Moody Monday……. On the Moor

Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

The Old Sheep Pens on Howden Moor, Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire.  Sometimes idyllic, but for much of the time rather bleak.  The numbers of sheep that graze these moors has been drastically reduced in recent years.  It  took sometime for the penny to drop that these moors were being over grazed.  Now a tree planting scheme is underway on these moorland slopes.

Please Remember ….

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

30th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

Tall Trees……..


” Everything on earth has its own time and its own season “

For the Larch Tree that has to be the end of autumn, when all the Larch Needles drop, and we are left with these tall sentinels.  

Many of you will have guessed over the years, that I do have an affinity with trees…..  and as each season changes and progresses my favourite trees come and go.  Right now it is the Larch.

Everything changes…. but the need for care in these troubled times must still be our priority, so…… 

Please Remember ….

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

26th November

(C) David Oakes 2020


Larch….. and needle drop

Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

Through the Larch and Pine, Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

There is a time in the woodlands, that I think rivals the golden drop of autumnal leaves.   Different in colour and feel, but just as magical in its own way.  Tall Pine with their straight trunks casting equally tall (long) shadows in the low sun, walking below the Larch, whos needles dry, change colour and drop…. they crunch and form a soft carpet as you walk below the now bare tree tops.  Then of course you have to add that distinctive Pine wood aroma…..  Magic Memories are made on such days 🙂

Please Remember ….

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

7th November

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Pleasant Reminder……. Up High


Every so often Facebook throws out an image to remind me of previous events.  The pic above is of Grandson Ewan.  It was taken back in August 2014 (boy he has grown since then).  It is the helicopter that is the other significant reminder.

For it was this weekend 6 years ago that I had a treat of a Helicopter flight.  In truth it should have happened a year previous, and on various other occasions, but as is often the way with pre booked flights the weather has other ideas.


But this time I was off up and away and Ewan was there to wave me off.  This was not just any flight, this was to replicate the Dam Buster Run up the Derwent Valley, the flight those RAF Pilots took on their training missions prior to the German Dam raids.

The Upper Derwent Valley is a real favourite location of mine, but it is extra special in August when the Heather on the moorlands is in full flower.  At ground level you find it fantastic, from above it does rise to a higher level of fantastic. Sorry the images are not pin sharp or as bright as they could be, but in a moving chopper and through a Perspex window it the best I could do….

Hellic--09911qqq-sharpen-sharpen The water level is low but in 2014 it was soon back to full level.  But also notice how steep and enclosed these valleys are.  The dams are hard to find, just think of the skill those Lancaster Pilots had to execute, just to fly even the training missions.

As a bonus for having to wait nearly a year for the flight, our pilot took a detour.  The detour was over another of my favourite places Chatsworth House…..  always spectacular, but from up here you get to appreciate the true size of the House and its Gardens…. The Palace in the Peak.

Now that really was an added bonus…

So Thank You Facebook for the memory reminder….was it really 6 years ago!

Please Remember ….

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

17th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Water, Woodland and Moors


Ox Hey Woods, above Howden Reservoir, Upper Derwent Valley

There was a promise that we would get some sunshine in the northern Peak District of Derbyshire.  So very much in hope we headed for the Upper Derwent Valley.  It is here that the tributaries of the River Derwent flow down from Howden Moors and begins to fill the network of three reservoirs, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower…. from there it flows on down through the county to join the River Trent on the Nottinghamshire border.


The Derwent is quite tranquil today.  A far different Derwent to that which caused severe flooding and destruction all along its course through the county in November and December.  It is also worth recounting that at this same time last year these vital reservoirs were next to being bone dry…yep, bone dry. Nor did the situation improve till autumn this year when the rains returned with a vengeance. The good news is that all three reservoirs are as near full as they can be.

We like the Upper Derwent Valley for its variety.  Woodland surround much of the water and there is easy access to the wild moors that surround the valley on all its sides….a little gem in the heart of the rugged peat moors.


Being January, gone are the greens,  but the browns and golds catch whatever winter sun is going. By the afternoon that sinking sun adds an extra glow to the moors whilst struggling to reach below the trees…and yes, those trees do lean an reminder that winds here can be powerful as they are funnelled  up the valley…


Our target was Herdman Bridge, at the aptly named Slippery Stones. The bridge crossing one of the many moorland tributaries that feed into the Derwent.  Here in the late afternoon as the sun begins to fall below the horizon it is a magical place.  You do feel miles away,  a place that is so peaceful, yet still with the knowledge that this can be a rather wild spot. Always a place to pause and ponder sharing the moment with a lone Silver Birch tree before one heads back down the valley…



By the time we are back on the shores of Howden Reservoir the last of the winter sun is catching the Larch and Pines across the water, another spot with a very appropriate name of ‘Cold Side’…


Not a bad end to a cold January day….. maybe the last good day for a weeks or so if our dire weather forecasts come true…. still no snow just more rain and gales.

But at least we have been able to take advantage of this bonus winters day…


11th January

(C) David Oakes 2020