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by PaulS

A Walk With Paul & Allison. A Canal Canter.

July 29, 2012 in Local Walks With Paul & Allison by PaulS

As you all know we have a tremendous trail in our area. The Erewash Valley Trail Stretches from one end of the valley to the other and uses both the Erewash Canal and the old Nottingham Canal to good effect. This walk takes in a steady five mile of the trail starting from The Riverside Retail Park in Ilkeston.

Park opposite the retail park on The Ropewalk and turn left onto Station Road. Look for the steps on the left heading down to the Erewash Canal.

Once down to the canal turn left and enjoy the level surfaced path.

There’s lots of wildlife to enjoy as you wander down the canal. Coots, Moorhens, Mallards, Dragonflies and even Grass Snakes can be seen along here.

You’ll pass plenty of locks on the walk. This one is Potter’s Lock.There are some lovely species rich banks to the canal as you wander along.

Continue along the canal until you reach the Gallows Inn pub.

Turn left onto the road here and walk down towards Furnace Road. Cross Furnace Road and look for the footpath sign heading towards the railway line.

Head up the path and cross the railway bridge. Sorry Colin, no trains today!!

Once over the bridge cross the metalled track and head up to the Nottingham Canal.

When you reach the old canal turn left and continue down the Erewash Valley Trail.

Did you remember to bring your pond dipping kit?

There’s little water in the canal along this section but there are some interesting features that remind us we are on an old canal such as these old locks.

There’s still lots of wildlife around. Dragon and Damselflies, Grey Herons and even Turtles can be seen along here. There’s some excellent interpretation boards to let you know what might be around.

They did use some dodgy photographers though ;)

Once past a car park on the right the canal fills with water and you get some wonderful views.

This is the junction with Robinettes Arm.

Continue left along the canal passing several wooden bridges and crossing a metalled track.

This is the section of canal behind the old ski slope.

Carry on along the canal and then drop down to Cossal Industrial Estate. Cross the Bridge over the road and rejoin the canal.

The stark of the industrial estate is soon forgotten with views like this.

Follow the canal, crossing the Awsworth bypass until you reach Newtons Lane.

Head down Newtons Lane until you reach one of the worlds great rivers, The Erewash.

Take to path at the side of the river and head towards the viaduct. Look out for Banded Demoiselle in the summer and over-wintering waders later in the year. Once at the viaduct take the small path towards the train bridge.

Cross the bridge and turned left on a good path and follow this back to the erewash Canal.

All that is required now is to follow the canal all the way back to where you joined it, just passed the retail park. look out for the steps just after the road bridge, go up them and you’re back on Station Road. Walk down to The Ropewalk and back to the start.

This is a very easy walk with virtually no uphills. It’ll take a couple of hours at a steady pace or as long as you like at your pace. Just get out there and enjoy what’s on offer in our beautiful valley!!

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by PaulS

A Walk With Paul & Allison. Kirk Hallam, Stanley & West Hallam.

March 25, 2012 in Local Walks With Paul & Allison by PaulS

Not much need for the flask and coats today. A beautiful spring afternoon, perfect for a walk in the country. today we;ll take you on a five mile stroll from Kirk Hallam to Stanley, on to West Hallam and then back to Kirk Hallam.  This particular walk is literally started from our doorstep but for non locals head to Kirk Hallam and park near the children’s play park on Wyndale drive. Look for the footpath sign in the left corner of the field.

Head up the left side of the field until you reach a stile in the hedge.

Once over the stile head across a series of fields on a well defined path. There are good views over West Hallam to Shipley Park and back to Ilkeston.

At this time of year there are lots of flowers starting to emerge. Dandelions, Daisies and one of my favourite Common Speedwell.

Look out for Skylarks, Greenfinch, Brown Hares and Buzzards as you head over these fields. You’ll soon reach a farm. Head through the edge of the farm buildings until you reach a narrow track. Cross this and head towards the conifer plantation.

The path carries on on a well defined track with more views across the beautiful countryside.

The conifer plantation has thrown up Goldcrest before and Greenfinch and Chaffinch are very abundant in here. The path crosses a couple of hedges and heads towards Cat & Fiddle lane.

