From observational notes made at Elliott's Rock, Black Brook...
A warm spring day post noon. I descend hesitantly down a precipitous path into the secret dell. Thankfully, gnarled roots and hunks of angular base rock extrude. Otherwise, the plunging path would have the profile of a long children's slide in a woodland adventure park. Sensibly, I take my time. Somewhere, south of the trees, a golfer yells "Fore!" and a metal bar is distantly clanked to warn of pedestrians crossing Hallamshire golf course.
Reaching the bottom, I notice a pair of blue-tits flitting around a tree hollow. Perhaps they are nesting for it is that time of year. Just below them, Black Brook weaves amidst jumbled rocks. It is as if they were cast down in a giants' game of dice.
Mayflies dance above the bubbling surface of the little stream that leaks out of Lodge Moor - moving in unison like a scud of mist. Momentarily they are illuminated in a shaft of amber sunlight - as delicate as floating dandelion seeds.
Fresh emerald grasses, unfurling ferns and mossy green cushions costume the scene beneath soaring trees that cling tenaciously to the rugged undercliff. They provide lofty perches for an unseen orchestra of avian musicians - blackbird and speckled song thrush.
I sit beside that sussurating water mesmerised by tiny bubbles that jostle in their tinkly descent Above me, a sail full of wind stirs the treetops then resurges like an ocean wave before subsiding - leaving pure silence, birdsong and reverie behind.
It was here that Ebenezer Elliott wrote "Ribbledin": I am sure of it.