Tuesday 30 August 2011

Barton Marina

A couple of weeks ago, Dad and I visited Barton Marina in Staffordshire.

The Marina has berths for over 300 boats, mostly privately owned, but including some for hire.

The opening under the footbridge is the access to the Trent and Mersey canal.

This boat was moored alongside the walkway and offered a rather unusual activity...

Craft painting sessions - pots and T shirts.

Also along the walkway are shops and attractions including eating places, a pub, boutiques and this shop selling traditional toys - fun to look around, but a little too over-priced to tempt me to buy.

Personally, I just love looking at the boats!

Monday 29 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 12 - Lots and lots of holes

Poynton was once a coal mining area with a significant number of active pits. Although the coal mining industry has declined since the interference of a certain 'Iron Lady', the pits around Poynton are marked out in this rather unusual sculpture which shows a vertical pit wheel, representative of those which would have winched the miners down to the bottom of the shaft, above a horizontal drill head.

Each hole on the drill ring marks a mine shaft down into one of the coal pits. The scale is marked at the bottom. In real terms, we estimated the ring to have a diameter of around a mile and a half.

And, every shaft is named.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our walk as much as I enjoyed doing it. Tomorrow, you'll be pleased to know, will see a change of subject!

Sunday 28 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 11 - Boat builders, ducklings and lichen

Having adjusted our Sat Navs, we walked on back down to the Macclesfield Canal, passing by the small marina and the boat builders yard.

Holidaying on the canals has been popular for many years. Now, with the soaring price of houses, increasing numbers of people are looking at canal boats as an alternative to buying a property on land.

All of which is very good news for the boat builders!

These little guys have no such concerns.

Sacristan spotted this lichen on the stones along the water side of the canal towpath. I suspected that Desiree might be interested.

Almost back to the car now :) We just have one last section to walk, then off to the pub for some food.

Saturday 27 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 10 - What the notice says!

So, what did you think my painted out notice says?












Never trust technology!

Friday 26 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 9 - A new stone wall and an interesting notice!

Eventually, it stopped raining. This meant that enough people poured out of the cafe to allow us to squeeze into it and enjoy a well deserved cup of coffee.

(At this point, Harry was feeling justifiably happy with himself for being the only one amongst us with the sense to don his waterproof over trousers at the first spot of rain. The rest of us sat and steamed gently in self-inflicted sogginess!)

Fed and watered, we set off again, heading out of Lyme Park by the Four Winds gate; walking alongside the newly rebuilt dry stone wall.

Dry stone walls are built from stone alone. There is no mortar to hold them together. The skill is in the positioning of the stones and the overall construction of the wall. It is a traditional craft which was close to dying out, but which has seen a renewed level of interest in recent years.

A well constructed dry stone wall can stand for as long as 200 years.

You can enlarge the photo to read what the board says.
(I'd be interested to know if anyone else tried to wipe the raindrops off the photo to better read the notice! DOH!!!)

This lane is just below Four Winds, outside the boundary of Lyme Park. As you can see, I have painted out the notice. Any guesses as to what it might have said?

Answer tomorrow :)

Thursday 25 August 2011


My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

S is for Stenson


I've posted photos about parts of Stenson before, so I thought I would complete the picture. These brick built cottages were here well before this road became busy. Now there are traffic calming measures to stop people from speeding past their door.

The name Stenson is old English for Steina's Farm. Stenson is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, joined with the neighbouring parish of Twyford. Stenson House (above) is the largest house in the village, built by architect Samuel Brown for a tenant of the Harpur-Crewe family.

The settlement is very small; just a dozen or so houses, plus a marina and a pub. This is one of two modern houses.

The Bubble Inn is another recent addition to Stenson; though a 200 year old barn conversion, rather than a new build.

The pub is named after the lock by which it stands; lock and bridge 19 on the Trent and Mersey Canal. The Trent and Mersey was constructed in 1796 and followed the old boundary between Stenson and Twyford, effectively separating the two parishes. The lock is known as The Bubble because of the way the water bubbles from the outflow when the lock is active.

What is now a small tea room was originally the lock keeper's cottage, built in 1810.

Stenson Marina is rather more recent, developed in 1974 from the lay-by above the upper lock. It has approximately 80 moorings and a yard for servicing and repairs. Alongside the marina is also a boatbuilders yard where new narrow boats are built to order.

A narrow boat was being launched into the marina while we were there.

Trent and Mersey Bridge 19 is narrow, only allowing one car to pass at a time. Beyond it is the bridge over the railway line.