You’ll need to walk down Cat & Fiddle lane for a short while until you reach Rose Cottage on your right. look to the left and you’ll see this bridleway.

Once through the gate turn right and head towards the stile in the hedge.

Once over this stile you turn left and follow a path through a really nice wetland habitat.

Lapwings have been seen here and bred a couple of years ago too. The path can be a bit boggy here in winter but no such problems with this dry spell. Continue along the edge of the wetland until you reach the stile next to the small brook that feeds the wetland. look out at this time of year for Goats Willow blossom.

Once across the stile head along the right hand side of the brook towards the pylon. Keep going across another stile until the path starts to drop into the plantation and eventually reaches a bridge that crosses the brook.

Cross the bridge and head along the left boundary until you reach a gate at the back of the cemetery. follow the track to the road in Stanley village.

Walk towards the church and beyond until you reach the bend in the road. Head up the path on the left hand side towards the playing field.

Walk along the left edge of the playing field and cross the stile at the end. Follow a good path until you reach the old railway cutting.

Take the right hand path when across the cutting and head up the right hand side of the next field.

Walk up this field until you reach a stile. Cross the stile and head towards the pylon.

Head towards West Hallam on the path across the field but don’t cross the stile. Instead head right down the left side of the field until you reach the White Hart pub. Here you cross the road and head down Beech Lane into the old village.

As you head into the village you’ll pass St. Wilfreds church and the war memorial outside.

A little way passed the memorial is the path that takes you back to Kirk Hallam.

Head down this track as it reveals some lovely pastoral views.

Cross this stile and head across some big grazing pastures. This area is good for Brown Hare, Fox and Lapwing. Follow the pasture edges across a couple of stiles and a small water crossing until you near the old railway line. follow this to the left until you reach the bridge.

Once under the bridge turn left over the stile and head to the farm and the track beyond. At the crossroad of tracks take the path straight on (running parallel with High Lane and Straw’s Bridge).

Follow the right hand edge of the field with the brook on your right until you reach a stile with a metal bridge. This is a good spot for Water voles. Cross the bridge and head across the rough pasture. If you like your moths this is a fantastic spot with many varieties here including Chimney sweeper.

When you reach the end of this rough ground you’ll come out into Kirk Hallam next to St. John Houghton school. Walk up the road and then turn right onto Wyndale Drive. Follow this until you reach your car.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this walk. What we like about it is you go almost instantly from suburbia into some fantastic countryside. There are many options for lengthening the walk if you wish. You can either extend it into Shipley Park or venture further out towards Morley. All in all a great day out, whichever way you choose!!


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A Quick Stroll around Ockbrook With Paul & Allison.

March 11, 2012 in Local Walks With Paul & Allison by PaulS

In between gardening, car washing and other general chores we decided as it was such a nice day we’d have a stroll around Ockbrook. There are loads of paths in the area and an all day walk is not a problem. This however is a very steady jaunt to introduce you to the area. It’s only a couple of miles long so isn’t to taxing for anyone. There are a few stiles to climb but the terrain is easy.

All images are taken with my new Nikon S6300 compact. They are straight out of the camera and have had a crop and sharpen, no more.

Head out of Ilkeston on the A6096 passing Kirk Hallam. A little way past the Bartlewood Lodge turn left towards Ockbrook. When in Ockbrook turn left into The ridings (first left) and around 100 yards down this road park in a little layby, on the left, on the right hand bend.


Head up the path towards Fields farm.

You’ll soon se a stile on the right. Take this and follow the path across two fields keeping Fields Farm to your front left.

Keep going past the farm and into a field used by South Derbyshire Saddle Club for equestrian events. Watch out for the horses if there’s an event on! Head towards the right hand side of the plantation then follow a path diagonally across a long narrow field.

This is a great spot to see Buzzards. There are no fewer than 5 in this area and last year they nested in this plantation. Follow the field looking for a stile on the right.

Cross the stile and follow the boundary around the far side of the field. There’s a nice view of Hopwell Hill from here.

The field you walk around is good for Hares and they can be seen quite often here. At the end of the field head into the plantation in front of you.

When you exit the wood walk diagonally uphill across the next field. Look to the left though, into the plantation, as the Buzzards often perch here. It’s also good for game birds around here. When you reach the end of the field turn right onto the track along the left side of the next field.

