Friday, 24 May 2013

Lathkill and Bradford dales.

Today was a local walk that starts only ten minutes from where we live. Alport is one of the few places that hasn’t been hi-jacked by the parking charge brigade, and you can usually find space here. The walk starts at the bridge over the river Lathkill. The water in this river has a clarity and brightness that has no equal. It is reputedly one of the cleanest rivers in Europe, and it sure looks that way when the sun is on it.
We went through the stile that leads to the path upstream, this lovingly restored cottage on our left, with an immaculate garden, complete with lawn stripes..

Spring is now in FULL swing in the dales. Most of the wild flowers are cocking a snook at the recent cold weather, and coming out anyway.

This flower, Campion, was in great evidence.

Some were a soft pink hue, others, like this one, leaned towards a more purple shade.

Raper bridge, just ten minutes along the path. It looks strange, because there’s a sort of drop for the water. You can just see it falling on the far side.

Looking upstream from the side of the bridge.

Bridge reflections and marsh marigold.

Like some sort of buttercup on acid!

The little smiler – forget me not!

The flowers of sweet cicely, if you rub the leaves, your hands smell strongly of aniseed.

A nice head of stitchwort.

A swan in mirror image - can YOU tell which is right way up????

You can see a video of the River Lathkill, click HERE
We climbed higher up the valley, crossing Conksbury bridge, to gain the higher reaches of the Lathkill. Over Haddon village was just above us now.

The simple dandelion – a weed? Maybe, but a beautiful thing, all the same.

A host of golden ..... dandelions!

Next years babies.

A coot, already with a clutch of eggs, sits patiently on them.
You can see a video of another coot that already has a chick here HERE

Lords and ladies, looking like a lily.

When fully grown, it will look like this.

On a small clapper bridge, we came across this short poem engraved into the stone.
Unfortunately, if you look closely, I think there’s a mistake! Should it say; ‘waters FOR to rise or fall’, or is there one ‘or’ too many?
I would say, ‘it’s not written in stone’, but the thing is – in this case IT IS!!
(NB - see comments, below)

A derelict barn, stark on the hillside above us.

One of my favourite places to take a picture, the small stone bridge and track that leads up to Youlgreave.
There was a mother duck with her five new chicks next to us in the river.
To see the duck & five chicks, click HERE

A short walk down Bradford dale brought us back to the start once more, the bridge at Alport and the car.
Not a long walk, only just over six miles, but it was great to be out.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Blue heaven - an English bluebell wood in its prime.

I make NO apologies for this blog entry being almost ALL bluebells - they are my personal favourite, I can never get enough of them. This beautiful flower is glorious for just about one week each year.

Come with me, in a walk through an English bluebell wood, with not ONE of the paler, less impressive Spanish ones in sight!

Little speedwell sit in patches around the bluebell wood.
This flower always looks to me like it's smiling!

Wood violet too, all vying to show off their livery to passing bees.

Gateway to blue heaven.

And the star of the show - a sea of English bluebells.

BIG breaths in - the perfume in this wood is INCREDIBLE!

A close-up of one of the crowd.

The wood, (Shaw wood, at Oakerthorpe) has had quite a bit of work done. Coppicing, wood shred on the muddy paths, etc etc.

Fallen trees, drowning in a sea of blue.

A REAL sea of bluebells!

The lovely, and improved, path through Shaw wood.

Sue takes it all in. Like me, she is a real lover of the bluebell.

Tiny stitchwort stretch up and shout; "ME, ME, LOOK AT ME!!!"

Sue, again contemplates the beauty of it all.

So many blooms - so little time - get BUSY, Mr bee!

Another addition to Shaw wood, a place to sit and contemplate.

The fractal lines of new bracken growth.

I'm amazed that anything else can get a look-in to grow here, but it does. 
This is (I think) a clump of comfrey.

Every now and then, a spot of white appears in the blue carpet. Why, I don't know?

White and blue, juxtaposed in perfect harmony.

A BUM-ble bee!!

The sky was darkening quickly as we left the wood for home.
As predicted, it then rained for most of the remaining afternoon.
This poor arrival to England wasn't impressed. Click on the picture for a larger version.
I hope you've enjoyed our trip through the bluebell wood.
See you next year?