Once a Quarry……


Padley Gorge, Grindleford, Derbyshire

When  walking round our county of Derbyshire, you are always walking through our industrial history.  Here at Padley Gorge, in what is now a Nature Reserve, surrounded by high Beech Trees, spralling Oak and spindly Silver Birch, it is hard to visualise that this was once a busy quarry.

Millstone Grit was rough cut on site, a major center for mill wheels and grinding stones. Often called an open air factory, it must have been a place of endless activity.  Then dramatically the market collapsed, as progress and an improved method of manufacture was developed.   But even then the Gorge was restless,  quarrying was resumed for Gritstone Blocks used in the construction of the nearby Derwent Reservoir Dams.


Most signs of the Quarry workings have vanished beneath the undergrowth. Today its a tranquil gorge, in spring is full of birds, the woodlands providing acres of great nesting sites.

Please Remember ….

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

19th December

(C) David Oakes 2020

Behind the Stable Doors……


Calke Abbey Stable Block, Derbyshire

Hiding behind this Stable Block is a once grand Stately Home.  Grand it may well have been, but for me it is this Stable Block that always attracts me.  It is of course much more than just a Stables.  As part of what was a working estate, there was a Blacksmith, Tack Rooms, Butchery and much more….  it must have been a hive of industry.

Enter through the arched central doorway…  Turn right and you have the Stables for the Squires Horses.


Turn Left and you have the Carriages and Traps from yesteryear.


It is a building full of character. Far from utilitarian in its construction, full of stylish detail, including false doorways to give architectural balance to the frontages

 Exploring old estate building like these, you do gain just a little flavour of what life and work once was like . No doubt tough and hard….. but much better I think, than many of the contemporary workplaces and even some of todays factories.

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

18th December

(C) David Oakes 2020

The Workhouse….. a Compassionate idea, one that went badly wrong


Southwell Workhouse, Nottinghamshire

Southwell Workhouse, once known as the Great House, was built arround 1824.  It was created to provide secure accomodation for those homeless, out of work and in poverty.   Food and safe accomodation. In return those  living in this ‘community’, had to pay for this ‘care’, by way of collective work, including growing the community food.

It was a tough regime for those living in the Workhouse.  The sexes where separated, kept well apart. A uniform was the clothing and children kept within the female area.  Schooling was provided.

The aims may well have been charitable.   Workhouse’s became widely  adopted as a social institution.  But soon the Workhouse was a name that became, not just hated, but feared by the poor.  Tough conditions for the workhouse community got tougher,  a result of exploitation and harsh treatment, by many who ran these Workhouses Institutions, creating an environment, a long way from its original Charitable aims.

Please Remember ….

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

3rd December

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Frosty Canal Walk…. just right for a November Morning


Shardlow on the Trent & Mersey Canal, Derbyshire

Nearly the end of November and winter appears to have arrived.  Mist and frost to welcome in the morning…  but also a sun determined to burn the mist away quickly.  An ideal day for a walk along the canal.  The Trent & Mersey Canal, as the name suggests links the River Trent on the Derbyshire Nottingham border, here in middle England, with the River Mersey and the Industrial North West.  From Shardlow to the Mersey it is some 93 miles. It was once a major highway for goods, now it is a leisure waterway and part of the National Canal network.  Today though it was quiet.  CV19 restrictions have temporarily left the waters still….never seen them so calm.  But on with the walk, join us on a stroll from Shardlow Basin to Derwent Mouth.

The start (or end depending upon direction of travel) is at Derwent Mouth.  It is a wide expanse of water.  Here the Derbyshire River Derwent, that has flowed down from high in the Peak District, ends it journey, entering the River Trent as it heads eastward to the North Sea. It is also here that the Trent & Mersey Canal has its junction with the two rivers.  A series of Locks are used to maintain the water levels in the Canal and to enable it to rise above the river flood plain. 



There is a bridge that straddles the River Trent.  A sweeping Metal contraption.  It is called ‘Long Horse Bridge‘.  The clue is in the name…..  the barges, that used to ply their trade along the canal, were for many years Horse Drawn.  Todays bridge is a new addition, the original (and in my view) and much more attractive Long Horse Bridge, was lost some years ago in floods. 


A real bonus day, not sure what tomorrow or indeed the weekend has in store for us weather wise…..  so I hope you enjoyed this weather bonus.

Please Remember ….

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

26th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

Wordless Wednesday….. 11th Hour, 11th Day of the 11th Month


Armistice Day.

The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month

Pause for thought… this Wordless Wednesday


Please Remember ….

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

11th November

(C) David Oakes 2020