Wordless Wednesday…. Another Favourite Place



Location:-  Litchfield Cathedral, Staffordshire.  Welcoming Visitors since 700ad

22nd August

(C) David Oakes 2018


Silent Sunday….so off to Church


St. Josephs Shrine, Foxlow Edge, Errwood in the Goyt Valley on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border

A simple shrine set in some stunning moorland countryside on the Derbyshire and Cheshire county border. It was built on the once prestigious Errwood Estate by the owners of Errwood Hall in memory of a Miss (Sister) Delores who was once a treasured governess to the families children.  Errwood Hall is long gone and indeed much of the surrounds are now underwater having been drowned to create a Reservoir.

It all adds to a certain sadness when one explores the valleys and moorland edges in this unique part of the Peak District. But it also a place for ramblers to pause relax and ponder.

What I also find very sad is that today is what is called the “Glorious Twelve” the day when the guns come out to shoot Grouse on the Moors.  I see nothing glorious in organising parties (for not inconsiderable amounts of money) to shoot small birds that have been specially bred, released on the moors and then blasted out of the skies as they are ‘encouraged’ to fly by teams of drivers.  Moors that are no longer habitat rich due to sporting land management. They call it sport…. one has to wonder. Not such a Glorious Twelve.

12th August

(C) David Oakes 2018


Heavy Horsepower ….on Four Legs



One Lucky Lady…

She sure was…..she had just been awarded “Supreme Champion” in the Shire Horse Championships, here in Derbyshire.  Very appropriately named Kilmore Lady Luck.  Both horse and owner obviously well pleased with their success.

Not that luck came into the equation.  Just lots of hard work and patience over time by all the Horses and Owners competing.  It is hard to conceive that this giants of the horse world can be both some powerful yet so placid.  Once the backbone of the agriculture, haulage and military arenas, thanks to some dedicated breeders and owners the Shire Horse Breed continues to have a place in our British countryside to-day.

Even nicer for them to make the big effort to bring the Horses young and old along for us to see and enjoy


6th August

(C) David Oakes 2018

A Book is not just for Holidays…. But for Life


Many years ago when we lived in the West Country, Brian Carter was a familiar name. Often broadcasting about wildlife and the countryside…he was also a writer of some note and an accomplished artist.  Unlike todays household names in Conservation broadcasting, Brian Carter didn’t have the benefits of modern technology…but what he did have was a love of everything in the countryside and a knowledge base built from childhood  through patience and watching what was happening all about him and mans interaction with the wild. Add to that a ‘natural’ charm and ability to convey this love of the outdoors achieving much for the benefit of his beloved Dartmoor and all that lived upon it and around it.

” A Black Fox Running”

A Black Fox Running is one of Brian Carters early books.  First published in 1981 it has just been republished by Bloomsbury with the addition of a new Foreword by Melissa Harrison*. In praise this is a book about life on Dartmoor, the country people, the wildlife and a changing society and world after WW11 over the year leading up to the horrendous winter of 1947 a winter that has still not been matched for its severity.  But for the most part it tells the story based upon years of observation through the eyes of one particular Fox.

Now this is where you need a leap in faith.  This is most definitely not a children’s book…yet the story is predominantly told by the animals and thru there interactions and mutual dependence upon each other…yes the animals speak to each other and have names. Yet seamlessly the story is also told by the humans in the story whose lives are bound up in country life..from land owner, farmers, to trapper.

It is a moving story, of damaged humanity and survival, and sometime death, for all. Yet by simple description through flowing words it  conveys so much of the outdoors and its wildlife, much of which we either take for granted or detail we perhaps allow to go un-noticed.  The seamless narrative from animals to people is an education of country life from past years with a very real relevance to today.

This is the best £14.99 I have invested in a book for a long time and much, much more than just a great holiday read….its unforgettable, engrossing, educational, stimulating, at times hard and gripping but always a flowing read.

  • The Foreword will also convey much more about Brain Carter than I can here

21st July

(C) David Oakes