Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Can You Imagine?


Gerry posted a comment on a previous post

Competing with all the others for our little place in the sun, our little time.

It got me thinking, her comments often do. A favourite pass time of mine is trying to imagine how the landscape might have once looked, be that before the Industrial Revolution, the Enclosure act, the Ice age, or even just a week last Wednesday.

Up on top of Combs Moss, are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, (I was surprised how little I could find out about it on the Internet.) But it doesn’t take much imagination to know it must have a cold draughty place to eek out a life, but maybe they didn’t live there year round

Iron age hill fort-2

in the photo above the buff coloured grass is growing in the gully between the stone ramparts (now grassed over) that formed the forts defences, on a clear day they could have seen for miles and miles, there’d have been no drystone walls of course, or the reservoir that was built to feed the arterial system of canals that transported the goods from the cotton mills to Manchester and Liverpool, during the early years of the industrial revolution.


In some directions the view will have changed little over the centuries


( you can’t rush the growth of a peat bog, it takes centuries; but you can trash it in days)

Although as the area was later to become a royal hunting forest I imagine there might have been a few more trees than are to be seen today.

Certainly, there would have been no Rural District Council

Chapel en le frith 1-2

In Chapel en le Frith

Chapel en le frith-2

nor would there have been the Parish Church,

Chapel en le frith 6-2

That went on to write it’s own dark history.

In 1648, 1,500 Scottish soldiers, taken prisoner by Cromwell at the Battle of Ribbleton Moor, were locked in the parish church for two weeks, before being marched to Chester. When the doors were opened, 44 men were found to be dead. This gruesome episode earned the church the title “Derbyshire’s Black Hole.”

Stay a little longer and look at the view, the buff coloured grass is growing on the hill fort remains; the weather was a little different the last time I visited

Coombs Moss Hill fort 1-2

Coombs Moss Hill fort 2-2

Coombs Moss Hill fort 3-2

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

11 thoughts on “Can You Imagine?

  1. I’ve spent many a happy hour imagining what my location (from motorway to childhoom home) would have looked like Before. And then I wish I could go there. Thanks to your magical way with words and photographs, I think I just did.

  2. I am simply blown away by your pictures. Each one is so stunning, its amazing. What a beautiful area. The way you captured each perspective makes me want to visit this area to feel its pressence even more.

    If we really want to know what a place used to be like, I believe we can access the feeling and perhaps even in our minds eye see what it once was. We just need to put the intention out there.

  3. Good pictures Uphill
    The peat bog issue is a difficult one. Lots of areas of moorland peat have dissapeared. Certainly parts of Kinder have been devastated. The hills are becoming more popuar as time goeson and I wonder if we will ever see areas fenced off.

  4. Great photos as usual. I have the same joy of imagining earlier times, it gives a contrast to our own time, and helps the understanding of many things.

  5. Sitting here in a city, surrounding by brick and concrete and planning my escape, it is so refreshing to have found your blog and to view your wonderful photographs. I’ll be back for a proper long read soon.

  6. As I like to say, deforestation can be beautiful. Imagine how different the hills looked ages ago and forested.

  7. I like the way you’ve sequenced your photos. Especially where you use the road sign to lead to the church. You’re very well connected (and as an English teacher like to see that!)

  8. You found a spot where you can see a long way. Suppose that a lonely sentry sat there one misty morning, imagining his way into our time as we found our way back to his. So many footsteps crossed the moor. Then the mist cleared, he shook his head, laughing at his own fancies, and went to find his breakfast.

  9. Pingback: Bands of Gold | Uphilldowndale

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