Thursday, 13 April 2017

New Places to Explore on my Doorstep

Old quarry sides and view to Black Rock
With glorious weather this past weekend, I didn't want to stay in doing 'chores' all the time, but didn't have the time to travel a long distance to somewhere new, and, as I'm having to holiday mostly at home this year, I wanted to find somewhere new to visit. Fortunately we found two interesting, 'new' places to explore without too long a drive.

First, on Saturday evening we decided to find out what lies behind some rather splendid wrought iron gates just outside Wirksworth, heading up the road to Middleton. Probably anyone living nearby knows perfectly well what to expect, but we'd driven past many times without stopping, and I was eager to investigate. Inside, an old quarry has been transformed, its precipitous sides smoothed out and planted with trees, and is now a lovely tranquil spot for a short walk, Stoney Wood.

It's not too gentle on the legs though - the signpost says "Ascent to the Stars" and although this refers to the Star Map (an art installation with a map of the heavens illuminated by solar power) it's certainly steep. Stopping to admire the pieces of sculpture along the route is a good way to catch your breath!


happy walker

The views at the top are definitely worth the effort, looking out over Black Rock on the opposite side of the valley, and south towards Derby, though we discovered parking at the top for the less able visitor. We were just in time to catch the sunset before heading back down to the car.

Sunday afternoon was supposed to be a gentler walk - we headed to Cromford intending to follow one of our regular walks, along the canal with the sun shining, and celandines and primroses flowering beside the old tow path.

High Peak Workshops

From the workshops at High Peak Junction we carried on intending to pass over the viaduct and head up the filled in spur towards Lea Bridge and back in a short circular route, but ...

Viaduct over the River Derwent
... at the ruined cottage just over the viaduct I spotted the bright green of a nature reserve information board partway up the hillside and went to investigate.

Having scrambled this far, we thought we'd climbed the steepest section so carried onwards and upwards, through woods which will soon be carpeted in bluebells (must go back next month!) to an open meadow, before heading back down by a gentler route, ending up more or less where we'd originally intended to go.
I can easily see this becoming a regular addition to our walks at Cromford. It's a bit more tasking than a stroll along the canal - but nothing like as steep or high as the climb through Bow Wood on the opposite hillside.

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