Friday, 28 May 2010

Deep Dale - deep joy!

Weather-wise, we were really on a roll! This was the latest of several walks in good weather
(VERY good today). We had been up to Monsal head the previous night, and could
see a lovely field of yellow rapeseed. I decided to configure today's walk to pass the field
for some pictures.
We began the walk in Ashford-in-the-Water, just 10 minutes from where we live.
The water level, sky and foliage was at its best, so a ubiquitous picture
of the sheepwash bridge was in order.

It's well-dressing season, and we spotted this. It's the frame they use to hold
the clay, into which they press all the decorations for the well-dressing.
It has to be wet, the wetter the better, so here it was, anchored down
by some very hefty looking rocks, and tethered to the bridge for extra security.
The trees look fabulous now. The green is just SO vibrant.
Against the backdrop of this sky, I could have taken a picture of them all!
Soon, we'd climbed the steep hill out of Ashford, and looked back on this scene.
As we topped the rise, a wave of perfume from the rape fields overwhelmed us.
We commented on how awful it must be to have hay fever, and for this
to be hell, instead of heaven, which it was for us.
Here's the provider of the lovely smell.

I took a lot of pictures of this, because it was just SO perfect.
Our timing couldn't have been better for the flowers.

They say 'one swallow doesn't make a summer', but
today REALLY felt like summer.
The dandelions were starting to go to seed.
We followed a short section of road, before turning up a track towards the Magpie mine.
Usually, Sheldon village would act as a magnet, but today we passed it by.
This is Sheldon, looking across the fields.
Tracks like this MAKE early summer for us.
These flowers smell strongly of aniseed.
The Magpie mine.

The short walk across the fields to the mine revealed THOUSANDS of
the beautiful mountain pansy. There were lots of cowslips too.

After the Magpie, we strode on to our lunch stop, the village of Monyash (which
means 'place of many ashes').
It has this weird phone box in a walled enclosure........WHY??????
After lunch on the village green, we left
Monyash via this flowery stile
The fields were a blaze of colour, mainly yellow from the MILLIONS
of dandelions. We'd heard that it was a record year
for them, as the conditions have been perfect.
Sue commented that they would soon all be 'clocks',
and the air would be full of their seed. just climb over them, mate!
We crossed the fields, and entered the top of Deep dale.
This, I KNEW, was a special place for cowslips and orchids.
Even if it wasn't, how beautiful does it look today?
This was the scene that greeted us. We'd seen great numbers of both these flowers
on previous walks, but today they really were in abundance.
Look behind these orchids - a SEA of cowslips!
Sue was just OVERCOME by the scent (I think)

The things I do for the shot!

Worth it though, this is one of the best specimens I've ever seen.

We had a small disappointment as we walked back to Ashford via Great Shacklow woods,
the wild garlic (ramson) was at least a week behind, and was not in flower yet.
We'd have to try and visit again next week. I hope you've enjoyed this weeks ramble,

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