Monday, 29 May 2017

Ashover in May

Hello Lovelies,
May is my most favourite month. All the fresh green foliage delights me and the temperatures are usually perfect for walking.
Last week however, we suddenly had a heatwave. On Thursday my walking group was due to do a nine mile local walk. Somehow I just could not face all those flat miles through arable fields, with little or no shade. So I decided to give it a miss.
Mum was more than happy to go on a day trip onto Derbyshire, where the temperatures were forecast to be a little cooler and I could do a shorter walk while she painted and sketched.

An hour's journey brought us to  Ashover. If the name seems familiar that's because I came here with the family only a few weeks ago. I liked it a lot and wanted to explore further. Since this area was originally mum's suggestion it seemed only fair to bring her :0)

We turned off the road about a mile before the main village and found a shady spot by a pretty stream.

Mr Robin was enjoying this cooling place.

And mum was happy to sit and paint. I put on my boots and arranged to meet her in Ashover village it's self in an hour and a half.
 Bye Mum....

It was early afternoon and I did wonder about the sense of this steep climb.

which got steeper.

I was very happy to see this woodland appear.

There were lots of these wooden bridges, which did not span streams.

But chasms that looked like old mine workings.

A little higher I emerged into a quarry area. It was no longer in use and looked like a great haven for wildlife these days.

I loved the hilly backdrop.

Soon I was walking downhill again and looked at a map I had printed out. My map reading is rather hit a miss. Last week it was more miss than hit.

 I thought I was in the path in the centre of the photo, by number 162.

until I spotted this impressive house. Oh, it must be by Overton Hall.

I re-orientated myself and looked for a path on the right. There it is.

It was such a pretty and easy walk at this point. I loved the cow parsley and the stone squeeze stiles.

And I loved the buttercup meadows.

Here I was not sure where the path went but I knew I needed to climb up hill, so I took a chance on this track.

Ah ha...success. And welcome shade.

I climbed through more pretty woodland then emerged into what looked like another disused quarry. It was hot here, with a steep climb and no breeze. I walked slowly. Stopping to drink.

There were lots of tiny white flowers. You can see some on the left in the photo above.
 I found a great site to help with identification.

I discovered it's called  Spring Sandwort, and it is listed as being rare . 

As I climbed higher the views opened up again and I saw a cyclist who complained of the heat.

Us Brits are rarely happy with the weather are we :0)

I was happy to be in such a beautiful spot at this lovely time of year. This old chimney, which was nearly obscured by trees, caught my eye.

As did this "graffiti" ...nice font, I thought :0)

Just look at that view.

There was still more uphill to do and the path was tricky but beautiful on such a lovely spring day.

I was climbing up to Cocking Tor, once again I was guessing the wrong path though...ooops.

 I was happy to be ascending these rocks rather than descending.

After a while I emerged into open fields.

 With views towards Riber Castle.

Here I am, clutching my map and feeling very glad of my sunhat.

 I felt a bit lost and was happy to see a clear path here.

And then was thrilled to see a mass of bluebells still in flower. They were stunning and such a treat when I thought Bluebell season was over for this year.

after a bit I looked for the path again. It was not here.

Maybe it was along the cliff edge.

There was masses of invasive Rhododendron here and I could see where some brave people had hacked it away a little. It must have completely hidden the view.

 Did you spot the smiley face?   :0)

After a while of carefully picking my way along the cliff edge I was delighted to see Ashover village.

oooh look. It's so pretty and the farmer is busy making hay (or something similar)

On the horizon above the village I spotted  the rock that the boys climbed the last time we came.

Then the path sort of disappeared.

I did find great weathered rocks.

and more lovely views.

But I had to admit defeat in finding a new footpath down.
Time to retrace my steps and descend the same rocky path I had climbed up. It was not too bad really.

This bit was worse. Loose gravel threatened to send me sliding downhill on my bottom. Something I was keen to avoid :0)

I was happy to pass the familiar hall and finally know which path I needed.

It was shady and looking at it's best flanked by wild garlic, cow parsley.

and tons of tiny blue speedwell.

this view charmed me.

and the path led downhill through a meadow of buttercups and clover.

Then over this old stone bridge.

and finally, uphill into Ashover.

Which was looking lovely in the sunshine.

I found mum in the shady churchyard where she showed me her painting of that pretty stream. It wasn't quiet finished but I thought mum had captured the fresh greens of May beautifully.

I was glad to cool my hot feet by changing into sandals, and to sit down for a little picnic before we started the journey home.

My getting a bit lost did at least mean this walk was longer than I had planned, and all the climbing must have been good for my heart. If not, the beautiful spring scenery certainly was.

There are still more walks I want to explore around this hopefully there will be a part three to follow sometime :0)

Jacquie x