|Shatton Moor with the television relay mast|
When persistent weekend rain ceased yesterday afternoon, I took my daughter to the tiny Derbyshire village of Shatton. Why it ever got that name I do not know but surely not because it was shat on in ancient times! Or maybe it was. We parked up, booted up - then headed up the long hill road to the television relay mast. Almost a mile of steady ascent - great training for her long sponsored walk in mid-June. Even the hill sheep were struggling.
Past the lonely mast and then round the top of Overdale to Brough Lane. No other walkers around as it was by now six o' clock in the evening. We passed The Grey Ditch. Many folk must walk by The Grey Ditch without realising that it is a manmade structure from the fifth or sixth century AD. It is generally believed that this earthwork - at least half a mile in length - was constructed to mark the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. They existed long before the idea of a united England was first conceived. In the vicinity of The Grey Ditch archaeologists have discovered various items that were probably connected with bloody battles - bits of sword and shield and bone.
|The Grey Ditch by Brough Lane|
Though I am sure that The Grey Ditch looks nothing like it would have done in say 600AD, the distinct undulation in the land speaks in tantalising tones of those far off times when most of the Peakland of Derbyshire would have been wild and forested. When there were wolves and eagles and wild boar. A time when local warlords fought to protect what was theirs for there was surely no other force they could call upon for protection. Down in the valley, closer to the village of Bradwell, the course of the ditch runs arrow straight through a farmfield.
Past Elmore Hill Farm and down to Townfield Lane - a narrow track between verdant hedgerows that leads all the way back to Shatton - then home for roast chicken, vegetables and Yorkshire puddings.
|View from Brough Lane to Win Hill|
|An old stone gatepost near Brough|