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

Thoughtful Thursday…. A Touching Tribute


Ilam Cross, Derbyshire

At the crossroads in the middle of the tiny Derbyshire village of Ilam, is this rather fantastic memorial cross.  It is  intricate in design, built in the Gothic Renaissance style….  I am also told that when first constructed it also had a spring of fresh water for the benefit of travellers.

The connection of the cross, with the village is simple. The village lies within the shadow of Ilam Hall.  Owned by the Russell family and later, by marriage and name change, to the Watts-Russell family.

Mary Watts Russell was the wife of Jesse Watt-Russell and this is his tribute to his wife who died, at the age of 48, in 1840

The wording on a nearby plaque says it all

Memorial on Cross

Understandably it is often called an “Eleanor Cross”.  It is not, but the styling is so similar.

“Eleanor Crosses” of which there are 12, were built on the instruction of King Edward I.  Again it was a tribute to his wife, Queen Eleanor.  in 1290, the King and Queen were on their travels in the North East of England.  It was whilst on this ‘Procession’ that the Queen died. The body of Queen Eleanor had to be returned to London for burial in Westminster Abbey, a long journey.  Each night on the journey they paused.  King Edward decided to mark these special night halts where the coffin rested, by the erection of a series of memorial Crosses.  So between 1291 and 1295 this line of crosses were constructed, all intricately sculpture..  

Ilam Cross is very much in tune both with the style but also the poignant and lasting Memorial to a lost wife.

I am sure that there have been, and will continue to be, many personal tragedies in this strange times we live in.  

So Please Remember ….

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

29th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

#TreeSquare (7) …. The Shepheard’s Bridge

Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

The Shepheard’s Bridge on the side of Howden Moor, in the Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire.  A lone Silver Birch stands guard over the bridge that straddles one of the source tributaries of the River Derwent.

Another post for the :- –The shadow of a tree – The life of B (beckybofwinchester.com) #TreeSquare

Where ever you are…

Please Remember ….

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

22nd July

(C) David Oakes 2021

Thoughtful Thursday…….


Magpie Mine, Sheldon, Derbyshire Peak District

The buildings at Magpie Mine are a protected monument, a tribute to its mining history.  Deserted and ruined but they still seems full of life, a life long gone.

Every visit to this lonely spot high on the Derbyshire Limestone Peak District, I always stop and ponder.  I try to imagine a busy working environment with harsh conditions both above and below ground.

Derbyshire has been linked with Lead Mining for a great many centuries.  It was lead that attracted the Romans to Derbyshire.  A great deal of Lead mining occurred in this general locality since then.  But for Magpie Mine its historical records appear to start in 1682 with work on what became know as the Shuttlebank Vein. There were in fact a number of Lead workings in the immediate, Magpie Mine, Dirty Red Soil, Great Red Soil, Maypit and Horsesteps…. all becoming known simply as Magpie Mine.

It wasn’t until 1840, and a new owner, that modern equipment was added in the hope of great productivity and of course profit.  Much of what we see today, dates to that period of the mines history.

Trying to imagine those times, and all those centuries of labour before, is hard.  No doubt lots of stories to be told.

There  was though one in particular.  A major dispute in 1833, resulting in a murder charge that followed the deaths of 3 miners whilst underground, but that is another long story.

There are no ghost stories that I am aware of, but when you walk through these Mine buildings,  I often have a feeling that the spirits of those miners walks with me.

Please Remember ….

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

15th 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