28 Aug 2012

and now for something different...

We didn't venture far on one of the busiest weekends of the Summer
holidays on the roads.  
However, we did spend an afternoon at two separate community events 
held on adjoining recreation grounds in our area.
Both events attracted quite a crowd, but we particularly
enjoyed the one put on by the emergency services.
A controlled demonstration on how not to put out a pan of frying
oil by throwing water onto it was a spectacular visual lesson.
I was interested in the museum pieces of the older type of fire fighting
equipment and the grandchildren enjoyed seeing the latest police cars,
 motorbikes and other emergency service transport.   

27 Aug 2012

The Rivelin Valley Nature Trail

We live close to the Derbyshire border and fairly near to two of the five rivers
in the area where they converge at Malin Bridge.
These rivers and streams with their fast flowing water
from the surrounding peaty moorland heights
were ideal for powering the wheels of up to twenty mills
along their courses.  One of the most famous was
Mousehole Forge at Malin Bridge which
produced anvils that were exported worldwide.

Malin Bridge Corn Mill is a listed building that
has had a new lease of life after a period of decline
by being converted into apartments.
The water wheel is now just a show piece.

A plaque marks the site where this mill (using a tilt hammer) stood.
There are several conservation groups in these valleys
who work to preserve and record the heritage of this industrial past
and encourage the effective management of the wildlife habitats
in the area.  Many of the 20 mills and forges no longer exist,
but the artificially created ponds which used to feed them do.
The area around the dam nearest to Malin Bridge was upgraded
for recreational use with bench seating and this is the pond
we have been coming to in the Rivelin Valley. 

Below the pond is the river and I go and explore.

I hear rustling behind a tree.  The squirrel freezes and I stay still
as I take the photo before it scampers off. 

I walk along the path by the pond and cross a stone walkway
at the head of the dam.

Which path do I choose?  The right one continues along the river bank
and the left one leads to the road.

In fact, a walk (or drive) along the Rivelin Valley Road
is a pleasant one.  Once a cart track it's now a main road
that leads out to the Derbyshire Reservoirs and the Snake Pass
route to Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.
The Rivelin Valley still runs through farmland and for 5 kms
it's lined by an avenue of lime trees.

I pass a stone bridge which leads to another village.
 The Holly Bush Inn is close by the bridge on the far bank.

I rejoin the river side by another bridge where there's a cafe 
and children's play area.

I pass another weir before walking through the woods
back to the pond. It's a good circular, short walk.

We usually sit near this tree and just around the bend in the path
 I know Mr. P and grandson will be there hoping for some action!

An old timer, Ebenezer Elliott, wrote some verse....

Beautiful river! goldenly shining, 
Where, with the cistus, woodbines are twining,
Birklands around thee, mountains above thee,
 Rivelin wildest! Do I not love thee

24 Aug 2012

Gone fishin'

It's nearly the end of the six or seven weeks of holiday time
for our school students.  
We've been caring for our grandchildren since
we've been in this area and it's interesting 
to see the change in their interests as the years go by.
Our grandson enjoys all types of sport, but recently
he's become enthusiastic about fishing.
Going fishing is a new experience for active grandfather!

We have five rivers running through our area as well
as reservoirs and ponds so a few hours by the water
is always a pleasure.  

This quiet pond which feeds into a river is a popular place 
as there is off-road parking and footpaths by the water. 

We usually go there together and I sit and read
or take a walk.  There's a cafe not far away with a playground
for younger children, but we normally take our own snack food.

On the opposite side of the pond there are reeds where
no-one can disturb the wild life as there isn't a path.
I like to sit and watch the water birds go in and out
of this area where they are breeding and raising their young.
These three ducks have unusual markings and they are
always swimming together in unison.

The ducks don't mind the rain....

 ...and it doesn't worry those fishing, walkers or anyone who just
wants to sit in a peaceful spot for a while. 

This is where I went for a walk before it started to rain
and more about my walk next time. 

23 Aug 2012

Our garden in August

View over the gardens at the back of our house.

We've had some more spectacular rainbows recently.
One minute it's sunny and the next there are rain showers.

However, that's good for the plants and our flower beds
continue to look colourful. 

There's not much room for a glasshouse. Mt husband has one
 in the allotment, but I decided I would like to get him a small,
plastic version. Thankfully, it came in a flat pack
so it was a complete surprise on the special day 
and it kept the boys busy for a while putting it up!

My husband grows some of his tomatoes against the wall, but they have yet to ripen up.

The tomatoes in the covered yard are colouring up.
This is just one corner of the yard which is stuffed full
of vegetables in pots.

Here are some of the late Summer flowers.
Only the poppies have finished blooming. 

Joie de Vivre

22 Aug 2012

Down the lane: the little village and the Big House

Wentworth Village (where I took photos of the herd of cattle and posted on the blog a few weeks ago) has some unusual buildings that have been converted into private homes such as the windmill above, sometime known as the Saxon Tower.

The little estate village to the Big House, Wentworth Woodhouses, once owned by the Fitzwilliam dynasty, is still linked to its historical past with this industrial and mining family.  Many of the houses still have garden gates painted in the uniform green of the former owners.
The Big House is now owned by a private individual as the Fitzwilliam heritage died out with no heirs who could afford to maintain what is, in fact, the largest country house in England with the longest frontage of any in Europe.

Much of the land around the house was destroyed by open-cast mining after the Second World War when the government policy of the day was to take over privately-owned mines, but today the land is gradually being improved and settling back into rural and leisure use and the village is one of the best kept in the area.

Here are some more views of part of the village from the back lanes.

The spire of the present parish church, Holy Trinity, can be seen from all directions.

Some of the allotments from one of the back lanes.

The former Methodist Chapel, which is now a private residence.

A pretty cottage garden.

There's a bistro in the main street which was once the busy blacksmith's shop.  Now the small forge in the Builder's Yard creates ornamental items since times have changed!  (For example, the 18th century stable block on the estate had room for 84 horses for riding and driving coaches and carriages with a large riding school attached).  

The beacon, like many others, was set up for the millennium celebrations.

There's a family-owned garden centre which was part of the formal gardens of the Big House.It's a popular place to visit for purchasing plants with many other features and I will write about this another time.

You can see the old wall which enclosed this area of the estate.