Rime ice on the rushes

On a very cold walk along Stanage Edge today, I marvelled at the rime ice that had formed on the rushes and other vegetation.

Rime ice is the white curst that builds up on the windward side of objects in exposed areas, thereby showing the direction that the wind has been blowing in.



Ancient Estates of the Peak

Last Saturday was a really special day when we led a walk for The Peacock Hotel in Rowsley through the two ancient estates of Chatsworth and Haddon.

In addition to enjoying stunning scenery throughout the guided walk, customers learned about the fascinating history of these two estates.

What made the walk really special was that Lord Edward Manners had very kindly granted us permission to walk through the private part of the Haddon Estate that isn’t normally open to the public.  He had also arranged for us to have a private guided tour of Haddon Hall after a delicious lunch at the Haddon Restaurant.  The staff of the Haddon Estate looked after us really well on the day!

The private part of the Haddon Estate includes the old orchard, and the medieval deer park.  This is a beautiful, very natural looking area of parkland that has largely been left undisturbed for centuries.  Through here, we saw lots of beautiful mature trees, many of which had been planted by different generations of the Manners family.  We saw fascinating lumps in the ground that were massive ant hills (a sign that the land has been left undisturbed for a long period of time), and we were able to look into the abandoned tunnel that the old London to Manchester railway line once passed through.  The estate is managed for conservation and we saw evidence of many initiatives to encourage wildlife, birds and a diverse range of plants and trees.

The photo gallery below shows some of the highlights of the day.


Walking through the private part of the Haddon Estate


View over amazing countryside from the medieval deer park in the private part of the Haddon Estate


Exploring the entrance to the Haddon Tunnel in the private part of the Haddon Estate.  The London to Manchester railway line once passed through here. 


Beautiful trees in the Haddon Estate


Haddon Hall


The gardens at Haddon Hall


Walking along the track-bed of the old railway line in the private part of the Haddon Estate.


Looking down an air shaft into the old railway tunnel in the private part of the Haddon Estate.


The footpath through Manners Wood.


The River Derwent in Chatsworth Park


Footpath through Chatsworth Park

White and purple Ling Heather

Ling Heather in its rare white form

Late August or early September is usually the best time to see heather in flower on the moorlands of the Peak District, and this year is no exception. Out of the three types of wild heather in the area, Ling Heather is by far the most common, giving the moorlands the appearance of being carpeted in purple when in full bloom.

This year on our guided walks, we have been lucky enough on three separate occasions to see Ling Heather in its rare white form as shown in this photograph.

For more information about our guided walks, see www.peakwalking.com

White and purple Ling Heather

White and purple LIng Heather

Meadow Saxifrage 1

Meadow Saxifrage

If you’re out walking in the area of the Peak District known as The White Peak at this time of year (May/June) look out for the pretty white flowers of Meadow Saxifrage.  This plant loves the dry limestone soils of the area and can be seen growing in many of the limestone dales and on the slopes of the surrounding hills.

These photos were taken near Winnats Pass, Castleton.

Beautiful Bilberries

This year has been a good year for bilberries on the moors. The tiny pink flowers appear in spring and are replaced with tasty purple berries as August approaches. They are delicious to eat right up there on the moors, or to pick and take home to be transformed into bilberry and apple pie or bilberry jam.

My mum’s old recipe for bilberry jam is 2 1/2 lb of bilberrys, 1/4 pint of water, 3 tbsps lemon juice, 3 lbs sugar and pectin (quantity as recommended by the manufacturer on the bottle or packet). Simmer the cleaned fruit, water and lemon juice for about 10 – 15 minutes, then add the sugar, stirring until dissolved, boil for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add the pectin and put into jam jars.  Delicious!


The Wild Rose – England’s National Flower

June and July are a great time for seeing wild roses whilst out walking.  These climbing plants can grow up to 5 metres in height and are a common site growing in hedgerows and alongside country lanes and paths.  The wild rose is England’s national flower.  They are usually pale pink but can also be white.  The most common variety is the Dog Rose, but you may also see Field Roses or Sweet Briar all of which have a similar appearance.

The petals have a delicate scent can be scattered on salads, used to make wine, or added to jams and other dishes to add flavour.  The rose hips that appear later in the year are high in vitamin C and can be used to make syrup, tea and jam.

I took this photo yesterday up the hillside out of Dovedale in the Peak District.

Wild Roses

Wild Roses


Meadow Saxifrage in The White Peak

Meadow Saxifrage

Meadow Saxifrage

The White Peak area of the Peak District is fully of beautiful wild flowers at present.  Meadow Saxifrage is just one of many different types of plants that love the limestone soils of this area.

It’s Latin name is Saxifraga granulata and that is linked to its use in years gone by as a medicinal plant.  Granulata means ‘with grain’, while Saxifraga means ‘rock-breaker’.   Going back in history, it was believed that it had the power to break up gall stones and kidney stones.