednesday short walk on the 19th April  organised by Pete C started at Peatling Magna  and included Shearsby and Bruntingthorpe. The weather was perfect, the spring  flowers were out, lambs in the fields and the meadows were lush green. Winter walking in muddy fields a distant memory! The photo shows the group enjoying a refreshment break underneath an isolated and spectacular tree (GR SP62038 90702) in a field on the Leicestershire Round  just outside Shearsby.

Thanks to Nigel B for words and picture.