Shillito Wood & Eastern Moors
We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny and warm day and began by walking down a quiet road with gorse bushes on our right before tarmac gave way to a grassy path and a poster nailed to a gate gave instruction and information – “Keep your dog on a lead as from 31st March to 31st July there will be basking adders, displaying skylarks and ground nesting curlew.” Sadly we didn’t see any of these even though we were peering into crevices hoping to see a snake.
We walked a path through moorland which stretched for miles around, the heathers dull, dry mounds dotted about. In the distance we could see a small gathering of brown cows before we crossed over the A621 and followed the path above Bar Brook and over the Eastern Moors. We could hear birds chirping in the heather around us, but had no sight of a skylark or curlew.
We arrived at a pond and Julie remarked that the last time they had been there in January the water was frozen over and people had broken the ice and were swimming there. A mother duck with four ducklings was spotted before we turned our attention to the path ahead and saw that the cows with calves, which we had seen earlier, were now standing in our way, with one cow bellowing aggressively. With a certain amount of trepidation, we walked towards them and managed to get past without incident. A young couple were waiting to see what happened to us, before deciding to chance it also.
We walked towards Bar Brook Reservoir and onto a tarmacked road with the moors still enveloping us, and came across a 6ft tall stone (a guide stoop) with a finger engraved and pointing in one direction “Sheffield”. The wording on the reverse was indistinguishable due to erosion. Beside it was another stone, lying on its back with the inscription “This place is neither here than there, so choose the road out or the long road to home”. We chose “the road out” as that was the direction we were going anyway.
Suddenly the views opened up as we re-crossed the A621, climbed a stile and entered a valley enclosed by trees. It was very muddy down there and we had to stride from one side of the path to the other to avoid the mixture of sludgy muck, but we did see a white butterfly and patches of bluebells and wild violets. After what seemed like miles we reached a grassy, dry path which rose towards the road and led us back to the car park.
Thanks to our leaders, Julie and Steve for a walk that involved a sudden rush of adrenalin (cows) and aching calves (mud) and was hugely enjoyable because of the warm weather.
Please notice that on the next 5 mile walk on Sunday 4th June we will be gathering at the church gates at 4pm with a packed lunch, flask and suitable walking gear. Transport can be arranged and if anyone wishes to join us you will be made most welcome