Inspired by the glorious weekend, we got in the car and headed north – our destination was the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate in Derbyshire – our intention was the 4 mile walk around Padley Gorge. On the way we stopped at the Chatsworth Farm Shop & Restaurant for coffee and and to pick up some tasty treats to add to our picnic! Leaving the car in the cool shade, we headed off -sunshine, blue skies, & enough breeze to carry the song of the skylarks…heaven! After walking through woodland, along the stream that lots of families were enjoying, we headed into the Gorge proper!
What fabulous trees, gnarled and moss covered – like some living fossils from primordial times. The sound of the water, the dappled shade – wonderful – and even when the trees had fallen, they appeared to arrange themselves in some type of natural installation! A word of warning though, if you sit for a drink and a bite to eat, mind you don’t get nipped by some of the largest ants I’ve seen in the UK! Emerging from the Gorge, passing beautiful bluebells in the sunlit glades, we arrived in Grindleford, stopping off at the Station Cafe for a reviving cup of tea (I know, all we seem to do is drink tea & coffee!) – which was just as well as the next part of the walk involved a 600ft scramble up the other side of the Gorge – the rough hewn steps are definitely not designed for people with short legs like me!! But at the top you are rewarded with some fabulous views across the valley – once you get your breath back! From there it was a gentle stroll back across open land dotted with trees & rhodedendron shrubs, where we heard, for the first time in a long while, a cuckoo loudly proclaiming it’s presence.
We had certainly ‘walked up’ an appetite and was well ready for our tasty picnic! We then headed out again, up some more of the stone steps, to a fantastic vantagepoint where I took the opportunity to sketch. What a fabulous day! And here are some small studies inspired by the uplands of Derbyshire! Roll on the sunshine so we can have more incredible days like this one!