May is my most favourite month. All the fresh green foliage delights me and the temperatures are usually perfect for walking.
Last week however, we suddenly had a heatwave. On Thursday my walking group was due to do a nine mile local walk. Somehow I just could not face all those flat miles through arable fields, with little or no shade. So I decided to give it a miss.
Mum was more than happy to go on a day trip onto Derbyshire, where the temperatures were forecast to be a little cooler and I could do a shorter walk while she painted and sketched.
An hour's journey brought us to Ashover. If the name seems familiar that's because I came here with the family only a few weeks ago. I liked it a lot and wanted to explore further. Since this area was originally mum's suggestion it seemed only fair to bring her :0)
We turned off the road about a mile before the main village and found a shady spot by a pretty stream.
Mr Robin was enjoying this cooling place.
And mum was happy to sit and paint. I put on my boots and arranged to meet her in Ashover village it's self in an hour and a half.
It was early afternoon and I did wonder about the sense of this steep climb.
which got steeper.
I was very happy to see this woodland appear.
There were lots of these wooden bridges, which did not span streams.
But chasms that looked like old mine workings.
A little higher I emerged into a quarry area. It was no longer in use and looked like a great haven for wildlife these days.
I loved the hilly backdrop.
Soon I was walking downhill again and looked at a map I had printed out. My map reading is rather hit a miss. Last week it was more miss than hit.
I thought I was in the path in the centre of the photo, by number 162.
until I spotted this impressive house. Oh, it must be by Overton Hall.
I re-orientated myself and looked for a path on the right. There it is.
It was such a pretty and easy walk at this point. I loved the cow parsley and the stone squeeze stiles.
And I loved the buttercup meadows.
Here I was not sure where the path went but I knew I needed to climb up hill, so I took a chance on this track.
Ah ha...success. And welcome shade.
I climbed through more pretty woodland then emerged into what looked like another disused quarry. It was hot here, with a steep climb and no breeze. I walked slowly. Stopping to drink.
There were lots of tiny white flowers. You can see some on the left in the photo above.
I found a great site to help with identification.
I discovered it's called Spring Sandwort, and it is listed as being rare .
As I climbed higher the views opened up again and I saw a cyclist who complained of the heat.
Us Brits are rarely happy with the weather are we :0)
I was happy to be in such a beautiful spot at this lovely time of year. This old chimney, which was nearly obscured by trees, caught my eye.
As did this "graffiti" ...nice font, I thought :0)
Just look at that view.
There was still more uphill to do and the path was tricky but beautiful on such a lovely spring day.
I was climbing up to Cocking Tor, once again I was guessing the wrong path though...ooops.
I was happy to be ascending these rocks rather than descending.
After a while I emerged into open fields.
Here I am, clutching my map and feeling very glad of my sunhat.
And then was thrilled to see a mass of bluebells still in flower. They were stunning and such a treat when I thought Bluebell season was over for this year.
after a bit I looked for the path again. It was not here.
Maybe it was along the cliff edge.
There was masses of invasive Rhododendron here and I could see where some brave people had hacked it away a little. It must have completely hidden the view.
Did you spot the smiley face? :0)
After a while of carefully picking my way along the cliff edge I was delighted to see Ashover village.
oooh look. It's so pretty and the farmer is busy making hay (or something similar)
On the horizon above the village I spotted the rock that the boys climbed the last time we came.
Then the path sort of disappeared.
I did find great weathered rocks.
and more lovely views.
But I had to admit defeat in finding a new footpath down.
Time to retrace my steps and descend the same rocky path I had climbed up. It was not too bad really.
This bit was worse. Loose gravel threatened to send me sliding downhill on my bottom. Something I was keen to avoid :0)
I was happy to pass the familiar hall and finally know which path I needed.
It was shady and looking at it's best flanked by wild garlic, cow parsley.
and tons of tiny blue speedwell.
this view charmed me.
and the path led downhill through a meadow of buttercups and clover.
and finally, uphill into Ashover.
Which was looking lovely in the sunshine.
I found mum in the shady churchyard where she showed me her painting of that pretty stream. It wasn't quiet finished but I thought mum had captured the fresh greens of May beautifully.
I was glad to cool my hot feet by changing into sandals, and to sit down for a little picnic before we started the journey home.
My getting a bit lost did at least mean this walk was longer than I had planned, and all the climbing must have been good for my heart. If not, the beautiful spring scenery certainly was.
There are still more walks I want to explore around this area...so hopefully there will be a part three to follow sometime :0)