Walking In Derbyshire

Walk Derbyshire – The Roaches

As a few members of my brood have a nought at the end of their birthdates this year, we decided to celebrate by holding a family get-together.  The venue decided upon was the Mermaid Inn, an old drovers’ pub high on Morridge Ridge above Leek.  Due to the change in drinking habits following the ‘drink/drive’ […]

Walk Derbyshire – Osmaston Park

The A52 Derby to Ashbourne road passes through some of the gentlest rural countryside in Derbyshire.  Tiny villages little changed in centuries sit around junctions of minor roads that wander pleasantly between both ploughed fields and pasture. This walk skirts three of them, one barely bigger than a hamlet; starting at Osmaston, the largest, it […]

Walk Derbyshire – The Four Villages Walk – Brassington, Ballidon, Parwich & Bradbourne

I am indebted to Amber Valley Group of the Ramblers Association, as it is they who first planned this interesting walk.  Despite their good work, especially in producing the excellent leaflet I picked up way back in 2005, regrettably the leaflet is now out of print, but luckily I came across a rather dog-eared copy […]

Walk Derbyshire – Along the Great Nortner & Bonnie Prince Charlies Trails

This short walk skirts the rapidly expanding western boundary of Derby enjoying some of the fine surrounding countryside, and returns by way of the Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk. The Great Northern Railway was once a cross country line from Grantham to Stafford by way of Nottingham, effectively linking both east and west coast mainlines.  It […]

Walk Derbyshire – A Winter Warmer – To Riber & High Tor

This winter’s walk is one of my favourites, both in summer as well as winter.  I can see Riber Castle quite easily from our bedroom window, in fact most of the walk is visible from where we live, high above the Derwent Valley.  I followed the walk on a wintery day last February, when the […]

Walk Derbyshire – Where Izaak Walton Fished – Hartington

Izaak Walton, seventeenth century author of ‘The Campleat (sic) Angler – The Contemplative Man’s Recreation’ would have been familiar with at least half of this walk. The Dove was one of his favourite places to cast a fly, along with his younger friend, the impecunious Hartington landowner, Charles Cotton. They regularly fished the river’s clear […]

Lost Houses in Derbyshire

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Middleton – By – Youlegreave

As is the case with so many other of Derbyshire’s lost houses, the present Middleton Hall, at Middleton-by-Youlgreave, is a replacement, on another site in this case, of an earlier house. Indeed, there had been a manor house in Middleton from a relatively early date, for there had been a domestic chapel there before the […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – The Grove, Darley Dale

The name Alsop (with multitudinous variations of spelling) is by no means uncommon in Derbyshire, if only because it derives from an unique place name, Alsop-en-le-Dale, next to Parwich, just north of Ashbourne. The Alsops had a Norman or Norse ancestor, called Gamel (probably derived from the Latin for ‘twin’- gemellus), who took his name […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Lockett’s House Wardwick, Derby

The Wardwick is, even today, one of Derby’s most elegant streets; in Georgian times it was the bees’ knees as a place to live, despite having Markeaton Brook flowing along the back gardens of the houses on the north side and the Odd Brook as a meandering feature in the pleasure grounds of those on […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Eastwood Hall, Ashover

Ashover is a most interesting, beautiful and large parish in central Derbyshire, situated just south east of the main road from Matlock to Chesterfield (A632). The parish is home to several minor country houses – Eddlestow, Goss, Marsh Green and Stubben Edge Halls, not to mention Eastwood Grange – but also includes a lost house, […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Old Foremark Hall

The estate at Foremark, where once the invading Vikings over-wintered in 783-784, was granted to Nigel de Stafford,a (genuine) comrade-in-arms of the Conqueror and ancestor in the male line of the Stafford, Longford and Gresley families. His family’s later sub-tenant was a junior member of the powerful de Ferrers family, whence it passed through an […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Old Thornbridge Hall – Ashford in the Water

