THE WALKING GROUP November 2018
Unknown to us, there was a baptism service about to take place at Barlow Church but we just managed to find spaces to park in the car park. People in their finery were alighting from their cars and tripping into the church whilst we hunched down guiltily eating our sandwiches then starting our walk before the guests returned and saw us as interlopers.
We turned left at the main road, then crossed over to pass a derelict stone building, 100 yards past what used to be the George & Dragon (this now someone’s home – not a Co-op).
We walked down a narrow, rocky and very long path which eventually widened and was bordered by mature oak trees, many having ivy clinging to the trunks. According to the BBC Countryfile programme that very evening, our English oaks are being threatened by the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) which was found 12 years ago a mile away from Kew Gardens and was probably imported from the Netherlands. In the UK, OPM is known to be present only in London and some neighbouring counties. It is subject to a government–led programme of survey and management to minimise populations, spread and impacts. Care has to be taken in dealing with this infestation as in humans it can cause skin irritation and asthma. For more information go to https://www.forestry.vov.uk/oakprocessionarymoth
We arrived in the valley bottom before turning left to pass Broomhall Farm and onto the main road for a few yards then followed the bridleway and down a rough gravel path which eventually led us into Linacre Woods at the first reservoir. We kept to the right of this to admire the dramatic sight of the trees sweeping their golden treasure over the green stillness of the water. We continued on to the second and the top reservoirs where we followed a path, mostly near the water’s edge, to reach a wooden footbridge and later another smaller one. A final footbridge over Birley Brook at the top of the reservoir led us again by the waterside, much of it along duckboarding.
There were one or two ascents during this walk including a tough climb up some stone steps, but a handrail came in handy to haul ourselves up by and before long we arrived at the almost empty car park. This was a beautiful walk where we were able to appreciate the wonderful colours of autumn and kick our way through piles of brown and orange leaves scattered beneath our feet, just as we did many years ago,as children.
Steve and Julie Franks have volunteered to lead the walk on Sunday 2nd December. This is an easy 4 mile walk from Baslow and members should meet as usual, outside the church gates at 12 noon.