A Great Start to a great Sunny September Day


Early morning September sun waking up the Derbyshire countryside at Mapperley.  But it was the Shipley Woods that we came to explore.  Whilst they are not far away from home it was back in February when we were last here.  Then it was Snowdrop time and the woods white carpet.  Circumstance around CV19 have rather restricted us.

But now it is September and feeling Brave (yes, Brave!) we headed to the woods in anticipation of some early autumn colour…


There was some autumn colour but not as much as we expected.  Strange as these woods are both further north and more exposed than those close to home, which show some marked autumn colours.  None the less walking through these majestic trees, with some remaining mist below, is rather magical and special…..

Autumn proper is yet to arrive but at least we found our first Conkers of the season…the Horse Chestnut, more advanced than its neighbour the Sweet Chestnut…. despite its spines still playing host to a Ladybird..

The view surrounding the high ground on what is Shipley Woods, does provide some great views over Derbyshire and neighbouring Nottinghamshire..



Looks calm and mellow,  but don’t be fooled.  It is not that long ago that this was a very different landscape.  Mining and related chemical industries was king.  Deep mining first, then to add insult to injury Open Cast mining.  

The mining did leave another legacy.  Here in the middle of Shipley Woods was Shipley Hall.  Built with coal money of the  mine owners, the Hall and its Lodges was once a rather grand affair.  Gardens to match of course.  Economic change found the Hall in new ownership and then (some say appropriately) mining subsidence resulted in the Hall being demolished.  You can though still see the outline of the foundations….  a reminder of a past long gone.



As for the rest of the estate and mining wasteland it has been restored and a Country Park established.  In parts it is still rather bland, but nature does take its time to reclaim its own naturally. 

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

14th September

(C) David Oakes 2020


Summer along a Woodland Path…..


A Derbyshire Woodland Path

A walk along a woodland path takes some beating at any time of the year.  But at this time of the year, when in the middle of August, signs of autumn start to appear….. it is extra special.  Only small signs now, but a reminder that we are heading for the season of ” mellow fruitfulness” .

Not everyone looks forward to autumn.  I have mixed feelings.  Autumn itself is a wonder of nature, packed with colour and rich smells.  But it also a sign that the darker days, often the wilder weather, is only a short breath away.

So enjoy what remains of August……  and also lets hope we get an ‘Indian summer’, that would be a big bonus in this strange year.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

15th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Early Start…..


It was already warm,  the forecast is for another scorcher.  So it was an early start for a “cool” walk in the woods.  Rather good to be out before many other folk arrive to disturb the solitude and quiet….quiet that is apart from the birds who were all in full song.

The other noticeable change from last week is that the sun is already much lower in the sky and also on  this clear morning, showing a hint of  a yellow glow.  Yep, like it or not we are heading towards autumn.  Right now the woodlands are rather green and lush and still have that early summer scent.  Great to be out .




Long dark shadows.  Glades that glow bright and just the barest hint if a breeze

The perfect start to any day.

25c at the moment and set to rise,  so best head home and find the shade

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

8th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Rain is on the Way……


The prediction is for rain, well that is what those who know best are saying.   So as the sun had woken up on time this morning, it seemed like the best thing to do…. get out and enjoy it whilst it lasts.

A  woodland walk took out fancy, so off we headed for Big Wood.  At this time of the year Big Wood is a great mix of Pine, Birch, Ferns and Bracken, with a few Oak for good measure.  The warm sun does bring out those rich woodland smells, the dry leaves under foot crackle,  as you walk though the bracken edged paths.  All rather good and great to lift the spirits.


Late afternoon now and the rain has just started…..   perhaps its  just as well.  The Met. Office is forecasting another of those mini heatwaves,  they now seem to be part of this summers weather pattern   🙂

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

5th August

(C) David Oakes 2020