Uphilldowndale

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


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Magpie Mine

Magpie mine, an ancient and historic lead mine, near Sheldon in the Peak District, here having a bit of a winter solstice type moment. 

Magpie Mine sun flare 2

Lead smelting has been going on in Derbyshire for 3500 years  It a fascinating place,  let me give you a tour round, but let’s take care.

 Magpie Mine Notice_

There is something about the place that doesn’t feel quite right, I think it is the lack of accoutrements to the working life that once thrived here. It would have teamed with life,  there would have been noise, smoke, the rattle of harnesses as horses turned the gin wheel. But now It does feel rather eerie.

Magpie Mine buildings  2

You can almost feel the life it once had but not quite. It’s as though there is a life inside and below that we can never know.

Magpie Mine Back lit window_

Something going on behind these locked doors.

Magpie Mine door

As though the shadow of the gallows frame, might start to turn.

Magpie Mine Back Pit Head Shadows_

Mr Uphilldowndale however is less fanciful than me, he wants me to point out to you, how the lower section of  the chimney in this image is out of plumb* and when a later  brick extension to top has been built they’ve built it vertically, he’s forever the engineer.

Magpie Mine Laning Chimney_

We both admired the tunnel flu to this chimney, now partially collapsed

chimney magpie mine_

we admired the view too

Engine shed  magpie mine_

All around the site are the remnants of spoil from the mine, a bing 

 Magpie Mine Gate Spoil Heaps_

Spoil from lead mines, still poses a problem for farmers, and can kill livestock .  You can often see  clusters of trees, usually with walls around them,

spoil trees wall Magpie mine

the trees to cover the spoil with their roots,  and the walls as an added deterrent to livestock

 trees wall Magpie mine

Nature takes its course though and flowers and plants grow here that can tolerate the toxicity of the soil ‘metallophytes’,

plants such as the nationally scarce spring sandwort (known locally as leadwort) and alpine penny cress, and Pyrenean

survy grass and mountain pansy.

sky magpie mine_

 

*Plumb, did you see what I did there? [Middle English, lead, a plumb, from Old French plomb, from Latin plumbum, lead.]

17/2/16 Edit…   Lost and now found, the link that has to go with this post,  Peak District Mines Historical Society


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Out early, and down the dale

I decided to set out to work early this morning, so I could factor a walk into my day.

I met a bunny before I could get the camera out of the bag

Walk to work bunny_

The majority of the cows were still in the milking parlour

Walk to work cow

There some beautiful bees and colourful thistles

Walk to work bees

It was all rather glorious

Walk to work 2

The walls meandered as much as I did

Walk to work walls

a view down  the dale, Chee Dale to be precise

Walk to work Chee Dale_

I’m still after that elusive crisp wagtail shot.

Walk to work wagtail


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Thirty days wild. June 25th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

I thought this a wall must have been a labour of love, such small slender stones, its not far from a quarry, maybe it was made with ‘free spoil’ that were too small for other tasks? I must take this blog on an away day to the National Stone Centre, its near Wirksworth

drystone wall 2


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A Reflective Walk

Loweswater-3

I’m not doing very well at posting, after my promise. Not to worry, I’ll get there, it may take a wee while to find my  blogging mojo. I’ve all sorts of adventures stacking up ready, just waiting.

I mentioned whilst the fell race was on, I took a stroll along the shores of Loweswater, en route I stopped to watch the fish, suspended in pools of sunshine, seemingly motionless in the flowing water, it is easier to see the shadow than the fish itself.fish river

I admired a handsome doocot*

doocot 

And look, a fine drystone wall and gateway, becomes something quite magical, by the addition of an over arching span of  Cumbrian slate.

stone arch

I listened to the cows, with their methodical munching and tearing of sward, they may get bad press from time to time, and deservedly so, but I’ve an affection for them.

cattle

In the wood, foxgloves  swayed and cow parsley effervesced in the scattered sunlight.

foxgloves in glade_

At the waters edge, I found a swing.

swing @ loweswater_

I had a go at finding my inner child, but concluded that the child needed to concentrate on having a good time. Play on the swing, or take photographs, it isn’t wise to try and combine the two. I have the bruises to prove it. 

selfie @ loweswater_

*it is 23 years since I lived in Scotland, but some words stay with me in  the Scots dialect, swithering, dreek, and poly-poke are a few of my favourites.


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Land of Snow and Ice

A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).

April snow -1

There are lanes  that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared  of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.

Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that.  On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.

Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday

Spud Joe and Trees-1

Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.

mine shaft -1

My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old  mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead.  It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.

Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.

mine shaft 2-1

* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.


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The Village

The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.

Image for The Village

I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.

The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910

Home sweet home-2

I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but  that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.

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