Thornbridge was once part of the estate of the Longsdon family of Little Longstone, who claim a descent (never securely sorted out, but nevertheless highly likely) from Serlo de Longstone living around 1100 and, although the estate was held by that family (latterly spelling their name Longsdon) from the twelfth century until 1790, there seems […]

Derbyshire Local Interests

A Voyage Around the Small Isles of Scotland

This little ditty was taught to us by our Scottish geography teacher many years ago, and because of it, I have always wanted to explore the group of tiny sea-washed islands to the south of Skye.  This opportunity came about when Sheila spotted an advert by a company called The Majestic Line.  Apparently they operate […]


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The World’s Greatest Accidental Explosion

Brian Spencer investigates the worst military disaster to occur on British Soil. The Ordnance Survey map for Derby and Burton on Trent shows a strange feature in the countryside near the village of Hanbury, a little to the west of Tutbury, in Staffordshire. It is oval in shape and obviously deep, but too small for […]

Happy Trails – Riding the railways that turbocharged Derbyshire’s industrial revolution

Derbyshire has done more than any county in England to convert its disused railways into traffic-free greenways for cycling and walking. This route is a variation on the classic ‘trails triangle’ that combines two of the most popular Peak District cycle trails — the High Peak Trail and the Tissington Trail — with the traffic-free […]

From Hen Racing to a Bygone Industry What do you know about Bonsall?

Bonsall is tucked away in an upland bowl, high above the Derwent Valley and seems a place where time has passed it by.  Nevertheless it has been home to a proud group of villagers since long before William the Conqueror’s scribes listed it as Bonteshall in the Domesday Survey. Its early prosperity was based on […]

History of Endurance

In late 1914 the world was threatened by war. Shackleton volunteered to cancel his plans for an expedition and placed his ship at the disposal of the UK Government. The First Sea Lord, Winston Churchill, instructed him, however, to proceed. Shackleton accordingly headed south, but chose to avoid the Falkland Islands, which he reckoned might […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested With Diptyque

Diptyque pays tribute to Mediterranean nature by dedicating its entire summer collection to its inexhaustible source of inspiration for the maison and featuring special illustrations from the young french artist Matthieu Cossé. Summer Essentials collection The Summer Essentials collection pays tribute to Mediterranean nature by dedicating its entire summer collection to its inexhaustible source of […]

Product Test – Weleda

Treat soil, the skin of the Earth, as you would your own skin. Soil, just like our skin, is a living, breathing eco-system. It is the living skin of our Earth. But a third of the Earth’s soil is degraded, threatening animal and plant habitats, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. For over a century, Weleda […]

Product Test – Green People

Feel The Sunshine With Green People Add a little sun kissed glow to your face and body with these luxury products by Green People Our Promise To You Natural & organic  •  Kind to sensitive skin Sustainably sourced ingredients  •  Cruelty-free & vegan Free from ethyl alcohol & gluten For more information and to buy […]

Product Test – Odile Lecoin

This exclusive skincare line is carefully curated to provide maximum results, with minimum effort. The luxurious products contain unique natural ingredients, all of the highest quality, to rejuvenate, nourish and smooth even the most delicate skin.  OR, j’illumine The Divine Cleansing Milk 200ml £35 For clean, soft, supple skin look no further than the OR, […]

Product Test – Bee Bald

BEE BALD®  is a complete line of men’s premium quality grooming, shave, and skincare products and are the exact same kinds of products you are probably using already… just way better! BEE BALD® SMOOTH DAILY MOISTURISER £9.99 Tones and hydrates while working to reduce and prevent the buildup of oil and shine. Fine lines, wrinkles […]

Product Test – Smell Good with River Island Fragrances

Womenswear fragrance fashion Capitals of the World. Inspired by the fashion capitals of the world, Paris, Milan and London, these fragrances have been designed to complement your style, day or night. Leaders, not followers, take cues from iconic cities and push your boundaries. Nothing will complete your looks like a deliciously unique scent.  London – […]

