The Clock is Ticking….


It only seems like yesterday that we were celebrating the start of a New Year, the day before that it was Christmas…. Yet here we are 1st of February.  Is it just me or is time really passing at the speed of a supersonic plane.

For many February is considered as the last month of Winter.  For the civil service based Meteorological Office it is…but being science based they feel the need to break the year up into seasons of an equal number of months. Astrologically, Winter is with us till the Spring Equinox on the 28th March.

So far this winter it has been un-seasonally mild and our gardens and countryside tell us that.  So will we have an early Spring… your guess is as good as anyone’s.

What I do know is that as Winter moves towards its close, it often has a ‘sting in its tail‘ and February is often the month it chooses to Wag that tail.

Indeed snow, in middle of February, is not uncommon in our corner of the UK, here in Derbyshire, as shown here above Hathersage and on Stanage Moor.


What will February bring this year?…..  who knows, maybe scenes like those above.  The only certainty is that we will be just that little closer to Spring

1st February

(C) David Oakes 2018


Brown Heather…….


Stanton Moor, Derbyshire

Last day of January, cold but sunny and a hazy blue sky….a bonus day after the winter weather of the week just gone. So a breath of real fresh air was called for and those expansive views from Stanton Moor beckoned.

The snow, frosts, wind and rains have done there job and flattened the Bracken, whilst  the Heather that cloaks most of the moor looks a rather sorry brown…but in amongst the Heather Blueberry shoots are starting to green.

Stanton Moor is very familiar to us.  Its near, its high (compared to surrounds) and it is perhaps unusual for a moor and has some trees.  Small plantations of Silver Birch are dotted about giving this moor its rather special character….. the moor edges are clocked with mysterious gnarled Oak.   Add to that a megalithic Stone Circle “The Nine Ladies”, a striking memorial tower to Earl Grey, numerous earth works and old quarries and of course the Cork Stone ready to be climbed by the foolhardy……all add interest to a walk that changes not just with the seasons but every week – as the weather changes.

 So its goodbye January 2018…..lets see what February has in store for us.

31st January

(C) David Oakes 2018

One Could Say that Autumn has arrived…. but very slowly


Mixed Autumnal Colours beneath the Beech

I think we have made mention on numerous occasions that the seasonal weather pattern has not followed  the prescribed time table. Add to that months of above average temperatures and others of exceptional rains and I am not sure if the trees and plants know if they are coming or going.


November 9th and the trees are still pretty full of leaf.  The Silver Birch, usually the first to drop is this year providing weeks of its unique golden colours, showing little signs of dropping.  The Beech, whilst loosing some leaves still have canopy thick enough to cast long shadows.  Oak Trees have yet to turn brown, Sycamore are pale yellow, whilst the only trees to play the seasonal ball have been Chestnuts and the Ash.

Overall it is still very green….and I have that feeling that the real autumnal colours may well elude us this year.

As to the weather itself…it would now seem as if we have one brilliant day followed by dull damp and cold just like November is supposed to be. So being a bright sunny day here is a potpourri of today in the woods….


9th November

(C) David Oakes 2017