Spring is slowly coming to the Derbyshire Moor’s. Sun cutting through the Silver Birch on this fabulous sunny spring day….. a joy to be out and about.
As always, any visit to Stanton Moor has to include time to visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle… despite having the moors virtually to ourselves, we could have predicted, that there would be someone using the ancient (and to many a sacred) monument, as a place to sit and today to text.
But for us this sunny spring morning, it was also a morning to take ones time… even just to stop and stare..
Yes, it is a Monday, but this Monday wasn’t moody.
We hope you have also had a good Monday but don’t forget…
Once upon a time…… we enjoyed the freedom to roam, at will. Two years ago to the day we had just past the Spring Equinox. So off to Stanton Moor we headed, to pay our respects to the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. It does seem so long ago, a different world.
Stanton Moor is not a location that is that far away from us….. but too far under the current Covid Lockdown restriction.
There are suggestions that rules may be eased in mid April maybe May. I do hope so. I am not looking to dash off to the far corners of the country and certainly not abroad…… just to be able to have the freedom to broadened our horizons that little bit further afield.
Even when that freedom arrives, we will need to exercise care to avoid returning to square one… so
20th August and we woke to sunshine and blue skies….. what a change from the past weeks or so. Days of low damp mist at best or heavy rain and thunder at worst. August is approaching its end, so if we wanted to enjoy the late summer Heather on the moor, we had best take advantage of the day on offer.
Many of you will recall that Stanton Moor is a favourite location, not too far away, yet providing the wide open moorland vistas and feeling of remoteness we enjoy.
Mid to late August is Heather time on the moors. 5 weeks ago when last here it was just the bracken giving the colour, whilst the heather was still brown, looking less like flowering than a dead twig. But what a difference.
Head up through the Oak woods that surround the Moor, climb a sandy path and wow the purple Heather is a joy to see…
Hiding (well sort of) in the middle of the Moor is the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. Surrounded by a plantation of Silver Birch it is a magical place. As always we just had to pay our respects. Luckily we had the Circle to ourselves, so time to stand and allow ones mind to refresh…. it always works like magic….
So after a respectful pause, it was off , back through the Birch Woods, now rustling in a breeze that was starting to stretch its muscles, may be another change in the weather was on the way.
On the slopes that surround the Moor, the weather has obviously had an drastic effect for the local farmer. Rains have stopped his ability to bail up the field, that he had started to harvest. The adjoining field was flattened by yesterdays torrential rains…will it recover enough to harvest, I guess it depends of the next few days and the hope of some calmer weather…
The Tale of The Cork Stone….
No, Jean is certainly not going to climb the Cork Stone. Many folk have and many more will no doubt do so again. The local folk legend is that Lads from the villages of Birchover and Stanton would climb to the top, declare their undying love for a local lassie they were wooing, then jump from the top. If they landed safely it was a sign that the lad was worth keeping. If he broke a leg, arm or worse, then the lassie could walk away and leave him to his fate.
Nowadays, not many who climb the stone actually jump…obviously none believers or just cautious!
A great August morning, If we don’t get back in the next couple of weeks, at least we have seen the Heather for this season. Mind you autumn will be here and that changes the Moors appearance once again..
But for today…some more memories courtesy of the Nine Ladies
The Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor… OK not as big as Stone Henge but for me just as magical… a place of solitude with a spiritual feel. But not today. People everywhere, so no picture of the Stones today.
As followers of old will recall, Stanton Moor is one on our favourite places. The Moor may not be the largest in Derbyshire but is distinctly different. True, you get great expansive views over Derbyshire, mainly the White Peak but also glimpses of the Dark Peak in the far distance. You do get a feeling of being on top of the world. Stanton Moor is though different is so much as it is surrounded by trees, trees on the lower slopes but also surrounding the Nine Ladies. To be fair, apart from the campers and hordes at the Nine Ladies, most of the moors were deserted…… just as I like them.
Even on a day like today you get a cooling breeze on the top but head to the Birch woods and you find the shelter with the sun dappling through the leaves..
So that was today…. But in one months time the Moor will look very different. That brown heather will turn to Purple with a distinctive and powerful Bee attracting scent. One more reason why Stanton Moor acts like a magnet… when it is much more like this August view from last year…
Stanton Moor is also only a 40 minute drive from home….an easy to get to location, a complete change of scene. But we haven’t visited since the beginning of February. This strange world we now live-in, had made this trip impossible. Even when restrictions were eased, locals were not encouraging visitors to their ‘safe’ location. We respected that. There have been more easing of travel restriction so off we went.
It really did feel strange, only 40 minutes away, but you felt as if you were starting on a venture of exploration to a far off land. Nor did I feel very comfortable heading for the moors. Maybe that was because my normally solid confidence, has been dent by becoming all too familiar with the surroundings immediately round home. It was indeed a shock to see so many people at the Stone Circle, not all acting with respect…. just hope they leave it neat and tidy.
It was a strange feeling, hard to explain, maybe best summed up by saying that once we were home again, I felt as if I had been very brave! Daft I know.
Now we wait for the Heather…and then that will be really something worth venturing to Stanton for…..
We arrived early at the Nine Ladies. There had been a sprinkling of snow, enough to give ground cover but not enough to drape the trees. The morning sun was still low casting long shadows and a mist hung in the Silver Birch. The silver/white trunks of the Birch contrasting with a clear pale blue sky. To me it suggested a scene for Black and White.