Tissington Gold

We returned to the Tissington Trail today, this time parking at the Tissington car park and walking south towards Ashbourne. As it is half term week it was busier than last week and attracted a wide variety of users; walkers, babies in pushchairs, family groups, cyclists and wheelchair users. Social distancing wasn’t a problem and clearly everyone enjoyed the opportunity to be out in the fresh air. Having said that, I realise there is not a single person in the photographs!


Another bridge over the river Wye. This time the sheep-wash bridge at Ashford-in-the-Water. It must be the most photographed bridge in Derbyshire.

It is a packhorse bridge and the unusual feature is the attached stone sheep-wash to the left of the photo. The river is wider but shallow at this point. This is how sheep were washed in the water before chemical dips were introduced. Lambs were kept in the walled pen on one side which enticed ewes to swim across the river to the opposite side. At a midway point the shepherd would push them underwater to clean their fleeces before being sheared.

Tissington Trail

We hit the trail again – this time the Tissington Trail which follows the route of the former Ashbourne to Buxton railway. We joined the trail at the picturesque village of Tissington and headed north for about a mile and a half before returning to the car park.

The first part of the walk was through a railway cutting but it soon opened out to reveal spectacular views across the valley.

Part of me wanted to believe this was Postman Pat delivering postcards in Greendale!

Cromford Mill Pond

On a sunny afternoon like this, it is easy to appreciate the expression ‘Calm as a mill pond’

The village of Cromford, in Derbyshire is often described as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and modern factory system. In 1771, Richard Arkwright built the world’s first successful water-powered cotton mill. The water from this pond and ran through tunnels under the road, now the A6, in order to reach the mill. The mill is now part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. We got as far as the entrance ready to visit but then, because of current precautions and restrictions, thought better of it and came away. May return and blog about it in better times!

High Peak Trail

Our walk along part of the High Peak Trail started at Middleton Top Countryside Centre, Middleton by Wirksworth.

Next to the centre is the steam engine house built in 1829 to haul wagons up the Middleton incline which at this point is 1:8. Many years ago we made the mistake of starting our walk at the bottom of the incline. Older and wiser now?

This couple are about to walk down the descent to Cromford
Looking down from the top of the incline

The 17 mile long High Peak Trail takes the line of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway between Parsley Hey and Cromford and was one of the first railways in the world. The railway was opened in 1831 and was mainly designed to carry minerals and goods between Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal, with connections to the Manchester area.

Most of the trail we walked today was level and it was easy to imagine the railway track. The tunnel was also a big clue! Part of the walk was through cuttings between the rocks but other parts were open and elevated.

At the furthest point we walked to, many of the trees had already lost their autumn leaves and will remain wintery skeletons until the new leaves appear in spring. Although the trees will be dormant over winter, the wind turbines will continue to turn and contribute to the national grid.

I have seen wind farms from a distance many times but this was probably the closest I have been to one. There was something quite mesmerising about them and incidentally, fairly quiet and not a dead bird in sight.

As you know I often include a quote which I think is appropriate for a post or photograph so I couldn’t resist this one on the subject of wind turbines by none other than Donald Trump. “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen in your life.”

Bridge over the river Wye

Resting, relaxing and recharging our batteries with a break in Derbyshire. We are not too far from home but what a wonderful place to be in autumn. This ‘postcard’ is of the small charming bridge over the river Wye at Rowsley, shortly before it flows into the river Derwent.

The Derbyshire river Wye should not be confused with the Welsh, Hereford, Gloucestershire Wye. Its source is west of Buxton and at just 22 miles in length it is one of the major tributaries of the river Derwent which flows into the river Trent and ultimately into the Humber and North Sea.

I researched (ok I Googled) bridge quotes and to my surprise many of the results were by Turkish playwright, novelist and thinker Mehmet Murat ildan. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him but he is clearly a bridge lover and certainly came up with the goods for bridge quotes. So many in fact, and all appropriate for this photograph, that I couldn’t decide which one to use, so here are six of them. You can be the judge.

“If watching a bridge is much more exciting than crossing that bridge, then you can be sure that it is a very beautiful bridge!”

“The easiest way to leave this world without leaving this world is to stand in the middle of a bridge and watch the surroundings!”

“You have to cross many bridges and you have to walk many paths in your life! But what is more important than this is to know which bridges you should not cross and which paths you must not walk!”

“If you are good at building bridges, you will never fall into the abyss!”

“If you do not build bridges, precipices become your fate!”

“With stones, you can build walls to separate people or build bridges to unite them! Do the second thing in the name of ethics and honour, for the glory of love and goodness!”

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

This photograph was taken five years ago almost to the day. It is inside St Edmund’s Church, Fenny Bentley, a small village near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. It was the day after their Harvest Festival and this simple window display was perfect for a quiet rural church, typical of so many English village churches.

The following day we were in Florence and within days of arriving we were overwhelmed by the ornate churches, elaborate architecture, countless statues and galleries. We were uncomfortable with all the hustle and bustle of an overcrowded tourist city. (Is there a name for tourists who complain about a place because there are too many tourists?). The contrast between the two locations could not have been greater. Of the two, I know where we would rather be, and it doesn’t require passports or boarding passes.

Leonardo da Vinci was one of Florence’s most famous residents and it was interesting to see this quote on a wall in the bookshop at the city’s Leonardo da Vinci Museum.

‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. – Leonardo da Vinci.

Now in my book, that makes the sleepy Derbyshire village of Fenny Bentley far more sophisticated than Florence!

Heage Windmill

Heage, a village in Derbyshire, gets its name from a derivation of ‘High Edge’ so what better place to build a windmill back in 1797. The very nature of windmills means they are exposed to the elements and over a span of two hundred years it’s no surprise that the structure fell into disrepair.

She (apparently all windmills are female) was abandoned in 1919 after storm damage but was eventually restored to working order in 2002. It is now a Grade II* listed building and the only working six-sailed stone tower windmill in England. It is lovingly preserved and maintained by Heage Windmill Society and Friends of Heage Windmill. One can only imagine the amount of time and fund-raising it takes by the volunteers to keep a project like this viable and successful. Their website, link below, gives some indication of that.

Perhaps this post should be sub-titled ‘One subject, four skies’; all photographs were taken in the the space of 30 minutes. Well the weather forecast was scattered showers and sunny intervals!

Heage Windmill website