We set off on a warm, sunny afternoon for our planned “Blackberry Walk” in the New Whittington area; a walk we have enjoyed a couple of times before. On the previous two occasions this walk had provided some unwanted excitement – on the first a set of car keys was presumed lost, then last year one of our party got lost after a comfort break! This year the walk was thankfully uneventful.
Armed with containers we steadily walked uphill out of New Whittington. Within metres of leaving the cars, we engaged with two Shetland ponies eating hay in a field. Across the lane, in a garden, we were enchanted by a friendly, honey-coloured cocker spaniel, surrounded by her six puppies chasing each other round and round. We were asked if we wanted to buy any, but declined, so if any of our readers are interested, the dogs live on Glasshouse Lane.
We continued over Glasshouse Common, admiring the views over Chesterfield. We entered a small wood and walked around the outskirts of a field, recently harvested, and onto a main road, before turning left and walking through Stubbing Wood.
In the next field, dotted with clover and a scattering of buttercups, the brambles had died off but this didn’t faze us as we had a different field in mind for our scavenging. Neither did the sight of a couple with bags of picked blackberries. We arrived at our destination – a bank of plump, black fruit. We took our containers out of our rucksacks and spent twenty minutes picking and eating the berries, all of us hugely satisfied with our bounty.
We continued our walk, crossing fields, passing the thatched 16th century Ash Lane Farm in West Handley, admiring the wonderful views all around us, a beautiful azure sky above and everywhere quiet and calm, with not a breath of wind. The walk continued down further fields, bare after their crops had been recently harvested before climbing back up to cross the B6052.
Continuing down Staveley Lane past Dale Farm we continued on a grassy bridleway bordered by shrubs and trees, we were given a botany lesson by Bob as he picked various leaves and quizzed us on their names – ash, elder, oak and a sycamore which sparked a friendly disagreement. A little later, Steve spotted a hare racing across the field in front of us.
Once past Parkhouse Farm we joined the main road back to New Whittington. The final part of the walk was along pavements, some of them uphill leading us back up Glasshouse Lane to our cars.
If anyone wishes to join us then meet us outside church at 12pm with a packed lunch on Sunday 1st October. You will be made very welcome.
Evelyn Lowe & Steve Franks