Sunday, 30 June 2019

Youlgreave - well-dressings and walking

After Tissington and Ashford in the Water, out third well-dressings visit of the year was to the village of  Youlgreave, or Youlgrave if you prefer; I've recently seen both spellings in use on maps, road signs, village notice boards

The decorations there seemed to have a linking theme of environmental issues from plagues of frogs to the destruction of habitat by the palm oil industry

This one depicts evolution - ending with the burning up of the Earth as foretold in the old Testament - a well-designed plaque with a chilling message.

Even the children's well at the school symbolised how we're all linked together - and ultimately what harms one of us, harms all.

Youlgreave's a long stretched out village, with the wells fairly evenly spaced along the main street, so part way along we stopped for a little refreshment (cake), and a side tour up on to the moor to take in the views.

Then, having finished viewing the wells, we headed downhill to Bradford Dale for a short walk by the river, though we possibly ended up sitting for longer than we walked, as it's such a lovely, tranquil spot.

Hopton Hall Rose Garden

For our 'day out' this week we were heading to Youlgreave to see the well-dressings but, deciding to make a full day, we called in at Hopton Hall on the way there. The gardens there are open at two periods of the year - spring for snowdrops (which we've visited before) and summer when the roses are in bloom (which somehow I've never got round to, till this week)

The rose garden sits on the highest of a series of terraces, boxed around with low hedging, and interspersed with slim, columnar trees, which give the garden year-round interest (even when we visited in spring this area looked charming)

We started our visit with lunch - if tea and cake can be called lunch - and it was a beautiful day to just sit, relax and admire the garden from the highest point.

It's a wonderfully relaxing spot, and I could possibly have sat there all day, lulled by sunshine and the scent of the roses, but eventually we forced ourselves to explore further.

The outer wall of the garden is a curving, crinkle-crankle wall with fruit trees trained up it, and herbaceous borders in front.

Judging by my own garden roses and those seen at Locko Hall last weekend, I'd expected all the beds to be in bloom, perhaps even past their best, but they weren't. Flowering seasons are always unpredictable but another year I'll time things a little later just to try to catch the later blooms.

From the rose garden, a path leads to a lower terrace with a broad walk with more mixed borders and roses, then leads through a wooded area to the lake.

Again, a lovely spot to sit, relax, and enjoy the tranquility. I just wish I could buy a season ticket or similar, and return every week.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Dale Abbey and the hermit's cave

 One of our evenings out earlier this week took us to Dale Abbey, a small, quiet village situated between Derby and Ilkeston, but well off the main A-road. Walk past the houses, and across a field, and you can't fail to see this huge arch, the only remaining piece of the abbey after which the village is named.

Back at the road, carry on a little further to All Saints' Church - an unusual building with the church to the left, on this photograph, and a farmhouse on the right.

The church dates back to the early twelfth century but we were looking for something a little older.

Hidden away in the wood behind the church is a hermit's cave, cut into the sandstone rock. In about 1130, a baker from Derby had a vision of the Virgin Mary, left his life behind, and came to live here as a hermit.
It's probably quite simple to find but somehow we managed to get lost, so ended walking down steps cut into the cliff, and up another set of steps, then down again!

Until you're really close the trees mask the hermitage, but with openings for doors and windows, there's no mistaking it when you do find it.

It looks rather like a hobbit-burrow, though one that's gone to ruin rather than Mr Baggins' snug little house, but there's a strange, eerie atmosphere to the place.