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


Glorious Week

My what exceptional warm and sunny weather we have had this week. I’ve been zipping about all over the place.

Here is a quick snap of Cressbrook Dale, I’m shamed to say I’ve never walked it. 

Cressbrook dale_

And the view back towards Wardolw Mires,  with some nice limestone features in the foreground

Wardlow Mires_

Wardlow Mires is home to a quirky pub called the Three Stags Head, its many a year since I’ve drunk there, but the reviews would suggest, all its charms are still intact ( just don’t ask for a gin and tonic, you’ll be shown the door. Its a real ale sort of place).

Last week I ate cake, this week I baked cake. We had a lovely time this morning with a belated Macmillan Coffee morning, here at home. Spud the dog had four hours of people willing to throw a ball for him. He was ecstatic.  He is now exhausted.



Theories Welcome.

In a bit of a dash between dental appointments and a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning, I squeezed in a couple of photo stops.

Well who could resist? It’s near Wildboarclough, Macclesfield Forest.

Macclesfield to Buxton_

There is a lovely little holiday cottage, just around the corner and a cosy pub.  what could be nicer?  (Doug’s Dad should take note… )

Then, chasing the light, I zipped  off down towards Derbyshire Bridge, the light was too fast for me. But this caught my eye.

I’m not sure how best to explain, the terrain is rough moorland, peat and heather, as you look at the next photo, you can perhaps see (or imagine) how there is a clough, or gully, running from the  ‘10 o’clock’ position towards the centre of the image, where it opens out into a boggy area, full of rushes, I’d expect the rushes to look like the swath of bright green in the centre of the image, 

rushes flat 3

but something has laid them flat, like a thatch, a surge of  water maybe? Or a vortex of wind? its a very exposed place.  It did make me think of crop circles.  Maybe at a certain point in the year, the rushes need a lie down?

rushes flat 4

Come along dear reader, what do you make of it?


Other Routes are Available

I’m not a fan of the A515, if I can find an alternative route I will.  Especially if it is as photogenic as this,

High Wheeldon_

It’s taken near High Wheeldon 

I was returning from Hartington Wakes Show, which had a lovely atmosphere, and is set in a beautiful location. I even bumped into my geography teacher from secondary school, he was fresh out of university back then, and now he is retired…  don’t know how that happened, it doesn’t seem so long ago that I left school.

Vintage tractors, horses a plenty.

Hartington 6

A sheepdog herding ducks, and ladders for every occasion, not sure how you are supposed to get them home.

Hartington 5

Prize livestock

Hartington show

Of all sizes

Hartington 3

A glowing produce tent (my Chinese lanterns, never even flowered, only just surviving the slugs). 

Hartington 7

I wonder what the farms of the future will look like for these young competitors

Hartington show 3


Tour of Britain

Stage Six. Far from the maddening crowd; less atmospheric than  watching in the villages I suspect, but an  impressive cavalcade non the less.

I made my way up above the road know locally as Long Hill, for a birds eye view. It was blustery but warm and fine, which was just as well as in my haste I’d left my boots at home, and I’d had to tip toe across the fields in girly shoes from where I’d parked my car.

Tour of Britain. The wrong shoes

I watched a bit of traditional hay making while I waited (you can see we were a select bunch of spectators)

Tour of Britain  Hay making_

Some beautiful clouds skit by

Nice clouds_

I mused on how the road has changed over the centuries, you can still see the old road, snaking its way up through the centre of this image.  A steep and difficult climb for horses and stagecoaches.  That was superseded by the first toll road in 1780 built by John Metcalf of Knaresbourgh Yorkshire, known as Blind Jack

Long Hill 2

The road now sweeps along with the contours of the valley.

Long Hill_

At last they came,

Tour of Britain 3

and went

Tour of Britain Long Hill 4

in a flash!

Tour of Britain 4

It’s a spot I must return too, another day, there are grand views in all directions.

Tour of Britain Long Hill 6


Taddington Moor High Mere

Taddington Moor High Mere looked nothing like this when I stumbled upon it today. I was on one of my pre work diversions again, I thought I might be in with a chance of mist mantled hills, punctuated by field barns or piercing church spires. But I simply couldn’t get above the cloud that has superimposed the inversion mist I’d hoped for.

Never mind, the beauty was in the detail.

Scabious seed head


Rosebay willow herb

rosebay willow herb 2

There were so many beautiful flowers, but it was the cobwebs that stole the show.

web four_

Here soggy  thistledown has caught in the web

soggy down_

web one_

I’ll go back another day in search of the view

what no view_

It only took until lunch time for my trousers to dry out….


Hope Show

I was out and about at Hope Show yesterday, an agricultural show in the glorious Hope Valley.  The weather could have been finer,  but people weren’t going to let a little rain dampen their day.

Hope show

After all, it is a day off from the usual chores.

Tractor Hope show

It’s always great to see young people being so proud of their livestock.

Young handlers Hope show

working really hard to show them at their best,

Young handler 2  Hope show

It takes team work.

My little pony Hope show

A winner  eats it all.

Winner eats it all  Hope show


Working with Nature

We’ve been visiting this part of Devon for many years, having our summer holidays here for the last 14 years; with each passing year we’ve noted the village of East Portlemouth  struggled to keep its community vibrant (no criticism intended, we know  a committed team work hard at many events) but the fact is there are less villagers and more holiday homes,  as an older generation passes. Indeed Mr Uphilldowndales aunt N was one of that community

So it was very exciting to see (and hear)  a new vibrancy to the village that has been brought my new tenants of the farm that wraps itself around the village, the aptly named Village Farm. The farm has lain unworked for a number of years and now its not so much being worked, as nourished, regenerative farming ;  delivered with an infectious enthusiasm and acres of passion.  I could try and describe their work, but I couldn’t do it as eloquently or a knowledgably,  So I’ll send you to the website of Village Farm,  do watch the video.

They use a method of grazing called ‘mob grazing’ a large number of animals, sheep in this case, in a small area of land for a short period of time, you’ll have to believe me if I tell you there are 800 in here somewhere…  happily and noisily munching away.

Village farm 10

Here they are coming down the village, with resident neighbours willingly mucking in with traffic and sheep herding (no dogs were used)

Village farm 7

They can move at quite a pace

Village farm 8

A view from the other side of the estuary gives an idea of what’s involved, this field, which will house the Field of Light, later in the year was grazed over three days

Village farm 11

Then it was time to move on to pastures new, with the sheep back off up the village again.

Village farm 3

The photographs on Village Farm’s facebook page are gorgeous, the sort of work that oozes from knowing your subject, field skills and, as mentioned,  acres of passion .

(We can’t wait to see the pigs next year).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 517 other followers