Friday, 19 September 2008

Manifold Valley on a dull day, but with my NEW camera!

Well, I was RARING to go out with my new birthday present this week. A shame, as the weather was quite dull & not at all conducive to good pictures. However, I did my best!
We parked up near to Ecton hall, in the Manifold valley about 3 miles south west of Hartington. There's lots of free parking in the valley, which I'm surprised about, as it's a really lovely and well-visited place. Won't be long before the greedy boys get the meters up though.
As we passed through Hartington, we noticed the well dressing was in place, so stopped to take a picture of it. The theme was the pilgrim fathers and the Mayflower.
As you probably know, these wonderful things are all made up with natural things - petals, cones, grasses, and take HUNDREDS of hours of close, painstaking work to create. All done by village volunteers. Community spirit at its best!
We then carried on to the start of the walk. We parked up near Ecton hall, and set off (again) straight up the valley side behind Ecton hall. This valley, and particularly this spot, has been mined for years. They even suspect that it may go back to prehistoric times, and are searching for evidence of this now. The hall is a strange building, a bit gothic in places, topped off with a copper
plated tower (now turned green with oxydisation, of course).

All around us were the signs of Autumn now. We were still in shorts, but you could feel that nip in the air - JUST. All in the hedgerows, the fruits could be seen, while the flowers drooped, their best now spent.

As we climbed the hill, we saw men digging a trench. We spoke to them, and they were excavating the area to try and find evidence of early mining.

They told us that the uninteresting-looking engine house behind us was VERY important, as it had been an early prototype shaft engine for the Ecton deep mine (the deepest in the country, I believe) , built by the famous James Watt.
After chatting for quite a while, we continued on, up Ecton hill and over the top. The views back were really good, even on this dull day. In this shot, you can see the hall, mine and spoil heaps, shored up by tree planting (probably also to screen it from the hall)

With the damp Autumn, comes fungi. I really love to eat wild fungi, but I HAVE to know I am sure what it is. These examples are not edible, but give me hope that the nice ones will be growing too, all I have to do is keep my eyes peeled.

We did quite a bit of up and downing, before we reached Wetton. The village was VERY sleepy today. Mid-week, and so hardly any activity. The pub even looked closed, although we didn't try to go in. We sat on the tiny village green and ate lunch. There are some really lovely cottages here. Alas, like most villages these days in the Peaks, mostly holiday cottages. I don't think this one was though, 'vine cottage'.

Sue saw Nasturtium in the garden, and said that it always reminded her of looking for caterpillars when she was a child. "There's always one under every leaf", she said. We looked, and sure enough.....

There were also a few bees about, getting the last of the pollen and nectar.
This one was peeping at me over a leaf.

After lunch, we left Wetton along a lane that has a lovely wall bordering it. I saw this wall being re-built by master waller Gordon Wilton
This was the first view of the hunch of Thors Cave. You can see the spire of Grindon church across the valley.
Of course, when we had climbed on top of the cave, I got to try the camera out!

Here's one I took of Sue.

As we dropped down, and round to the mouth of the cave, I saw this great dead head.

We got to the bottom and looked back. They've found evidence of bears and lots of habitation in Thor's cave. It's not, as you might think, to do with the Norse God of thunder, but more probably a changed 'Tors cave', to do with the height.

Some tiny fungi on a log
The first signs of autumn, apart from the slight nip in the air.

All that was left to do was walk along the old bed of the Manifold light railway (now a track for walkers and cyclists). We passed through the only tunnel on the line, to get back to Ecton, and the car. Not a great day for photo's, but certainly whetted my appetite for more with the new camera.


Claire said...

Glad you liked my house!

. said...

I did, it's a lovely place (but a bit far our from anywhere)
Glad you liked my blog :-)

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