Sunday, February 26, 2023

Along the Cromford Canal - Part 1

It was a cool, slightly damp morning as we set out along the Cromford Canal starting at Cromford Wharf.

It was quiet around the wharf and along the towpath, the car park was nearly empty.  We didn't see another soul for ages.

The Canada Geese decided they were going to make a fuss and palaver with much honking and low flying and skimming of the water until they had all settled their differences.

Calm returned for a short while

We spotted what we thought was a Whitethroat (John at By Stargoose and Hanglands has pointed out that it's actually a Stonechat) thank you John.  This isn't a good photo but I've used it to show the molehills behind.  Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be far more molehills around this year?  Everywhere we go when out walking we are seeing far more than normal.  Has the last year been good for moles?  The only time I've seen a live mole was, funnily enough, on Nefyn beach in Wales.  It was running along at the side of lumps of earth brought down by a landslide from the cliffs above. It disappeared very quickly.

We also spotted a couple of snoozing Dab Chicks or Little Grebes not far from where we first spotted Water Voles.  We didn't see any voles this time but we did see a few more Dab Chicks.  We could hear their distinctive whistle as they dived for food.
They were hunting and diving in pairs.  The male has a reddish throat.
We reached High Peak Junction where you can visit the oldest railway workshop and sit with a cup of coffee.  We decided to walk further along the canal and then come back for refreshments later.
The Leawood Pump House across the other side of the canal.
At the bridge we crossed the canal to look at the grade II listed 19th century Aqueduct Cottage.  There is a lot of repair and renovation work being done.  The old lock keeper's cottage fell into disrepair and developers wanted to purchase it but volunteers from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust raised enough money to outbid them and for the last three years they have been working tirelessly to bring it back to it's former glory.

Work was going on as we paused to look at how the cottage had changed since we last saw it.  The cottage was built in 1802 by Peter Nightingale who was a great uncle of Florence Nightingale who grew up nearby.  He was the main financier for Richard Arkwright who built the mills at Cromford and later at Masson. 
The cottage as it looked when we photographed it back in September 2018.  It was described in 1884 by local author Alison Uttley.
'The cottage was the dividing place between work and play, between fairy tale and reality and we were bound for fairy tale'
Here is a - link - to much more about the cottage.  
We had crossed the canal and headed back towards High Peak junction for a warm drink where we were joined by a colourful little friend.
More in part two.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Rode Hall Snowdrops - Part 2

In my last post I promised more about the kitchen garden and pool which are both included in the Snowdrop walk at Rode Hall.

The path down to the lake or pool had verges covered in Spring flowers, Snowdrops, of course, as well as Daffodils, crocus and cyclamen.

The path passes the Stew Pond where there were Marsh Marigolds growing around the edges.

The Obelisk by the pool was Grade II listed in 1967.  It's made of yellow sandstone, the lower half is older than the upper half which locally  is thought to have replaced a former carving of a woman with a basket of eggs.

Rode Pool

The Hall was built c 1705 to 1707 it replaced an earlier house which was probably a half timbered manor house much like Little Moreton Hall which is just a few miles away.

Back up the path towards the hall we passed through the formal gardens
with this statue of a Wood Nymph in the centre.  It was created by British sculptor David Williams Ellis.
The Courtyard which has been set out as a cafe.

I took these photos before we went on the walk by the time we came back every table was full and there was a long queue for refreshments.
Views across the walled kitchen garden.

Gardeners were out and about preparing the beds for the new season.

Inside the green house.

Lots of Spring colour

I liked the old scales.  I remember those in grandma's kitchen.

Below the rhubarb beds.  It's almost time for early forced rhubarb.

We are just back from a couple of days away.  We had to attend a family funeral so decided to stay overnight both before and after so we didn't have lots of travelling in one day.  We had lunch with friends on the way there and on the way back walked along the Cromford canal in Derbyshire which I will write about in my next post.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Rode Hall Snowdrops - Part 1

Yesterday we visited a local garden, just north of the city over the county border in Cheshire.  Each year Rode Hall at Scholar Green offers Snowdrop Walks in February.  I took so many photos that I've decided to write two posts as there were many other things to see including a walled kitchen garden and greenhouse.
Rode Hall
The first thing to greet us as we wandered down the narrow path to the gardens was the glorious scent of the Daphne bush.  There were more dotted around the walks so every so often there was that distinctive aroma in the air.
We soon found lots of Snowdrops.

From a distance they looked like drifts of newly fallen snow.
Get up close and you can see how intricate and beautiful the flowers are.
There were lots of different varieties.

It's a few years since we last visited and the walk had been extended so there was quite a lot more of the woodland to explore.  I hope this is included in a couple of months time for their bluebell walks as there were signs of many on the way.

There were other Spring flowers to see including Daffodils, Crocus, Hellebores, Cyclamen and Camelias.
I'll be back with more on the Walled Kitchen Garden and the Lakeside in my next post.