Walk Diary Wednesday 14 March 2018 Weather 8°C. Blustery.
Ashover C.P. Depart 10 a.m. 7 ¾ miles Leader: Gerry White
No. on walk 30
Another great turnout on a fine, but blustery day, the weather forecast predicting temperatures of around twelve degrees, but I don’t think we ever got anywhere near to that sort of figure. Again, another day when more than one group started from the same location, four groups in all, another about our size and two smaller ones, as you can imagine we filled every space in the generous sized car park.
Ashover parish covers quite a large area and includes many small hamlets. We like walking here because the area always seems well cared for, waymarking and paths, usually in good condition and good signage around all the many roads and lanes. Most of this is down to a good local parish council and indeed to some local volunteers, whom we have met on previous occasions, working on clearing footpaths, their work and that of others can be clearly seen when walking through the parish.
The groups of walkers, left the car park one behind the other, heading towards the parish church, but before we had gone fifty yards, we left the road and took the path up to Farhill, walking through a cut, walled on either side including a couple of tunnels and steps at the end, brought us out next to Eastwood Grange, now a school for children with special needs. After a very few strides we turned to walk up towards the top of the Fabrick hill, where a great grit stone rock stands. We didn’t go straight to the highest point, instead we circled right to the lane and then made our way up to the trig point from the north east. This area was once owned by the Bassett family, yes liquorish all sorts fame, but descendants gave it to the council for the enjoyment of all. Beside the trig point there is a topograph, useful as much of the surrounding area can be seen from this high point.
We went back to the road and continued west passing Appletree Knoll, taking the first path on the right to Long Lane, stopping midway for our first break. From Long Lane we walked directly north along the road, eventually to cross the A632 at Spitewinter, turning south along it. Over the brow of the hill taking the path by Bank Farm, stopping for lunch by Alicehead Farm. With lunch over we continued on, by crossing the Alicehead Road then to the muddy Dryhurst Farm. At Buntingfield Lane we turned towards Ashover, following the Lane down to Brockhurst Farm from where we continued on into Kelstedge, recrossing the A632 and then the B6036. Marsh Brook, usually only a trickle, was flowing at full force as we passed over it on our way to Marsh Green. We reached the road near to the chapel in Ashover and then made our way back through this delightful village to the car park. By using many of the small lanes and byways our leader had kept us away from the worst of the wet and muddy areas, so we were pleased that our boots were still relatively clean on our return.
Today we saw and heard our first Skylarks which was great and with our eyes still skyward, Lapwings, Crows and a lone Kestrel were also viewed. One of our keen bird watchers also pointed out a Meadow Pippet in the hedgerow. So nature is now readying itself for spring, Crows can be seen building their nests high and this, the old wives would tell us, means that we will have a good summer! On the way back into Ashover, some stroked the head of a Donkey who had come to the gate to have a look at us, perhaps another reminder that Easter is almost upon us, with Palm Sunday less than a couple of weeks away.