Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Autumn Wanderings

We have had some wonderful Autumn walks over the last few days, some in the sunshine, others in the early-morning mist. When the sun has shone, we have been treated to some great views of Autumnal colour. Looking straight up through the trees, almost always rewards and compensates for the inevitable crick in the neck!
When the mist has hung on until a little later in the day, we've had some rather spooky views through the trees, especially here, on Shipley Hill.
Out in the fields, the Highland Cattle are unaffected by the chill in the air.
And the Fungi continue to punctuate the countryside with their rather handsome 'toadstools'.
At Straw's Bridge a few days ago, the sun was still glinting off the water - although it's getting a lot lower in the sky.
This morning, we were once again, strolling around Shipley Hill, taking in the delightful Autumn Colours.
Glorious - and it'll soon be Christmas..!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

A Decade in an Instant

I can hardly believe that it was ten years ago today, that I started this blog. TEN YEARS! Where did that go?
It all started simply in October 2008, noting - as I am still doing - the delightful Autumn colours.
A year later, we were enjoying the sight of a the world's biggest aircraft as it made a rare visit to East Midlands Airport. The Antonov 225 is a beast of a plane, built to carry the ill-fated Russian Space Shuttle on its back, but now used for large-scale transport.
By 2010, it was back to the Autumn colours once more. This stunning Azalea, was (and still is) the centre of attraction on Shipley Hill.
At this time in 2011, we were just back from a trip to the Algarve and I was waxing lyrical about the colourful flowers, particularly these Oleanders...
2012 saw us 'reflecting' on the scene of tranquillity on the lakes of Straw's Bridge.
And by 2013, the Highland cattle had become well established as a part of the scenery...
On to 2014 and cattle were still on the itinerary, but not Highlands this time...
By 2015 I was back to featuring the Autumn colours, this time in 'High Dynamic Range' (all very fancy).
Two years ago, my attention had turned to this spectacular Beech Tree which stands sentinel over the southern slopes of Shipley Hill and always provides good value at any time of year...
And in 2017, we were looking up!
What will the next ten years have in store for us? Who can say? But I bet it will be both colourful and interesting, with a few surprises along the way.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Cold Start

Out and about again this morning, it was decidedly chilly, so I dug out the woolly hats for the first time this season. Despite the chill, it was a glorious morning to be out. Climbing Shipley Hill, the sunshine was filtering through the ever-thinning leaves.
By the side of Nottingham Lodge, there is a small Acer which is giving some fabulous autumn colour.
It always needs a closer look as we pass it.
From the hill, it was down towards Osborne's Pond, looking over to some more Autumn colour on Cinder Hill.
Further on and the reflections on Osborne's Pond were well worth it.
We were not the only ones enjoying the view - this Black-headed Gull was taking it all in too.
All too soon, we turned for home and a nice, warming cup of coffee.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


Blue skies and bright sunshine this morning, so it was a delight to get out and about and see some of the fabulous Autumn colour. Starting on the Nutbrook trail.
These Cherry trees are beautiful when in flower and no less attractive at this time of year, although, judging by the way the leaves were falling, it will not last long.
A little further on and the sun was slanting through the trees at 'Graffiti Bridge'.
Gave it an ethereal appearance.
Under the Birches, Fly Agarics are displaying their particular autumn colours. This was a particularly big one and not as red as usual.
The Spindles, Guelder-rose and Buckthorns at Straw's Bridge were good value too...
and across Pewit Carr, all was looking bright and cheerful - except for the small flock of Black-headed Gulls fighting among themselves.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Long Walk

After completing my rabbit-feeding duties for our neighbour's bunnies this morning, I set out for a long walk through Shipley Country Park. Setting out along the Nutbrook Trail as usual, the colours of Autumn were lovely.
Then it was up and over Shipley Hill, passing the old Hall's Suffragette Wall.
My path then led a short way along Bell Lane before turning off towards the visitors' centre - avoiding several Hornets in the hedges. I have never known there be so many of these rather terrifying wasps about as we've seen this year. Soon after the visitors' centre, I veered off the old paths and onto the new routes which have been laid out where very recently, open-cast mining was devastating the landscape. All a bit different now!
There are some wonderful new paths here and lots of great views too.
Malcolm and I have trodden this section a couple of times, but there was another path which we'd not taken before, so I decided to investigate. Some nice views across the wide-open spaces here too, calling for a panoramic picture.
This new path eventually took me all the way to the village of Smalley, but on the Heanor side, so after turning left along the main road, it was a walk of about half a mile through the village to the southern side, where I rejoined Bell Lane to start my return journey. The first thing which greets the traveller on Bell Lane, is the lovely sight of Smalley Dam.
Then it was past Smalley Lodge...
All the time enjoying the autumn colours.
Soon it was time to change direction again and take a detour through Mapperley Wood, taking me round the reservoir - avoiding more Hornets, this time after the fallen crab apples.
From here, I was back on more familiar paths through Mapperley Village and along Slack Lane back towards home and much-needed sit down. All together, a walk of a little over 9.5 miles.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Turning Leaves

The colours of autumn are building nicely. A few very chilly nights have made the trees think it's time to prepare for bed for the winter and many are looking absolutely gorgeous in their new and colourful get-up. We passed these beauties yesterday while walking through a rather cloudy and dull Shipley Park.
As always, the Maples are showing just how it should be done - even in drab weather.
Elsewhere, those other markers of Autumn the fungi, are also putting on a show of their own.
Winter wildfowl are appearing on our waterways too. Already we've seen Gadwall on Shipley Lake and there are reports of Widgeon and Teal as well. On Mapperley Reservoir, a small, but brilliantly coloured group of Mandarin have taken up residence and although we didn't get to see them yesterday as we passed by, we did manage to get a distant glimpse of some of them a few days ago.
They almost seem too good to be true when viewed at close quarters, like this little chap which I 'snapped' some time ago on Osborne's Pond.
The Autumn colours are also in evidence around Straw's Bridge and here too, the Maples are leading the way.
A little digital manipulation adds a bit of 'bloom'.
As it's only the beginning of October, we look forward to much more to come.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Autumn Shades

It was decidedly nippy as we set out for our walk this morning. The thermometer had dipped to 2 degrees C over night and a light frost glinted on the car roof first thing - the chill has arrived unusually early it seems this year. Out and about, the signs of Autumn are showing everywhere. Leaves are turning to fiery reds and golds and fungi are popping up all over the place. We spotted these among the trees on Shipley Hill a few days ago.
As it was a dark morning and the woodland floor was even darker, a little flash was required which gave the scene a rather spooky look.
All is now quiet on Shipley Lake and even the Coots had stopped scrapping with one another - almost!
Around the lakes of Straw's Bridge, Spindle Trees (Euonymus europaeus) are fruiting, producing their brightly coloured orange seeds from within a shocking pink husk. They look almost unreal.
The wood of these trees is very hard and was once made into spindles for the wool industry as well as butchers skewers - hence the name.
Returning home this morning, through some of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's farmland, the morning sun was slanting through the trees, leaving dappled shadows on the ground.
A little digital 'bloom' gives it an even softer appearance. All rather beautiful...
... and still plenty more of Autumn to come.