Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Post 91 24/05/2017 - Dark Passages and Blossoms

Hello again,
Well, post 90 seemed to go down well with old fans so lets try again with this format of a few phone pic's taken whilst out surveying and a little text. Photos from yesterday, Tue 23rd May.

This week the Northwest area of Drinkwater Meadow, Pursefield Wood and back via the Millpond.

Outside the Stables is a wonderful Horse Chestnut currently sporting a cascade of flowering pinnacles 

Back Door

I have chatted to many visitors explaining that the front of the house as they see it is actually the 'back door'. The first drive to the North meeting the current A6 wasn't constructed until the arrival of the railways to Disley. More on this further down.....

Heading down from the Stables and passing the North front of the House.

Often thought of only as a hedgerow, Hawthorn is used ornamentally along Hawthorn Drive with both Pink and White blossom varieties.

The Dark Passage

I wonder if every property has a place which everyone refers to and is completely meaningless to strangers. At Dunham recently, I was directed to meet someone at the 'Iron Gate'. At Lyme, the Dark Passage is where deliveries are directed to and I think bits are stored. I have never been inside but I gather it gives access for deliveries to kitchens and house without anything going into the courtyard.

The door to the Dark Passage

Looking over the wall at the end of the Pursefield ridge, the city of Manchester is clear to the eye (though not the phone camera). The hill in the distance behind the city is Winter Hill and the mast where our TV comes from

Same viewpoint - The Cage just right of centre and Derbyshire Hills in the distance

2017 has been an excellent year for Bluebells

Best Bluebells locations in the Park are the banks along Westpark drive, Elmerhurst Wood and Crow Wood. There is still time to see them.

Approaching Paddock Cottage through Pursefield Wood in brilliant sunshine

Bracken; it intrigues me every year how in late summer it is tall and thick yet disappears to crumbling brown dust by the next spring. The new young stalks uncurl as they rise.

View down Pursefield to the Cheshire Plain with Alderley Edge escarpment left of centre.
It was one of those amazing days when you can see the Welsh Hills but not in the photo unfortunately. Take my word for it :)

Paddock Cottage looking like a magazine shot

The tempting oak door of Paddock Cottage

Lyme is full of designed sight lines and The Cage can be seen from Paddock Cottage and visa versa.
There is some growth beginning to obstruct this view

Arriving at the House along the route of the original drive

The original entrance to the estate approached from behind the Knott, above Green Farm and curved around passing around Turtle Brew to reveal the wonderful angled first sight of the ornate South Face 

The early visitor would have looked across grass to the wall above the Italianate Garden.
(The Car Park and Leylandii are later additions.)

As with the Hawthorn, Horse Chestnut also has Pink and White varieties.
This fine example is near the Timberyard entrance

It seemed the sort of day that 'Goldie' as I call it might be visible and I got my best view ever of this massive Golden Carp in the Mill Pond. Just above-right of centre swimming left to right.

Limes at Lyme

Different spelling; not related!

The heavy pollarding of the Lime trees near the route up from the car park to the hall was done alternately, presumably to reduce the impact as they do look ridiculous just after the work is carried out.

This row of Limes up from Information show that the plan is working

Unusually dense cluster of Germander Speedwell under one of the Limes

Mushroom Feet

Above the Dark Passage entrance you may have noticed the Meat Store. 

The Meat Store is supported on legs with mushroom shaped tops. You see this in a larger version under wooden Chalets in the French Alps. It is designed to prevent small mammals climbing up into the building.

Mushroom Legs

Finally, the nemesis of the Conservation Ranger;
Rhododendron Ponticum - how many manhours have been spent cutting these back and burning?
But they are pretty when they flower!

Today's Track and Profile

 Total: 2.7 miles

This Time Previous Years

2014 Week 24 21/05/14 - Fluffy Green and Bird Song

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Post 90 05/05/2017 - Exploring the South and Eastern Edges

It was a lovely morning on Friday 5th May with fantastic light and I was making my way around a loop that would take me out to the South and East edges of the estate.

I was actually working on a survey I carry out annually recording the condition of all external furniture in the Park; this extends through stiles, gates, signage, footbridges, steps, rails and, believe it or not, more; in all approaching 600 items. Each item is checked over, GPS recorded and photographed and items such as spring closures and whether and how gates are locked are all noted. Any concerns are reported to the professional team to review and initiate action if deemed necessary.

My only camera available for general photo's was my phone so the quality is way below when I was patrolling and blogging regularly but I hope you enjoy this selection showing some of the varied textures around the Park.

