Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Garlic, orchids and cowslips.

This Tuesday we had to go to the cash and carry for stock for the cafe, but we got back in PLENTY of time for a walk. We'd seen the bluebells a few weeks ago (see previous blog posting for pics), and now it was time to go and see if the wild garlic (Ramsons) were at their best. We set off from Ashford in the Water just before lunchtime. Here's a shot of the famous sheepwash bridge.

There were plenty of Dandelion 'clocks' along the way.
This one was a particualrly good example.
We walked along the banks of the Wye before turning into Great Shacklow woods.
Very soon, we saw the swathes of white, telling us we had come at JUSt the right time to see and smell the wonderful scent of the wild garlic.

The new ferns were also poking their heads up.
After the wonderful show of the garlic, we left Shacklow woods and turned up into Deepdale.
I know this dale to be very good for cowslips and early purple orchids. Again, we hit it on a good day, with the sun shining and LOTS of orchids & cowslips. This is a nice juxtaposition of the two.

A beautiful group of early purple orchids.

I don't ever recall seeing this before - it's what looks like an albino, or white, 'purple' orchid?
If anyone knows more, please leave a comment on this blog.

We left the dales and struck out on the lanes over the tops to Taddington.
The wall patterns around here are superb.
You have to wonder at the amount of work that went into building them though.

Not a 'clock' yet - this yellow dandelion caught my eye.

We shunned the main street through Taddington, preferring the leafy back lanes.

On a near perfect day, we crossed the fileds and dropped into and out of High Dale. You can see the path up the far side of the dale, to the left of the finger post.

Some farmers just put up wire fences when a drystone wall falls or is knocked down. This one, bless him, prefers to reinstate the drystone wall, with a skill that always will be admired by me.

They say that a drystone waller never puts down a stone he picks up, preferring to find a place in the wall where that stone fits. This results in a tight formation of stone which will, it is hoped, stand the test of time.
Looking back to Great Shacklow woods from Brushfield, above Monsal dale.

A derelict barn, with Wardlow Hay Cop hill in the background.

One of the closed tunnels on the Monsal trail.
I really wish they had 'open days' where the public could see behind these huge metal doors.

After Monsal head, we walked along 'pennyunk lane' and back to Ashford in the Water for a pint in the Bulls head. A lovely end to a smashing spring day.

This little Chaffinch sang us in to Ashford.

And this tree, in full blossom, was our waymarker back to the village.

Ashford church, in the evening light.
The bells were ringing full - what a beautiful welcome back!
You can hear the bells ringing in a short video (below)
Below is a selection of videos of the woods and bells etc.

A look at the profusion of wild garlic.

Deepdale side, FULL of cowslips & early purple orchids.

A walk through Shacklow woods, full of wild garlic.

The bells of Ashford in the Water ring out in the evening light.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

A walk through an English bluebell wood

As usual, I went to see the bluebells in the most FANTASTIC wood I've ever seen. It's at Oakerthorpe, near Alfreton, Derbyshire. I was actually maybe three days late, as they had JUST gone past their best, but they were still very impressive! See what you think. The text will be concise, as all the pics are of the bluebells. There are four short videos at the end of this blog entry, and you can click on them to watch them. Sorry they're not very high quality, but it's the best my digital camera will do. To be fair, it's really a stills camera.
This first shot is the path just after entering the wood. The scent is incredible and very strong! I just can't get enough of it though.
Looking back from the same spot - you can see the entry stile.
The bluebells stop abruptly after that stile?

The banks either side of the path are just a blue swathe.
I just can't tell you how much this annual pilgrimage lifts me!

The bees seem to like the flowers too. I'd love some of the bluebell honey, but I've never seen any for sale. I wonder why?

Here he goes - busy as you like.

Scientists say that the bumblebee CAN'T fly - it's not aerodynamically possible!

(Someone should tell the bee)

Looking to the right.

A low shot to show the concentration of bluebells.

I took my soulmate Sue with me - she loves the bluebells as much as me.

A low, close study of the lovely bluebell.

A huge blue swathe, all over the place.

A great close shot of a bee collecting his pollen.

Here he is, in full flight, looking for his next batch of nectar.

The most wonderful avenue I know!

At the end of the walk, a good view of Wingfield Manor, one of the many places the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, was incarcerated.

Here are the videos - ENJOY!

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