At last! we can start to walk again as a group!
Saturday 24th July: the 5 Ponds Trail.
17 of us, including me, Richard Smith, the Leader, set off from Sheepbridge, through the woods by the car park on Broombank Road, where the first of the 5 was the Fender Reed Beds, a water treatment set of ponds, sadly not able to enter the fenced off site. Undeterred, further along towards Smeckley, then across the road to continue to find Pond 2: Sheepbridge Ponds. Through the woods, along the lane at the end, along a bridlepath to reach Pond 4, after passing, to our right, and not noticed by some, a pond in a garden…Pond 4 being Barlow Ponds. Back along by the brook again, then up to the curly bridge over the bypass, to get to the final pond, No 5, by the entrance to what will be the Peak Resort. About 6 miles, finishing the walk with nice sunshine! Sorry about any scratched legs, but you had been warned!
Peter Carr’s walk: he writes:
Holmebrook Valley Park – Tuesday 13 July 2021
Seven of us strode out in magnificent style on a walk linking Holmebrook Valley Park, Cutthorpe and Linacre Reservoirs. Setting off in cloudy skies and drizzle we were soon rewarded as the sun overcame the jealous sky. This area has a rich history and coal mining heritage, with Holmebrook Valley Park formed in the 1990’s after a period of open cast coal mining extracted 270,000 tons of coal. The scene so different now from that time. Gone are the spoil heaps and heavy machinery that worked the black seam, and we are left with 130 acres of green open space to enjoy.
We left the park by Brockwell Lane, a former drovers road used to transport salt from Cheshire to these parts in the 18th century and headed for Cutthorpe.
The village made its living from agriculture and that thrives today. Who would have known that at the beginning of the 20th century Cutthorpe had four coal mines. As we approached Cutthorpe Hall we looked across to Cutthorpe Old Manor House, both early 17th century buildings. We passed the Hall and its Dower House and headed across fields to Linacre, its woodland, brooks and three reservoirs built between 1855 and 1904. Coffee stop was by the second reservoir where we were reminded by an Information Board of how the Chesterfield residents disapproved of their water supply, piped directly to their homes after being filtered through reed beds. It was said that the poor used it as soup, the middle class for washing clothes and the elite for watering their gardens. The reservoirs ceased to be used for public water supply in 1955 and now act as a flood alleviation measure.
After a pleasant circuit around the reservoirs, looking at the wildlife it constantly offers we left Linacre and headed towards Holmebrook Valley Park. Different paths took us across a field of barley towards Hall Farm and the Park itself arriving by a pair of swans and their two young cygnets close to the lake’s edge. Walking around the lake the path led to another feature in the park which forms part of Chesterfield’s Art Trail. We stopped by Colin Rose’ Red Brick Ball, one of three pieces of art-work in the park.
A walk of just over three hours and by Adrian’s App exactly six miles. So that’s seven footpath members, six miles of walking, five cars we arrived in, four areas of open water visited, three hours taking, two swans a welcoming and one field of barley. As Sting wrote You’ll remember when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley, you can tell the sun in his jealous sky when we walked in fields of gold.