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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Lathkill Dale & Fern Dale

Another 06:00 am start and it was off up to the top end of Lathkill Dale. It was Ike's turn to drive and it didn't take long to get there. Booted up and through the gate and the first stop was a dew pond to see if there were any newts in it, there was quite a few. We've been through Lathkill Dale a few times but this time we were taking a new footpath that led us into new territory Fern Dale. Fern Dale is a lovely little dale with lots of limestone outcrops with tree's growing out of them. On our trip around we bumped into a chap we had spoken to a couple of years before, his name is Bill Gee and a very knowledgeable man. We had discussions about the local area and Horse drawn funeral carriages of all things.

Route around Lathkill Dale & Fern Dale

The first Dew Pond

Many sheep & lambs

This is one of those Water Boatman insects

Geoff & Ike


Views of Lathkill Dale

Heading into Manchester

First one this year

Peacock in One Ash Grange Farm

One Ash Grange Farm pond

Ike & Geoff

Breakfast stop

Spotted Magpie Mine way across the valley

Rob, Ike, Bill Gee & Geoff

Trouble getting over the style

All the sheep went running to Rob, they thought they were going to get fed

One of the larger Dew Ponds

Limestone walls

Views of Fern Dale

The ground was carpeted with Celandine

Another Celandine

Found him just as we were coming through the last gate at Lathkill Dale

Another cracking little walk only 3 1/2 miles, through some lovely scenery. We saw a hare, peacock and heard several skylarks and an abundance of lambs plus a meet up with Bill Gee.
Being out in the countryside is good for the soul.
See you next week

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Calke Abbey Grounds & St. Giles Church

My turn to drive this week and we thought we haven't been to Calke Abbey for a while so that's where we headed. On the way we spotted an adult fox just ambling on the pavement before disappearing into a hedge, beautiful colour. It took just about 45 minutes to get there and we were first in the car park. We had a look at the map showing the footpaths and just set out on a circular walk. The path we took went from the car park down to the Thatch House Pond then along towards the deer enclosure where we saw some deer in the back lit morning light. Made the photo's a bit tricky and the local birds were were doing there thing on the backs of the deer, not sure if they were eating bugs or using there fur as nesting material. Carrying on up the hill there were just loads of squirrels everywhere and the woods full of Bluebells waiting to burst into bloom. The next stage took us past a huge old tree (not the old man of Calke) and then to a bird feeding station. As we were there a couple pulled up in a 4x4 and started to fill the bird feeders, we spoke to them later and they do this every morning out of their own pocket. From there we found our way back to the car park and settled on a bench for our breakfast. When we had finished i wandered over to what looked like a shed but to my surprise it turned out to be a fully equipped bird hide. There were 2 photographers inside and the view was over feeders of all sorts attracting numerous birds, a couple of squirrels and even a young rat. From there we went past the house and up to St. Giles Church which is fascinating inside. On the way back to the car we bumped into the bird couple again and had a long chat then our Rob spotted this tree with a huge hole in it and said give me your camera and climb in there. Well i like a challenge so in i went.

Route around Calke Abbey grounds

Ike watching the geese landing

Crows on the deer

You can see straight through this tree

Rob, Geoff and Ike

Rob, Geoff and Ike


Is this a piece of modern sculpture



Gray Lag Goose

Breakfast time

Acrobatic Squirrel

Rat feeding on the dropped bird food



Old stable block


Couple dedicated to feeding the birds

St. Giles Church

Window in St. Giles Church

St. Giles Church interior

Graves planted up with heather

Calke Abbey

Me in a tree

Calke Abbey from the tree.
 A lovely stroll around Calke just around 4 miles through very varied scenery. I'll be back soon for the Bluebells.
See you next week