A Woodland Walk to mark the Passing of April


The last day of April.  The coldest, driest and sunniest on record (at least in our part of the world).  The sun shone again, so off to Shipley Woods to see if Spring has really arrived.

Since our last visit 2 weeks ago, when the Beech trees were bare, they are now coming into full leaf.  Their ‘spring’ green leaves starting to form a thick woodland canopy.  It is a place of long shadows and intense spotlights of sunshine…… and that unique woodland aroma of spring. The perfect day and just right for a gentle potter.


The woodland Daffodil of the last visit have now all but vanished.  Instead the Bluebells have started to make their presence felt.  Not the full blue carpet yet, but not that far off.  They have to be quick,  once the woodland canopy casts it shadow, they will also vanish till next spring…. such a short life.


One surprise was the first sighting, this season, of a Rhododendron Bloom…..  OK. only small blooms – but the first of the season.


As we headed for home, passed the gate and started to glimpse the meadows beyond where the sun shone even brighter..

It is May tomorrow.  Spring is here….  but the sun on the meadows seem to say that summer will not be far behind


A green and pleasant land…. that’s Derbyshire

Goodbye April… hello May….. but do…

Please Remember ….

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

30th April

(C) David Oakes 2021

This is what a November Day should be like….. Frost, Mist and Golden Sunshine


A Golden Glow in Shipley Woods……  but a lingering mist across the fields..


The early Frost cleared and that late autumnal sunshine was just the encouragement that some folk needed to pause and enjoy…

The Beech Trees gave us colour, the Chestnuts gave us strange skeletons reaching for the sky.  Long shadows from the low sun adds to the woodland mystery… so join us on a leisurely walk through the woods….on a day like today there is no need to for haste….

There was a bonus to the morning.  The Lodge Tea Rooms were open.  In these Lockdown days, it was of course ‘take away” only…. so two coffee’s to go please.

_DSC9403_00035qqq  So a pause to enjoy the view over this placid area of Derbyshire countryside.  Shipley Woods is part of the much larger Shipley Country Park.  The woods have been there for years, part of a one time private estate.  The Country Park was created over the last 50 year.  The land you see in these two views would once have been over Pit Heads for Coal Mines and the industries that coal supported.  In more recent times after the collieries closed, Open Cast Mining took over.  Now, along with the Park that is built upon reclaimed ground,  the Open Cast areas are returning to nature, it presents a very different view….if you didn’t know better you would have thought it was always like this…


    The Mist lingered long into the day, a perfect backdrop to the Oak that has yet to agree that autumn is on the way…


But we will let the autumn colours complete our walk…


By the time we returned home, the weather front that we could see creeping over the horizon, now started to look like a real winter evenings sky.  Hope you enjoyed the walk….it could be the last of the real autumn walks…. so not a bad one to complete the season…


As always in these troubled times…

Please Remember ….

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

6th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

Making the Most of the Sunny Weather…….


A sunny start to Sunday.  As the forecast for the week ahead is rather grim, we though it wise to take the opportunity to get out and stretch the legs.

You must keep reminding oneself, that it is really October, nearly halfway through the month. Yet, it is warm, sunny and the Derbyshire countryside is still lush green and, in some ways, very much like summer.   Even the woods seem reluctant to put on their autumn clothes.  True, there is some autumnal colour to be found on the edges of the wood, some leaves are now much more transparent,  but within the wood the canopy still cast a dark shadow over the woodland floor.



A bonus morning…one that was completed in the woodland cafe at the old Derby Lodge….  Hot Chocolate adds that finishing touch of perfection,


then it was off back to the car.


Whatever the weather this week, wherever you are…

Please Remember ….

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

11th October

(C) David Oakes 2020

Change is in the Wind…..


A Spreading Chestnut Tree, heavy with leaf, leaf that is ever so slowly changing colour.  The leaves that have fallen are autumnal, those in much of the canopy still various shades of green.

September 22nd.  The sun shines bright, and being noticeably lower, casts long shadows. A warm breeze and it’s a perfect morning.  With a weather forecast, for the remainder of the week making grim reading, this morning was an opportunity not to be missed


Shipley Woods was the destination chosen……  quiet, calm, and high above the surrounds, make it a wonderful place for Buster to run and Jean and I to just take a leisurely stroll….


But even here you cannot escape the reach of Covid 19.


We did love this seasonal sign to the Old Orchard…..


If the weather does indeed turn grim, we can be content knowing that we didn’t waste another fabulous September day.

No matter the weather…..

Please Remember ….

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

22nd September

(C) David Oakes 2020

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