Over the last week I have seen several patches of Butterbur in flower, usually along river banks in the Peak District. I took these photos yesterday from the Derwent Valley Heritage Way footpath between Calver and Baslow. As with all of the spring flowers this year it is late coming into flower.
Butterbur is a member of the daisy family and has been used for centuries in folk medicine for a wide variety of illnesses. It has been used as a muscle relaxant, and to treat fever, coughs, headaches, wounds, stammering, asthma and stress. Not all these uses are supported by scientific research.
After all that cold weather and snow it is lovely to see some spring flowers starting to appear in the Peak District countryside.
Yesterday we saw some lovely Celandine on a grassy bank near to Hope. This afternoon we passed this patch of Colt’s Foot on the side of Ladybower Reservoir.
The plant gets its name because the leaves, which appear after the flowers resemble a colt’s foot in cross section. In years gone by, the plant was used in herbal medicine, but it has now been discovered that it can cause liver problems so is no longer used.
Our Four Gritstone Edges guided walk yesterday took us past The Eagle Stone which is set back on the moorland just a short distance from Baslow Edge. It is a huge tower of Gritstone with an interesting local custom attached to it.
The age old custom is that before they are allowed to marry, the young men of Baslow have to prove their manliness and fitness for marriage by climbing onto the top of this huge stone. There is no easy way up because some of the higher parts of the stone overhang the lower parts. The village has always had its fair share of weddings though, so plenty must have managed it.
A couple of years ago on one of our guided walks we did see a group of young men laughing and joking around the stone, one wearing a brides veil around his waist. His mates told us he couldn’t get married on Saturday until he had climbed the stone. They cheated though and helped him up!
Our next guided walk along these gritstone edges that will pass The Eagle Stone is our ‘Four Gritstone Edges Walk’ on 9 May that forms part of the Peak District Walking Festival, and then the next one after that is on 18 August.
On a brief stroll though the northern end of Chatsworth Park this morning I was treated to a wonderful view of the deer. A lone Fallow Deer caught my attention first, wandering amongst the sheep. Then not far away I spotted a large herd of Red Deer.
This afternoon, I needed to find a short, easy, low-level walk with some added interest as an alternative to the Dovedale walk that I had planned for a coach party on Saturday. From the look of the amount of snow on the road down to the southern end of Dovedale at present, I decided it was unlikely that a coach would be able to get down there!
My solution? A walk from Ashbourne around part of the area that is used as the football pitch for the annual Shrovetide Football game. For those of you that haven’t heard of this local tradition, Shrovetide Football takes place annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The football pitch is 3 miles long and 2 miles wide. It encompasses the whole of the town and surrounding countryside. The goals are in the river and are 3 miles apart. Lots of local people from the town play the game including men, women and children. The game lasts for 2 days. There are two teams, and it depends which side of the river you were born on as to whether you play for the Up-ards or the Down’ards.
If you would like to know more about Shrovetide Football, then take a look at the official website. Otherwise, simply enjoy the photos that I took on my walk today.
Quite a common site on the high moorlands of the Dark Peak, but maybe not everyone knows what they are?
These are commonly known Devil’s Matchsticks. Like all lichens, the Devil’s matchstick is actually two organisms working together: a fungus and an algae in a symbiotic relationship. The red tips are the fruiting bodies of the fungal component of the lichen. Have a look for them next time you are walking across the Peak District’s peat covered moorlands.
One incredible landscape - three Magnificent walks - Saturday 13 April Love the Peak District? Please help to care for its incredible but fragile landscapes this April and take part in local countryside charity Friends of the Peak District's Magnificent Peak District Walk
Starting and finish at the private and stunning Thornbridge Hall near Great Longstone. There are three magnificent walks to choose from to challenge, inspire or relax you:
If you can get to the Peak District on 13 April, please do take part in one of these fabulous walks and help to support The Friends of the Peak District - a very worthwhile charity that we at Peak Walking Adventures actively support. We hope to see you there on the day!