Thursday, 31 May 2012


Edensor Village
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 44mm, 1/400s @ f/10, 3 images HDR tonemapped in Photomatix)
Edensor (pronounced Enzor) is the estate village of Chatsworth Park. Much of the village is owned by the Duke of Devonshire. Joseph Paxton, who designed the Crystal Palace, was involved in the layout and design of the many individually styled houses in the village in the early 19th century. The church is dedicated to St Peter.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Hay Meadow

Hay Meadow near Beeley
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17mm, 1/200s @ f/10, HDR Tonemapped in Photomatix)
Today my brother-in-law and I went for a delightful walk from Beeley village via Carlton Lees and Edensor to Chatsworth. Near the end of the walk we dropped down towards Beeley through some flower rich hay meadows. Beeley village is visible in the middle distance with Stanton Moor the hill behind.

Looking towards Hell Bank and East Moor

Saturday, 26 May 2012

White-faced Darter

White-faced Darter
(Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS @ 250mm, 1/320s @ f/8.0)
Today, in beautiful sunshine, I was able to attend a BDS visit to Chartley Moss between Stafford and Uttoxeter. This is the Southernmost location for the rare White-faced Darter dragonfly. Chartley Moss is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) looked after by English Nature. Access to the site is by guided permission only as it is a dangerous "Quaking Bog" or Schwingmoor; a mat of sphagnum moss and partially decomposed vegetation overlying an underground lake, in places 30 meters deep. In places, the vegetation mat is too thin to bear a human's weight. The White-faced Darter is now found in only a handful of sites in England but is more widespread in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The individual in the photo is quite newly emerged and hasn't yet got its full adult colouration. The pale, yellowish-green "face" will soon turn pure white.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Bluebell detail
(Canon EOS 60D, Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS @ 220mm, 1/160s @ f/8.0)
Another beautiful day tempted us out to Consall Nature Park for an impromptu picnic. I was looking for Dragonflies and Damselflies while there and did see a solitary male Large Red Damselfly, but, naturally, by the time I had the camera ready it had gone! So I took some photos of the spring flowers instead and was really pleased with this one.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lathkill Dale - A Walk

In Lathkill Dale
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17mm, 1/320s @ f/7.1)
At last! A glorious spring day. I took a walk from Monyash to and through Lathkill Dale, one of the most beautiful of the Derbyshire Dales. The following set of photos chronicles to walk.