This little field has revealed Fox before now as well as Hares. Continue to the trees you can see in the distance. looking for the marker post.

Turn right here but do stop to take in the view. It’s a belter from here. There’s also a good chance of seeing Fallow Deer.

Continue down this large field until you reach the track at the bottom.

Turn right onto the track but stop to check out the interpretation board. It tells of a Roman settlement that was excavated here some years ago.

You might want to check the view behind you too!

Walk up the lane but keep an eye out for a track of to the right. The hedgerows here are great for Yellowhammer.

Continue up the lane passing a farm on the right which is good for Swallows in the summer. Keep on the lane until you reach the allotments and a footpath on the right.

Walk across a very well manicured field heading back to Ockbrook. Look out for those Buzzards again! You’ll reach a little bridge over the brook at the end of the field.

You’ve just go one more field to cross now and you’re back to the layby you started from.

As I said this isn’t a taxing walk but can be extended easily. It is however a very pleasant walk and offers good opportunities for spotting wildlife.

If you need any more information just drop me a line.



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A Bash Around The Beacon.

December 29, 2011 in Local Walks With Paul & Allison by PaulS

Firstly thanks to Jim, Allisons brother in law, for sorting this walk out. We’re heading out of the Erewash valley for this walk and driving half an hour down the motorway for a walk around Charnwood forest and Beacon Hill country park. Most of the paths are permissive so don’t appear on the map. They are however clearly signposted and easy to follow.

Walk length…App. 7.5miles

Time…Allow a good 4-6 hours.

Terrain…Well surfaced paths, some mud in places. Moderate climbs.

Start/Finish…Charnwood sports ground, Loughborough.

Come off the motorway at jct 23 and head towards Loughborough. At the first set of lights turn right onto Snells Nook Lane. Carry on to the next lights and turn left. Where the 40mph becomes 30mph look for a sign for the sports ground on the right and turn in here. Ample parking can be found at the end of the road.

Start by walking towards the sports pitches and follow a well surfaced path until you reach a right hand turn in the path.

At the turn head uphill towards the Outwoods. Don’t forget to look back at the views over Loughborough and beyond.

Carry on uphill until you reach the Outwoods. These are the remnants of some of the oldest woods in the country and records of management go back more than 500 years. Walk straight on from the gate (the carved seat and info board on your left) and walk through the woods, with Jubilee Wood on your right, until you reach the major road.

(the view back through the Outwoods).

At the road turn right and head downhill until you see this gate on the left hand side of the road.

Go through the gate and follow the well marked path as it skirts the wood, crosses a field then heads uphill over a granite outcrop.

Before heading downhill through a spruce plantation.

When you reach the bottom of the hill look out for a gap in the wall on the right.

Go through this gap and head downhill then curving right until you reach the small bridge over the brook.

Turn left over the bridge and follow the path across a couple of large fields until you reach a path on the left crossing a small brook.

Head uphill here and keep going until you hit a minor road. Look for the gate on the other side of the road.

Go through the gate and head up towards the rocks of Beacon Hill. At the next gate head to the top of the hill.

The rocks here are some of the oldest in the UK, around 600 million years old. Sir David Attenborough used to come here as a young boy looking for fossils. You might be interested at looking at the view from the top, quite spectacular.

There is a trig point and a topograph on the summit. Head for the topograph and then go downhill heading right as you go. Your looking for the well surfaced perimeter track that runs parallel with the road.

Follow the track until you reach this chair then turn right towards the road.

Cross the road, head briefly down the drive then turn left onto the path towards Broombrigg.

Once out of the small plantation head across a field towards the wooded hill in front.

Once across the field follow the bridleway up the hill and then down until you eventually come out in Woodhouse Eves. The hill you’ve just climbed once had a windmill on top (remnants can still be seen). This was where Thomas Cook started his travel company, taking people on carriage rides to the mill.

Turn left on the road and head downhill past the Curzon Arms pub.

This is a great pub to stop and have lunch. Not the cheapest food but certainly tasty and plenty on your plate. Carry on downhill until you hit the crossroad. Turn left and continue through the village to the T-junction. On the way you’ll pass this model of the mill mentioned earlier.