The public footpath follows the canal towpath, so named because it was laid for the horses which towed the canal barges before they were powered.  This side is below the lower lock gate and is often frequented by fishermen hoping to catch fish disturbed by the emptying lock.

I enjoy walking along the canals and have been down here many times.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 8 - Rain!

I don't know what it was about this walk, but both times we did it, the descent was wet! (And when I say wet, I mean wet!)

On the scouting day, we didn't even make it down to the woods in the dry (as you can probably tell from the close up shot of the Bowstones in my last post!).

On the actual walk, we were doing rather better, dropping down as far as the woods and walking through the trees in the dry until...

Hmmm. Notice the 'interesting' light quality beyond the trees. It looks suspiciously like it might...


It only lasted about twenty-five minutes, but it was heavy!

Thankfully, just beyond the car park, there is a cafe:)

Sadly, this car park is no-where near the one where OUR cars were parked!

Tuesday 23 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 7 - The Bowstones

Right up on top of the moors is Bowstones farm, which is mainly a boarding kennels, rather than a farm. It's a solitary house approached by a narrow road which winds steeply up the hillside. It isn't quite as isolated as it appears as there is a fairly large hotel around a mile away on the larger road which drops down into the next valley. Even so, I wouldn't much like to drive down the hill on an icy morning and there will be times during the winter when the farm is snowed in. The farm is definitely exposed to the full force of our ever-changing weather!

These two stones. the Bowstones after which the farm is named, are recovered shafts from two Saxon crosses which were thought to have been used as landmarks as well as religious symbols. Unfortunately, some of the carvings are decidedly newer than Saxon times!

The (better preserved) crosspieces to these shafts are in the courtyard at Lyme Hall.

Monday 22 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 6 - On the moors

The climb up from Lyme Hall to the Bowstones is breathtaking in more ways than one. From here, on a clear day, you can see the whole of Manchester spread out below, and right over the Cheshire Plain as far as the mountains of North Wales.

This marker helps to identify some of the landmarks which can be spotted, including the Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank and the Goyt Reservoirs in Derbyshire.

There's something very spiritual about being in such an exposed location...

...until it chucks it down with rain!

Sunday 21 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 5 - Lyme Hall

Lyme Hall - the largest house in Cheshire - is a grade 1 listed building; mansion house to the Lyme estate.

In 1346, the land on which the hall was built, was given to Sir Thomas Danyers by Edward III, as  reward for his service to the Crown at the Battle of Crécy. The land passed into the Piers Legh family after the death of Sir Thomas and the marriage of his daughter to Piers Legh I. The present house was constructed in the late 16th century during the life of Piers Legh VII, but has since seen some modifications, including the addition of the south range, creating an internal courtyard, and the development of the formal gardens which stretch mainly to the south and east of the house.

The house remained in the Legh family until 1946 when Richard Legh gave it to the National Trust.

Today, the house, park and gardens are open to the public, with their popularity having increased somewhat since the famous plunge into the pond by Mr Darcy during the filming of the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, where Lyme Hall became the fictitious Pemberley Estate in Derbyshire.

During the years we lived in Old Trafford, Lyme Park was our bolthole from the confines of the inner city; a chance to get out onto the moors and allow the wind to blow away the cobwebs, stretching the limbs and expanding the horizons. Then a visit to the adventure playground for the lads to work off any remaining energy, before piling back into the car and heading for home.

The moors are where we are headed next, but first, walking alongside the house, I spotted this...

Awwww, Cheryl! Look at that bee!! Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz ;)

Saturday 20 August 2011

A slice of Lyme 4 - Venturing into The Cage

When we were up there with the whole group, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see inside The Cage. Sandwiches were just about consumed when a National Trust Landrover came pootling up the track and pulled up outside the main entrance.

The jingling of keys announced the opening of the heavily padlocked gate and the admittance of visitors.

The two main rooms are on the first and second floors and accessed by a stone spiral staircase.

I love spiral staircases. I think it's fascinating, the way they wind up above your head; like a staircase in reverse.

I only took a couple of photos upstairs because the rooms were empty of any items of interest (except a few information boards) but rather crammed full of curious people. Each room filled the whole of its level, with just room for the staircase in one corner. On the second floor, I did take this photo of deer skins and antlers, though I'd rather see the live specimens!

To be honest, what I was really hoping for was the opportunity to go out onto the roof, but that was not forthcoming :(

It was all a bit disappointing. I suppose I'll just have to wait for the views a little later in the walk.