A Sunny Day in the Dale…..

Lea Rhododendron Gardens

A warm sunny summers day by the River Bradford.   The river flows, below a stone clappers bridge, through the Dale of the same name which lies deep below the Derbyshire village of Youlgreave.

Sunny, shade and bubbling water a great venue for a leisurely walk.

Wherever you choose to walk this weekend…

Please Remember ….

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

30th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

Felt like being on Holiday….


The River Trent at Derwent Mouth, Derbyshire Nottinghamshire Border.

It is only 15 miles away.  The sun shone, fair weather clouds graced the blue sky and it was comfortably warm, just as a summers day should…. and after a rather damp spring and early summer this was a bonus day. Destination was Derwent Mouth.  It is here that the River Derwent ends its journey from the high peaks of Derbyshire and now merges with the larger River Trent. They then both continue their journey to the Humber and then vanishing into the North Sea.

It looks tranquil today, but the new “Long Horse Bridge” is substantial and was built to replace the original Long Horse after it was washed away in floods.

It is also here that engineers back in the mid 1700’s started to construct the Trent and Mersey Canal.  From this point the Canal starts its long journey linking this part of the industrial Midlands with the industrial North West and its Sea Ports, on its journey passing through the Potteries and Mining and Mineral areas.

Today the traditional style Narrowboats of the canal waterways are mainly leisure craft, though a growing number of folk are choosing to ‘live aboard’ in preference to a permanent house.

Not many Narrowboats on the move this morning, but we did pass a group of Paddle Boarders, who having navigated the canal were heading for the River Derwent….  Paddle Boarding seems to be the next water sport trend.


The engineers who constructed the canal network did survey and plan to find the most level route for the water to flow.  Not always possible, so when levels change a system of Locks were built. These acted as water lifts to allow boats to move from one level to the higher or lower level.  The first Lock on the Trent and Mersey, is Derwent Mouth Lock and is there to keep a permanent level in the canal, which at this point is higher than the river,  whilst catering for rise and falls in river levels.

From the visual calm of the rivers the canals are in places, full of a colourful canal side life.  Makes any canal walk one that is for ever changing but always interesting… and this morning it was no different.


This walk is not unfamiliar to me.  It is only a couple of months since my last visit.  The current CV climate had, to a great extent, put a break on activities. It did though seemed much more like a grand adventure, not of discovery but a re-awakening of memories……  and of course the weather was a big bonus.

It did indeed feel rather like a holiday !  🙂

_DOI6418_00060A necessary maintenance barge awaiting the call to duty.

Restrictions are easing, but infection rates are again rising here…. but no matter where you are, as always….

Please Remember ….

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

9th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

As night falls…. a change


Late Evening, the Quay, Blakeney, Norfolk

It had been stormy, but they do say, that as the tide changes the weather can and often does change. This particular evening the tide began to recede and indeed a calm came to the evening…. even the sun tried to make a late appearance through the slowly thinning cloud.  All became strangely still.

All may be calm but….

Please Remember ….

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

6th July

(C) David Oakes 2021


A Day in the Garden…..


Dorothy Clive Gardens, Staffordshire

Not our own garden, but one that we have visited regularly over the years.   Our Covid restrictions have eased a little (not sure for how long) so we took advantage of the sunny weather and headed across to Staffordshire, close to the Cheshire and Shropshire borders.  We knew that it would be a safe environment.  It is just a little remote and there is plenty of space, so little chance of any overcrowding.

Dorothy Clive Gardens are a rather special mix.  We think they are at their best in the spring / early summer.  Rhododendron and Azalea blend with Herbaceous borders and spectacular Laburnums….. all surround by some magnificent woodlands.  Lots of dark dells, spacious lawns and borders, and Alpine bank.  In past years the variety seems to merge seamlessly into each other.  I have made mention before that this Spring and now early Summer, have not been following the usual cyclical time scale. This season time spread is evident here.  The Alpines, normally full of colour are yet to show in any meaningful way.  Rhododendron are dropping petals like confetti and the herbaceous borders, at this moment are dominated by Alliums. The good news is that everything is a lush green with a promise of much to come….. and still lots to enjoy today

So join us for a walk round the gardens..   

The bonus is a rather nice Tea Room.. So we enjoyed our first Cream Tea for over 18 months.  Rather nice, but being honest, the disposable Covid cutlery, plates and cups rather take the edge, indeed the magic, off the English Tradition of Afternoon Tea in sunny garden. Still yummy, but miss the china – but paper will have to do!

Still a great sunny summers day out…

Please Remember ….

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

10th June

(C) David Oakes 2021

Summer Part One comes to a Wet Conclusion


The first Sunday in June,  our brief flirtation with summer has come to a wet end.  Rain that looks set in for a while…..how long that ‘while’ will be is anyone guess.

Stay dry and….

Please Remember ….

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

6th June

(C) David Oakes 2021