A Walk in the Woods…

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From the Derwent Dam we walked a little further down the long, narrow valley to the lower reservoir. The river still flows, mingling with the waters that flooded the valley and drowned a village.

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The water is higher than it was on my last visit, but even so, there are traces of the past, hiding just below the water if you look.

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While you might dismiss some of the stones as being part of the dam construction, there are places where it is evident that once there were homes and fields here. It is a strange feeling to look out over the water and the fanciful might imagine the ghosts of the past in the deep.

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Spring green banishes such thoughts… tiny white oxalis star the grass. Drifts of pink cuckoo flowers and forget-me-nots form a pastel carpet, and everywhere there are bluebells.

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The great swathes of blue are past their best now, yet it is a still a magical sight to see them fill the woodland shadows with the colour of a summer sky.

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There are other kinds of magic in the woods, making it a wonderful place for small children. A mole looks out from the undergrowth. Old logs have been transformed into sculpted mushroomsand  bug hotels.

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Small seats had been created, as if for Goldilocks’ hosts and a train of logs. Little ones would love it.

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My favourite piece, though, is an oak leaf bench, supported on acorns, bearing the only slug I have ever wanted to get close to.

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Around the dead trees transformed into art, the whole valley is fairly bursting with life. The touch of new green and flowers are everywhere, even on the apparently changeless evergreens.

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It isn’t just the greenery either. The reservoir is home to a large avian population and smiling mother ducks wander the car-parks in search of crumbs for their broods, while proud fathers look on.

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Trying to photograph the ducklings, I was struck by how efficiently camouflaged they are. It is almost impossible to get a clear shot as, the moment they move, the lines of their faces and bodies blur and their shape disappears.

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There were other birds too, as well as the innumerable ducks. Shady corners held feeders and nesting boxes. Finches were everywhere, though it was not always easy to spot them amongst the leaf-litter as they competed with the ducks .

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Nor were the birds the only things flying that afternoon. The changeable weather, that went from sunshine to cloud and back, seemed to confuse one small creature and we watched the aerial antics of the bat for quite a while.

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As the afternoon wore on, we headed back towards the cars, stopping for ice cream on the way at the little kiosk and watching the birds. It had been a lovely interlude, but we were still far from our destination.

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Even though time was getting on, there would be time for another stop on the way to Stockport, so, agreeing to meet in Castleton, we regained the cars and headed west…

 

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