Eleven people turned up for our walk near Alton which was postponed from last month.
We parked the cars and scrambled up to Ashover Rock where a marker showed us the direction and mileage of various cities, towns and historic places, with Lincoln being the farthest away. Unfortunately, due to low cloud visibility was restricted.
We all settled down to eat our sandwiches before setting off down Brownhills Lane towards Alton. We passed cottages where a grumpy-faced, fluffy, orange cat eyed us disdainfully from the safety of a garden wall. The terrain was rocky on some paths but everywhere was dry and eventually we were discarding items of clothing as the sun appeared and the temperature rose. A sparrow hawk was spotted as we walked across various fields and across someone’s back lawn, avoiding clumps of daffodils; one of the pitfalls of owning a property with a right-of-way attached.
By the time we reached a large, red-bricked house on the crest of a hill, many of us were nursing sore knees, or legs or feet and the prospect of more hills to negotiate was daunting.
We entered a wood, signed ‘South Chesterfield Way’, to see a mass of bluebell plants, but only one or two were showing signs of breaking into colour. This will be a splendid sight in a fortnight’s time. We heard the sound of a chiff chaff, a long-tailed tit and various unidentified birdsong before we left the wood behind us and walked straight ahead and through a metal kissing gate and along the ridge. There were lovely views on both sides.
Before long we were in Britton Woods, also smothered in bluebell plants, not yet in bloom and were entertained by more birdsong, and out into the open once more we spotted four buzzards circling above us.
Even more ascents were climbed, this time on tarmacked roads, before we arrived at Ashover Rock after an exhilarating afternoon’s walk.
We huddled together to decide what time to start the May walk and decided to keep to 12 noon at the church gates as usual. Eric and Helen will lead a walk from Ault Hucknall towards Hardwick. New members are welcome to join us. Contact 206458 for more information.