Walking In Derbyshire

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 […]

Walk Derbyshire – A Walk over 2 Dales

The dales this walk covers are within a mile or two of each other and even though they join later, both are entirely different in character.  Their names are the Manifold and the Dove. Their character is mostly determined by the rocks over which their rivers flow; gritstone shales for the Manifold and carboniferous limestone […]

Restaurant Reviews - Derbyshire

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 […]

Dining Out at Viva Restaurant

Viva restaurant is well situated in the middle of Matlock on Dale Road; being close to a car park just around the corner. We visited this restaurant and discovered an idyllic place to eat in and experience that special Italian dining cuisine at a very cost effective price… On entering the restaurant we immediately felt […]

Restaurant Review – The Sanam Tandoori Restaurant

Cooking in a traditional way has always been the priority at the Sanam on King Street Alfreton, and for the past 25 years they have stuck to that premise. Over that period of time they have seen restaurants come and go, some change hands. Their philosophy of providing quality food at a fair price has […]

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 […]

Derbyshire Local Interests

Taste Derbyshire – Stella’s Kitchen Eyam

It is 11.30am on a blissfully sunny day in North Derbyshire and a pair of holiday-makers have pitched up at a farmhouse restaurant for a late breakfast. A few bites into a ‘fluffy as a cloud omelette made-for-two’, one of them gasps. “Hot, hot, hot,” he manages to splutter. Stella Kisob Knowles, cook and flamboyant […]

Historic Steam Railway Posters

When I was just five Maude, my nanny, was charged to take me off on holiday to Plymouth. I have no idea to this day why my parents could not go with me, but we were to stay with a relative of Maude’s for a few days. Clearly my parents were staying behind for some […]

The Brecon Beacons

Possibly the Brecon Beacons is the least known mountainous national park in England and Wales, but as Brian Spencer discovered on a recent visit, it is easy to reach and the scenery is superb. The irregular oval of the Brecon Beacons National Park stretches from the long arrow-straight ridges of the eastern Black Mountains.  Barren and wind-blown, […]

Taste Derbyshire – A Taste of North Derbyshire Yogurt

Driving along a single-track road, which meanders through the craggy hill and grassy dales of North Derbyshire, I am forced to perform an emergency stop. It’s not a good time. I am – thanks to a Sat Nav intent on herding me back to an A-road – twenty minutes late for an appointment with yogurt-maker […]

Images of Liverpool

The last time I was in Liverpool must have been soon after the Toxteth riots in 1981. The very name still conjures up the smell of burned-out cars that were still littering the streets.  Since then the city has gone from strength to strength and I had difficulty in orientating myself around what were once […]

Derbyshire Antiques & Collectibles – Royal Mint Collectors’ Coins

One of the tasks I seem to spend vast quantities of time on when I am working at Bamfords is cataloguing collections of coins. Much of what comes in is base metal and well used, and has little value; some is in various purities of silver and needs sorting. If circulated, everything not a rarity is estimated at […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested

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 […]

Product Test – Liz Earle

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare is a Great British beauty brand, founded in 1995. We are passionate about all that we do and create products that really work on every skin type by harnessing the potent powers of the finest quality naturally active ingredients. Superskin™ Bust & Neck Treatment £36 50ml Packed with kigelia extract […]

Product Test – Regenerate with Dr. Hauschka

Regenerating Day Cream 40ml £56 Regenerating Day Cream supports the skin’s natural processes of renewal to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Skin looks and feels vital, rejuvenated and smooth. Formulation: Red clover, acerola berries, raspberry seed oil and shea butter protect and support natural skin regeneration. Jojoba, avocado, sweet almond and olive […]

Lost Houses in Derbyshire

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 […]

Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Spondon House

Spondon House was a fine Georgian mansion, in reality a secondary seat on the Locko estate of the Drury Lowes. Yet it was not without presence, and its history not without interest. All accounts of the house, the building records for which are absent from the Drury-Lowe archive at the University of Nottingham Library, aver […]

The Lost Houses of Derbyshire – Willesley Hall, Ashby

Until the local government reforms of 1888-1889 Derbyshire did not sit inside a single boundary; it has detached ‘islands’, mainly to its south, created in the Saxon period by assarting – clearing of woodland by men of Derbyshire in un-adopted regions. The settlements so created, once the County system had become established in the mid-10th […]

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 […]