A mix of summer and autumn weather for the middle weekend of September


Saturday was just fabulous, warm, no breeze and sunny.  The low sun shedding shadows that get longer each passing day.  The woodland canopy just a little thinner than last week.  The Ferns and bracken now drying and soon will turn to a crisp brown that will rustle in the winds to come.

Whilst Saturday was perfect all day, Sunday alternated in virtually a blink of the eye, from sun  to dull grey,  in a cycle that continued till nightfall (then it rained).  Overall a relaxing weekend,  it was good to get out and about observing the small changes in the countryside and garden.

In the garden Tortoiseshell Butterflies are having a feeding frenzy on the Sedum sharing the nectar and pollen with Bees and Hover Flies…its a busy spot.


  Now we all know the saying ‘here today gone tomorrow’ ..well how about ‘here yesterday gone today’ ….  Both the Rose and the Blue sky!

At least Sunday finished with what looked like the making of a nice evening, bright and encouraging as it was… it didn’t last.


I wonder what the weather has instore for this coming week…will it be more of the same or the start of a real shift into autumn…..who knows, not me.

16th September

(C) David Oakes 2019



A Fantastic September morning… just right for a Canal side walk


Cromford Canal, Leawoods Pump House, Derbyshire

Friday was just a perfect September day…. not quite the heatwave as promised, though perhaps a better temperature for a canal side walk.  The canal selected was the Cromford Canal…. one of my favourites for a walk.  The only disappointment is that it is no longer navigable by narrowboats.  None the less there is much to see and much to remind you of the importance to our industrial heritage that this small part of Derbyshire played.  Now part of the UNESCO Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.

The canal was opened in 1794 primarily to serve  Arkwright’s  and  Smedley  Mills amongst others at Cromford and the Lea Valley.  At the time Cromford Canal linked up to the Erewash Canal, ultimately the River Trent and then the greater English canal network.

At Cromford where the canal begins its journey south are two of the original warehouses. Like all the buildings we pass along this canal, they are rather fine architectural buildings, much finer than todays utilitarian industrial buildings.



Progress came fast in the 18th/19th century industrial revolution. The canal was soon to be joined by one of the very first railways, the Cromford & High Peak Railway. Opened in 1849 it provided a faster link across the Derbyshire Peak District northwards. The task being to create a reliable link to Manchester and the Port of Liverpool.

This walk takes you past many of the old railway buildings, engineering sheds, warehouses and wharfs…..


 I have to admit to once again pausing and taking a peak inside the railways workshops at High Peak Junction.


The highlight though is the famous Leawoods Pump House built by the Lea Aqueduct.  It is a steam lift pump that was used to ‘lift’ water from the River Derwent to keep the canal ‘top up’.


The best part of the legacy left by the canal is the towpath… a peaceful walk through woodland and some expansive Derbyshire views.  At this time of the year, before autumn sets in, is the rich foliage along the bank side that is the star. Tall grasses wafting in the lightest of breezes mixing with wildflowers and herbs, banks so full that they hide the elusive Water Vole and provide hidey-holes for Dab Chicks.  Today the bright low sun is making the greens glow, glow much more like spring than autumn.


All in all….not half bad for a once hectic industrial landscape.

14th September

(C) David Oakes 2019

Gosh…. nearly Halfway thru September



Early Morning, Allestree Lake, Derbyshire

Nearly, but not quite, at the halfway point of September yet it only seems like yesterday that we welcomed its arrival.  This morning we have grey skies with the occasional splash of sunshine, sunshine that seems to seek out the early autumnal colour that is gradually creeping in.

Our weather forecasters tell us we are due a mini heatwave over the coming weekend and next week.  If it comes about then I reckon it will speed up the approach of autumn proper. (looking out my window at this moment the chances of a heatwave look doubtful….but who knows).  Till then we can watch the changes as they happen….

The Squirrels have also been busy tackling any early falling conkers.. full tummies are needed prior to the colder weather


13th September

(C) David Oakes 2019