Walking In Derbyshire

Walk Derbyshire – A walk around Ilam Hall

Tucked away on a bend of the Manifold river, Ilam Hall village was built in the 1820s on the instructions of Jesse Watts-Russell. The original Victorian houses of the village echo the fairy-tale image of the hall, built at a time when skilled labour was cheap. It was also a time when tenants could be […]

Walk Derbyshire – Around Winster

Winster is a haphazard cluster of seventeenth and eighteenth- century houses linked by narrow hillside alleys or ginnels as they are known locally.  They sit in a pattern which suited the lead miners and their families in the hey-day of this now extinguished Peak District industry. The walk follows paths once trodden by miners who, […]

Derbyshire Walk – Elvaston Castle

This walk, around the parkland of Elvaston Castle, is one of my occasional excursions from some of Derbyshire’s grand houses.  Unfortunately it could almost be described as from one of Maxwell Craven’s ‘Lost Houses’.  Financial constraints on its present owners, Derbyshire County Council, make it impossible to fund the necessary £6.1 million needed to restore […]

Walk Derbyshire – Foolow & Silly Dale

There are no records of any simpleton, either in Foolow or Silly Dale; both names come from Anglo Saxon English and have entirely different meanings than in today’s language.  Foolow means multi-coloured hill, possibly a reference to nearby Eyam Edge. Silly is Old English for pretty, an apt description of this little-known dale, especially in […]

Walk Derbyshire – Tideswell, Miller’s Dale and Litton

The history of the Peak District is writ large on this walk.  Starting way back in time when volcanoes spewed out their lavas, the walk enters one of the loveliest dales in the White Peak, but it was where orphaned children were unable to enjoy its delights.  Climbing out of the dale, the way is […]

Derbyshire Walk – Tissington

I had visions of Michael Fish, the man whose forecast about there being no danger of hurricanes, went as his Scots forebears would have put it; ‘gone aft a’gley’.  In my case it was a completely wrong interpretation of the forecast. According to a weather map in the Guardian a day or so before the […]

Restaurant Reviews - Derbyshire

Restaurant Review – Jeera, Crich

An evening of quality Bangladeshi cuisine. “Whoa, slow down Midge you’re going far too fast, you’ll have to explain that to me again” When  people are passionate about what they do, it’s really hard for them not to try to tell you everything all at once.  And all in one breath.  If I was to […]

Restaurant Review – The Hope & Anchor, Wirksworth

Standing proudly on the market place in the centre of Wirksworth is The Hope and Anchor, a grade two listed 17th century stone building. Closed in 2016 but now under new management and with around £100,000 spent on refurbishment, along with a new chef, The Hope and Anchor is now open for business. On their website they […]

Restaurant Review – The Dovecote, Morley Hayes

As the year drifts slowly in to Autumn the chill in the air indicates that it’s time to put away the short sleeve shirts and shorts and consign the thoughts of dining al fresco to next Summer. The longer nights need a cosy atmosphere, pleasant surroundings, attentive service and, of course, excellent food. One Saturday […]

Restaurant Review – An Evening of Tapas at The Denby Lodge

I’ve never been to mainland Spain although I once took a winter break on Lanzorote, the northernmost part of the Canary Islands. That was over 47 years ago. We flew from a misty, sub-zero Manchester on New Year’s Day, before it was a Bank Holiday in England, on a Freddie Laker Airways flight; landing at […]

Restaurant Review – Lunch at The Dragon, Willington

Situated near Bridge number 23 next to the 93 mile long Trent and Mersey canal sits Willington’s original public house, the 150 year old Dragon Inn, serving fine food and quality ales. If that isn’t enough information to get you down there I don’t know what it is that floats your boat! With a population […]

Dining at the Hope & Anchor

Standing proudly on the market place in the centre of Wirksworth is The Hope and Anchor, a grade two listed 17th century stone building. Closed in 2016 but now under new management and with around £100,000 spent on refurbishment, along with a new chef, The Hope and Anchor is now open for business. On their website they […]

Derbyshire Local Interests

Derbyshire Antiques & Collectibles – Thimble Collecting

Thimble is a word used for a small cap to protect the finger for use when sewing, and the name derives from Old English thyma and Old Norse thumall – the same root that gives up ‘thumb’ – and more specifically thymel a fingerstall. The root word really meant ‘swelling’ and words like tumour and […]

The Majestic Oak At A Glance

The legendary Major Oak in Sherwood Forest is reputed to have been the haunt and hiding place of Robin and his Merry Men.   The oak’s acorns have been roasted and ground to make acorn coffee and its bark has been used to make a decoction for medicinal purposes. In the New Forest, commoners have […]

A Weekend Visit to Bergen

With short breaks becoming popular, Brian Spencer takes a two-day trip to Bergen, Norway’s Hansiatic sea-port link with an early version of the E.U. Gateway to the Fjords of Norway’s west coast, Bergen is classed as not only  a European City of Culture, but a World Heritage City and UNESCO City of Gastronomy, as well […]

Taste Derbyshire – Rachael’s Secret Tea Room

‘Good afternoon Ms Volley, your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to drive to a secret location in the lush Derbyshire countryside and liaise with an operative bearing an orange teapot. Should you injure yourself in a rush to get up the garden path to eat buttered scones; the organisation cannot […]

