Monday, 20 February 2017

Reformed Landscape

Over the past few years, UK Coal have been extracting coal from open cast mines across much of the land between Shipley and the village of Smalley. Well, this has recently come to an end and as part of the conditions of extraction, the area has had to be returned to grassland and countryside with public access. So with this in mind, I set out this morning to have a look at what's been done. I headed first for Shipley Hill and then along Bell Lane.
The last time I ventured along this road, my walk was blocked by fences and gates designed to regulate access to the mine workings, But those have all gone now along with the mobile offices and the guards who kept you under observation, to be replaced with new animal fencing and a few small ponds. This one had already been occupied by a flock of noisy geese.
 Despite the very grey conditions, it was unseasonably mild and looking across the fields, still very wet. Thankfully, Bell lane has a tarmac surface, so the feet remained dry. In the far distance it was beginning to brighten up, but not here!
From here you can see the chimney of Ratcliffe Power Station standing out against the bright sky.
And zooming in a bit more, the skyline of Ilkeston town centre was visible.
My walk was a little over 9 miles in total and trudging onward, I was nearly half way through and approaching Smalley village. More of which tomorrow.
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