Restaurant Reviews - Derbyshire

Restaurant Review – Kayi Mezze Grill, Mickleover

Experiencing a different culture’s dietary habits really broadens your horizons where the use of ingredients is concerned, some familiar and some not so. Kayi Mezze Grill, named after the owners two daughters, is  based in Mickleover and features a mix of delightful Turkish and Syrian cuisine , refreshingly clean to the palette. But we will […]

Restaurant Review – The Little Kitchen, Little Eaton

On our travels Susan and myself  have eaten breakfast in some very memorable places: an ‘all American’ diner on I50, somewhere near Williamsburg, Maryland, overlooking one of  the many picturesque creeks that litter the shores of  the Chesapeake Bay. In the roof  top restaurant of  the Hotel Bristol, Sorrento, Italy, with its magnificent view of  […]

Food In Derbyshire – Mitchells Butchers

There’s no better way to start the summer than with a sizzling BBQ. Eating Al Fresco, or even under the cover of a garden gazebo outside is a delight especially after enduring a grey and dull winter that seemed to last forever. To make it a truly enjoyable experience, throw away the skinny, dubious cheap […]

Restaurant Review – Chevin Golf Club

Times change and so that means businesses have to adapt with them. Golf clubs traditionally have been a pretty no go area for members of the public but all that has changed at Chevin Golf Club, and their latest development reflects that refreshing approach. Light, airy and up to date with the emphasise on  friendliness, […]

Restaurant Review – The Fishpond, Matlock Bath

Myself and Susan had been invited to sample the Sunday carvery at The Fishpond.  It had been a pleasant mid-day drive through the quieter country lanes to our destination: Matlock Bath. It was a warm Sunday and although the main roads were busy the car parks were a long way from being full. The day […]

Restaurant Review – Denby Lodge

It was a mid-week evening and Susan and myself were out to sample the new menu at the Denby lodge. There’s something homely and relaxed about the Denby Lodge that I can’t quite put my finger on. It feels familiar. The decor helps with its modern, soft palette and mix and match furniture. The staff […]

Celebrity Interviews

Celebrity Interview – Arthur Smith

There are some people you think you’re going to like even before you speak to them. Anyone who’s written a memoir called My Name Is Daphne Fairfax sounds a fascinating character and Arthur Smith lives up to expectations. When I rang Arthur to talk about his upcoming show in Derby, I didn’t interview him; we […]

Celebrity Interview – Andy Hamilton

Andy Hamilton is holed up in a hotel in Ireland. A week’s holiday with his wife Libby has turned into a fortnight because both have caught Covid. But he assures everyone he’ll be fine for the start of his new tour in Nottingham. He has managed to avoid the virus for two years and describes […]

Celebrity Interview – Patrick Kielty

The future of Britain after Brexit, national identity and political upheaval don’t appear to be subjects that would have you guffawing with mirth. But these are the themes that Northern Ireland comedian and television presenter Patrick Kielty has chosen for his new stand-up show Borderline which will visit Nottingham next month. While he’s primarily known […]

Celebrity Interview – Steve Backshall

Explorer, naturalist, television presenter and writer Steve Backshall has dived with sharks, been hunted by a polar bear and gone on expeditions to parts of the globe that have never been explored before. So what is he afraid of? His answer may shock you: “I’m afraid of people. I think we’re far more frightening than […]

Celebrity Interview – Sara Blizzard

Getting up at 3am to go to work is enough to bring a deep depression on many people. But not Sara Blizzard – she has a sunny outlook whenever she comes into our living rooms presenting the weather on BBC Television. This month marks the 23rd anniversary of Sarah’s East Midlands Today debut. She breezed […]

Celebrity Interview – Michelle Collins

She played Ian Beale’s wife in EastEnders for eight years and the landlady of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street. Now Michelle Collins is taking on what she describes as the role of a lifetime. Michelle will be getting dolled up for the role of Miss Scarlett in Cluedo, a new play based on the […]