26 May 2014

Earthwork

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.
Frances resting
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

17 comments:

  1. You are making e homesick.
    The gate post looks as if it was a bull post originally.

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    1. I wondered about that big hole. Quite unusual. A bull post eh? Maybe we should tie Nigel Farage up there!

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    2. I'm not sure it is. They were often set in the middle of fields. There is one in Foolow just up the road from the Bulls Head.
      Farage is a funny chap but not so funny now that he's tasted success.

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  2. A great walk, and as always on your blog, garnished with great pictures and interesting bits of history. Can't wait to see the beautiful countryside for myself - only a few more days to go!

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    1. There are trains from Sheffield Station to beautiful Edale. I don't know if you ill have wheels of your own when you are over here. There are weekday trains to Edale at 9.14 and 10.14. You could return at say 16.47 or 17.47. £8.10 return. The journey takes just over half an hour. From the station it is easy to walk up into the village and then go up on to Kinder Edge. If you wish, I will email you a map but you could also buy one in the village shop. There are two pubs where you can get refreshment.

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    2. We're entirely dependant on public transport during our holiday (as always; I don't even have a license and although my sister does drive here in Germany, she has never attempted it in England and certainly won't start now). Thank you for the train times etc., I have noted down your information in my little yellow book, and we'll see what we feel like (and what the weather is favourable for) once we're in Sheff.

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  3. Eine kleine Abendwanderung.

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  4. Replies
    1. No way Pawan! Not my kind of film at all. You'd need to be a complete numbskull to recommend a film like that.

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  5. Is Brough pronounced "Bruff?" I knew a Jane Brough in Florida years ago who had a marvelous soprano voice and directed the choir at a Lutheran church.

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    1. Yes Rhymes - Bruff. Did Ellie know about Jane? You naughty boy!

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  6. How beautiful and green it looks; and so neat. :)

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    1. You are probably referring to the photo with the five bar gate in the foreground. Yes - The Hope Valley is both beautiful and green and such a magical name for such a lovely valley.

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  7. Another " green and pleasant land " post. Sigh!

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  8. Replies
    1. Dear Pawan - you can eat my dirty socks for daring to visit this blog with your money-making nonsense. And if I see you in the street you will become an X Man yourself!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.