At the junction go straight over and walk up the little lane.

Carry on up this lane until it becomes a track.

As the track enters the wood you’ll come to a junction of tracks near some houses. Don’t bend around to the left but go right dropping a little downhill towards a red brick house.

Go around the house and as you enter open fields look for the path on the left that takes you back into the Outwoods.

Walk through the Outwoods, sticking to the perimeter with open fields to your right. Look out for this rocky outcrop in the woods. See the tree growing up the centre of it.

Not far past this rock you’ll come to the gate where you entered the Outwoods at the start of the walk. All that remains is to retrace your steps back to the sports ground.

A fantastic walk over some stunning countryside and well worth the drive out!!


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by PaulS

A Walk Around Morley.

December 26, 2011 in Local Walks With Paul & Allison by PaulS

We’re blessed to live in a beautiful part of the country and to highlight this myself and Allison are going to post some walks around the Erewash and Amber Valleys. Hopefully these walks will inspire you to get out and explore the area and are designed to be easy enough for most to enjoy. They should also include areas which are great for spotting wildlife. So don’t forget to pack a flask and join us on some fantastic stroll around our beautiful countryside.

The walking essentials. Suitable clothing, footware, food and a BIG flask of tea!!


The Walk….


Start…Park in layby next to DWT Morley Brickyard reserve.

Distance…Approx. 5 miles

Time…Allow 3 hours for a steady walk and between 4-6hours if you intend to stop and look for wildlife.

Terrain…Fields, lanes & some roads (can be muddy in places). Some minor ascents but nothing to challenging. The walk can be done at any time of year. Summer is best if you are planning to explore Breadsall Railway Cutting.

Facilities…Three Horseshoes Pub in Morley (passed at end of walk).

Park in the layby at the side of Morley Brickyard. The walk starts by taking the signed footpath towards Morleymoor but you might want to visit the DWT reserve before you set off.

Morley Brickyard is a great reserve for Dragonflies, Damselflies and fungus.

Follow the path through several fields heading towards Broomfield College. On the way you’ll notice stone walls.

This is almost the southern limit of stone walls in Derbyshire and these several hundred year old features are evidence of how the land was formerly divided up. They are extremely important habitats for many different species of animals, insects and plants. There is evidence as you walk along of some very ancient walls. Look for larger stones scattered within the hedgerows. The route runs parallel to the Rykneld Way, a Roman road, and these stones could date back to this time.

After several fields you’ll enter the grounds of Broomfield Hall.

Broomfield Hall is the agricultural College of Derby University. The path is clearly marked through the grounds and eventually brings you out onto the A608. Turn right here and follow the road until you reach the Breadsall crossroads. Cross the road here and head down to the Breadsall railway cuttings.

Breadsall railway cutting is one of the best sites in the county for butterflies. Over twenty species have been recorded here. It’s also very diverse in flora and fauna and is well worth spending some time exploring if you visit in the summer. Winter can be rewarding for fungus if you look around enough.

Follow the railway cutting until you are directed out back onto field verges. Follow these until you reach a minor road, cross this and head down a well surfaced track with some fantastic views over the Erewash Valley and Morley.

Eventually you’ll come to the Midshires Way. More evidence of stone walls can be found around here.

Cross over the Midshires way and head uphill towards Park Farm. Follow the path past the farm the cross into the field on your left and follow it downhill towards a small plantation. There’s a nice little pond down here that looks like it might be good for invertabrates.

You need to almost double back on yourselves now and follow the well defined path over the field back towards Morley.

You might be lucky enough to see Fallow Deer along this section. There was plenty of evidence of them in the area.

The path continues across several fields on a well defined line (with some nice field furniture to aid your progress) until you reach Morley Church.

When you reach Morley Church turn around and look back over the valley towards Nottingham and beyond. On a bright clear day this really is a stunning view.

So you’re nearly back now. Head towards the school, cross the A608 again and head towards the Three Horseshoes.

This pub does some fantastic food and is ideal if you fancy a pit stop before you get back to the car.

All that remains now is to turn left passed the pub and walk back down the lane to where we started.

Hopefully you’ll have enjoyed the walk and seen plenty of wildlife too.

Bye for now.

Paul & Allison.