Taste Derbyshire – Charlies Garden

Every so often I get the urge to become a self-sufficient Earth goddess, growing gigantic marrows and making jam from fruit I have nurtured from a pip. Sadly, the only things which get to munch on my apples are worms and, once again, the rhubarb has wilted all over the path. Which is why I […]

The Dahlias of Biddulph Grange Garden

A little way beyond the northern limits of the Potteries, just off the Congleton road, Biddulph Grange Garden is one of those places where each season has something to offer.  It is this special changing of interest and variation of plants looking their best which draws us back, time after time.  This year our visit […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested

Product Test – Boost Your Skin with Evolve Beauty

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Product Test – Elemis

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Tried & Tested – Green People

Rejuvenating Eye Cream  £14.00 10ml A nurturing certified organic night-time eye treatment rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from Evening Primrose, Seaweed, Perilla and Avocado.  Squalane and Aloe Vera provide an instant moisture infusion whilst Baicalin, Green Algae and Tara bush work in synergy for powerful anti-ageing results. Hydrating Firming Serum £19.50 […]

Tried & Tested – Clinique Fit

Life’s a marathon. Look good running it.      Active beauty for an active lifestyle. Every day is jam-packed and full of surprises, look good no matter what you’re doing—whether that’s hiking or heading to Sunday brunch straight from yoga. Introducing CliniqueFit, a carefully curated line of athletic-inspired, high performance skin care and makeup that’s […]

Product Test – Weleda

Try the Natural Approach with Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion 200ml £16.95 The range is specifically formulated to soothe very sensitive skin, calm skin prone to irritation, provide long-lasting moisturisation and reduce that uncomfortable feeling of tightness. Plant oils from seeds and kernels are precious gifts from nature.  The fine almost transparent oil absorbs […]

Product Test – Get The Glamour with Clarins

Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector £18.50 A beautifying lip balm for incredibly irresistible lips. This melting gel lip balm with a deliciously sweet taste glides on the lips effortlessly adding a naturally coloured glossy shine with a barely-there effect. Lips instantly look plump, smooth and luscious. 4 hours of non-stop hydration*: lips look fuller and […]

Lost Houses in Derbyshire

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Langley Hall, Meynell Langley

The history of Langley, just north west of Derby on the road to Ashbourne, is complex to say the least. As a consequence, it is not without its fair share of lost houses, about one of which we have sufficient information to be able to say something about it. The manor of Langley originally consisted […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Romeley Hall, Clowne

At Romeley, one gets two lost houses for the price of one. The early history of Romeley (or Romiley) in the extreme SW of the parish of Clowne, but often erroneously listed under Barlborough, is obscure to say the least, but the first we hear of a capatial mansion there is in 1455 when one […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Devonshire House, Derby

A great friend who is the senior caseworker for the Georgian Group, was asked by the City Council to comment on an application to convert the upper floors of 35, Cornmarket into flats. Our own Conservation Area Advisory committee, which until recently I chaired, had already questioned the applicant’s desire to remove the surviving staircase […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Melbourne Castle

Some castles grew from purely Norman military motte-and-bailey castles, constructed by William the Conqueror’s knights to keep a firm hold on England. Others are later affairs, fortified houses built later in the middle ages or even in the Tudor Age more as symbolic castles than effective defensive buildings. Later still, houses like Elvaston or Bretby […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Mackworth Castle

The stone shell of the gatehouse to site of the ancient seat of the Mackworth family is one of the most memorable sites in the County. Lying only a few hundred yards from the City boundary of Derby, it invariably excites interest from those who see it for the first time, and it has been […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Glossop Hall

The Glossop Hall that was demolished in 1958-59 was an unlovely house of titanic proportions, once set in a spectacular wooded park. Unlovely it may have been, but it had an interesting history and was itself at least the third house on the site, although it probably included portions of the fabric of at least […]

Around Your Garden

Hidden Gem of Food & Drink – The Boot, Repton

Turning the corner onto Boot Hill in Repton, the self-proclaimed capital of Mercia, I immediately thought “I should have arrived on a horse!” Everything seemed to be linked to the past and, in all honesty, I love that. The Boot, a 17th Century coaching Inn, is owned, managed and run by people with a fierce […]

Gardening – Spring

I wouldn’t say that the Winter has been particularly bad, looking back on my gardening diary we had 7ft snow drifts in 2014 in South Derbyshire but I do think it has been a long one. For the first time in 20 years we had snow early in December so after stop – start with […]

Gardening – Autumn

Over the past month the colours in the trees have really started to change, have you got space in your garden for a small growing tree? There are plenty of different varieties that are suitable for a modern small garden – they create a focal point that is evident all year especially if you choose […]

Gardening – Autumn

Wow October already!  It truly has been one of the best years for growing.  With last month’s ‘Indian’ summer along with the warm start to the autumn season this continues to be a kind year to gardeners and more importantly those of us able to be outside enjoying the garden. With the fantastic sunny weather […]

Gardening – Autumn

Last month I was asked to judge Ticknall Flower and Produce show for the third time. The standard was very high again and extremely difficult to judge. I was pleased to see a great effort from the children’s category and an interesting section “Gardening Disasters” which strangely enough made me smile than cry. I said […]

Gardening – Summer

Its always interesting looking back on my diary and what I wrote this time last year in Country Images Magazine. I wrote about how the rain just kept coming and it rotted the Rose blooms on the plants – it just shows that 2 years are never the same and you have to adjust your […]