The Bull's Head in Monyash is the start  (and a welcome end!) to the walk. It is of typical White Peak construction having limestone walls with some gritstone as lintels and corners for strength.
The village cross, on the green in front of the pub, dates from the 13th century. Monyash was granted a charter for a weekly Tuesday market in 1340 and for an annual 3 day fair.
The top of Lathkill Dale. At this point the valley is dry, devoid of a river or stream. This will change as we progress through the dale.
Cattle graze peacefully on the lush spring grass at the top of the dale.
The limestone outcrops through the turf frequently. I think of this as "the bones of the earth".
Ricklow Quarry where once decorative limestone was mined. The limestone, rich with fossils, was polished and used in furnishings.
Early Purple Orchid growing on the steep grassy banks above the dale. Rather than walking through the bottom of the dale, I climbed up to the northern edge and walked high above the valley for some superb views.
Above Ricklow Quarry looking east along the line of upper Lathkill Dale.
Looking back towards the top of the dale and Monyash village.
The dale winds its way to the east. There is still no sign of the river Lathkill.
The cliff on the right is called Parson's Tor. The name comes from one Robert Lomas, vicar of Monyash, who in 1776 fell to his death from the cliff while riding home in fog. His horse survived.
 A side valley, Cales Dale, branched off. We will later be leaving Lathkill Dale by way of this valley.
Another view looking east along Lathkill Dale. The name comes from the old Norse Hlatha-gyll meaning "barn in a narrow valley".
One of the stiles along the valley top path. This one had a nicely shaped and very handy post to help me over.
Looking away from the dale, here is one of the many sheep farms on the limestone plateau, this is Mill Farm.
A steep descent took me down into another side valley, unnamed on the OS map, with a green lane leading down to the River Lathkill.
The valley is quite heavily wooded at this point, and from here further downstream.
Looking up the green lane in the side valley.
Getting close to the River Lathkill at last.
The River Lathkill passes over many small rapids and weirs on its way down to join the River Wye near Bakewell.
One of the many small weirs.
The banks of the river have many flowers including these Forget-me-nots, Red Campion, Bluebells, Ladies Bedstraw and others.
Remember the shot of Cales Dale from earlier? Here is the footbridge that is to take me across the river to leave Lathkill Dale.
Looking up river from the footbridge. The stream is much smaller here, only a few hundred meters from its emergence from underground at Lathkill Head Cave. During the summer the river can disappear completely and run underground for a considerable distance.
This attractive plant in Cales Dale is Meadow Saxifrage Saxifrage granulata.
The path climbs out of Cales Dale to join the Limestone Way long distance path and pas through One Ash Grange. The grange was once a place of punsihmentt for wayward monks from Roche Abbey in Yorkshire. This interesting row of pigstys still has the stone feeding stations at the front of each sty.
A small cave at One Ash Grange has been made into a Nativity scene. Perhaps a little out of time in May.
We now cross some very good pasture land with contented cows "as far as the eye can see"!
The dry limestone walls divide up the parcels of good grazing land on the plateau.
A walled farm track leads back down to the village of Monyash.
Fere Mere, seen here, is the only remaining one of five ancient meres which provided a supply of water to the village. The natural meres were reinforced with clay bottoms to assure a supply of winter during the dry summer months. This is the end of our walk. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Canada Goose

Mother Goose and her Eggs
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)
A brief stop at the Brittania BS fishing lake in Leek led to me being warned off by this Canada Goose and her mate (out of shot). They had eggs to guard and were letting me know that they would stand no nonsense! I guess that the eggs had been pretty freshly laid as the grass had recently been mown including the area with the nest.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Marshes Hill

Looking West from Marshes Hill
(Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 10-24mm @ 10mm, 1/1250s @ f/7.1)
Marshes Hill is an isolated 6ha piece of heathland near Knypersley Pool. The main plants covering the heath are Gorse, Bilberry and Heather. Heathland was once extensive in this part of Staffordshire but now only a few isolated remnants remain. The tiny dots visible in the sky over the gorse are now dust spots, they are St Mark's Flies Bibio marci. This shiny black fly hangs lazily in the air, its legs dangling, in the weeks around St Mark's Day (25th April), hence its name.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Consall Hall Gardens

Pretty as a Picture
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 25mm, 1/500s @ f6.3)
Consall Hall Gardens has been progressively landscaped over the past 53 years by the planning of one man, William Podmore OBE. Mr. Podmore is an enthusiastic landscape photographer and doesn't claim to be a gardener. The landscaping has been done to provide a series of "perfect" vistas from various points around the gardens. This view was taken from the "Camera Obscura" and shows the Folly and, in the distance, the Cottage. All the buildings, seats and shelters together with six lakes have been incorporated into the gardens to enhance the views. This is all the more remarkable because the garden was developed on the site of former coal and ironstone workings. The gardens are very well worth a visit and are open on Sundays and Wednesdays from Easter to October.

Saturday, 5 May 2012


Sheep and Twin Lambs
(Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, 1/400s @ f/6.3)
Ewe and her twin lambs near Alsop-en-le-Dale in Derbyshire. This photo was taken yesterday while we were on our walk starting from Alsop-en-le-Dale via Parwich and Tissington in the White Peak area of Derbyshire. The 6.5 mile walk was more than enough for my wife, Lyn, but only a warm-up for Button, our dog!