Passing behind the Gardens the House looking grand the other side of Reflection Lake

Ewes with their young lambs bleating loudly and echoing around Calves Crof

Heading into Knightslow Wood;
I love Beech woods at this time of year with a bright overhead sun lighting up the vivid lime green of the young freshly bursting leaves.

That green :)

Heading West along the bottom of Park Moor looking up to the summits.

Approaching Middle Moor Wall, the sightline is out across the Cheshire Plain.
The lower hills as the Pennines fade into the Plain are covered in brilliant flaming yellow Gorse

View back into the Park with Paddock Cottage catching the sun on the ridge, Drinkwater Meadow centre and Knightlsow Wood to right.

Supposed to be a selfie with the wonderful views in the background. I need a shave!

Having reached the first summit along the Southern boundary this is the view along the boundary wall towards Derbyshire. The white gable end on Bowstonegate Farm can be seen right of centre which, when the sun is low, can be seen from large areas of NE Cheshire.

The remains of Stag House
Stag House is marked on OS maps and for many years I was puzzled that I had never seen any building in that area. A few years ago I located it finally - anti-climax warning!

another look East, this time from Stag House

The string brown dots left and below centre are a group the of red deer from the Moor Herd 
Now passed Bowstones on the SE boundary looking North toward Disley:
Cage Hill in the sun - The Cage is just left of centre in shot. Lantern Wood to right.

Looking back along the high boundary I have just walked.

Derbyshire Hills now in view: Kinder Plateau to right and Lantern Pike centre. 

Using the definition of 'Greater than 2000ft', Kinder Scout is our local Mountain

As flow of the terrain changes, the House comes into sight way below

Entering Lantern Wood; this path is always pretty meandering among the young pines.
Being at the top of the wood a lot of light spills in in spite of the canopy with the result that the woodland floor is full of life.

I always connect Wood Sorrell with the Beech leaves seen earlier; at this time of year the vivid apple green of the leaves lights up the floor and the white bell flowers bounce about in the breeze.
Next time you pass some Wood Sorrel, rub a leaf between your fingers and smell the wonderful fresh green apple flavour.

another shot of the lovely path through the top of Lantern Wood

and here's where Lantern Wood gets its name - The Lantern

Walling Report

I have explained that the regular blog ceased when I moved from Patrolling to the Drystone Walling team. After more than a year with the team, I finally feel that I am getting to grips with it. There are many frustrating days but the previous day to this walk had been a very satisfying day which I though I'd share.

A 'nip' had appeared on the wall between the Eastern Moor and Hampers Wood. A section of the skin on the wood side had collapsed and the outer skin was hanging in there 'on a wing and a prayer'.
Peter and I went out to try and effect a repair in the one day. A shove of the outer skin took it down and we set about removing more stones until we reached stable material. This left us with a large 'U' in the wall which we set about rebuilding.
It soon became evident that we had insufficient stone as a lot had degraded and the wall either side took a lot of repacking to restore its strength. This forced me to build to the last stone I had regardless of shape, which was a good exercise. Having both exhausted our stone we set about walking along the wall in both directions looking for waste from previous repairs and fortunately found enough odd stones to complete the repair. There are a few stones that we would have liked lower down that went higher up due to when we found them but compared to the original wall it looked good..

I could have been overawed by working on my own side of the wall but Peter the other side is a great support to work with. The experienced wallers help you build your confidence whilst at the same time helping you identify and correct weaknesses.

We finished the job and I was able to look back very content with my work, especially the 'built to last stone' aspect; I had successfully placed a lot of stones which given the choice I would have previously designated unusable.

My side.
I'm still improving. I can see a couple of close to running joints which I don't like but it's all locked and weight bearing and there's no front pinning. Wish I'd found that big one at the top earlier.
Regardless of the slope, we build using horizontal lines as a sight guide. I don't think the people who built the original wall at the bottom here did. Interesting waves.
Looking at the wall at the left you can see the stone isn't exactly 'brick' shaped

Heading back to the Stables contented after a good day, these trees on the ridge heading up Cage Hill deliver wonderful varied silhouettes against all sorts of skies in all seasons.
Today's is a spring fluffy green against a blue sky.

Today's Track and Profile

 Total: 5.00 miles

This Time Previous Years

2015 Week 67 13/05/2015 - Blue Skies and Bluebells

2014 Week 23 14/05/14 - Sunny, Green and Clear