News and Events
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You hear them first. The young make a plaintiff cry, calling and mewing, unmistakable and distinctive. I step out of the wood and turn back to look above it. Then they are there, the female clutching something in her talons executes a food pass, a small song bird by the looks of it. The young circle the trees before diving down to the nest and a meal. the humble sparrow hawk, the bird of prey that you are most likely to see in your garden, but I never cease to thrill at the sight of them on the wing.
Though under twenty acres the wood is full of interest. There is a badger sett dug into one of the spoil heaps. At first glance it looks deserted. But on closer inspection one of the holes looks like it has been recently dug. Perhaps a returning badger or possibly a fox.
During the summer a dry river bed gives away the geology. The stream flows off Stanley moor, in winter fed by springs but in the drier summer, disappears underground. It continues on through the wood to join the Wye at Lovers leap in Ashwood dale.
Lilly, my collie, is fascinated by all the different smells and is reluctant to move away from one patch that is obviously particularly pungent. I coax her away and she moves onto the next set of scents. The doggie equivalent of surfing the web, picking up messages from the other animals that have passed this way.
Like many of the woods that surround Buxton, the trees here were part of a plantation, planted to hide the scars from the lime burning. Over the years it has evolved a character of its own though. Less dense than Grin woods, it clings to the side of the narrow valley, dark and oppressive before giving way to open lighter glades. Everywhere there is dead wood, so vital and important to its health and well-being.
The sparrow hawks have fallen silent. Across the narrow valley I can hear the ducks from the riding school quacking. Lilly tugs at her lead to remind me that there are other things to get on with than simply standing still and watching the trees. We set off back down the path past the cottage of Content. I can let Lilly off the lead, and she races across the grass before turning round and in true collie fashion drops to the ground and waits, expectantly for the ball.
Don't forget the dog walk on Sunday.
Working on Footpath improvements to the Country Park
If you go down to the woods today you might be in for a big surprise, as Buxton Civic Association have continued the work to improve the access to their woods by funding a footpath restoration project to Buxton Country Park. The pathways, which are popular routes through Grin Low woods, have become heavily eroded over the years causing many new minor paths to form which threatened to damage the delicate woodland flora and disturb wildlife.
Helped by a very generous donation of Limestone aggregate from Lafarge Tarmac and transportation by Lomas Distribution, Buxton Civic Association took the decision to plan and fund the resurfacing of the paths this autumn rather than wait until the spring. Mike Monaghan Director at BCA commented “The support from Lafarge Tarmac and Lomas is invaluable. Their support enables us to do more work on the paths, benefiting everyone who uses the woods and Country Park.”
Buxton Country Park woodland manager Alan Walker said ‘this will greatly improve access for visitors and local dog walkers, as well as enabling us to create and manage quiet sanctuary areas of woodland for wildlife to thrive’.
The hard work on the ground have been done by local landscaping expert Martin Wragg and his team from Oaktree landscapes who have previously completed path projects in Corbar and Sherbrook wood also funded by Buxton Civic Association. The new pathways take an alternative route from Poole’s Cavern through the lower part of the country park before rising towards Solomon’s Temple and Grin Low summit.
Lynne Noble a member of Buxton Civic Association has produced a brand new guide to the magnificent view from Solomon’s Temple. The 360° panorama is divided into four overlapping sections as you move clockwise round the tower. Points of interest are clearly marked with tips on how to identify them (you don’t need a compass!). Many of the features picked out help to explain the geology of the Peak District and the history of mining and quarrying around Buxton. Some of them are on the far horizon and are only visible on a really clear day. Did you know that you can see Mam Tor and Stanage Edge from Grin Low?
The guide is produced on a single sheet with two sections of the panorama on each side and can be bought flat or rolled. They are on sale at Poole’s Cavern, price £2, ready to make your next visit to Solomon’s Temple much more interesting... and more than just a view.
A section of the 360 degree view from Solomon's Temple.
Combs Moss and Kinder Scout are part of the Dark Peak. This is moorland country made of gritstone (course sandstone) and shales often with beds of peat on top. The highest parts of Kinder are about 630 metres (2000 feet) above sea level.
Grin Low is 435 metres (1426 feet) above sea level and is in the White Peak. The light grey walls and rocks around Solomon’s Temple show that this is limestone country.
Much of the White Peak is 300 to 400 metres (900 to 1300 feet) above sea level.
Buxton is one of the highest towns in England at 300 metres (nearly 1000 feet) above sea level.
The 360° panorama is divided into four sections as you move clockwise round the tower.
Try to identify the near features first then work back into the distance.
eg look at the stile in the wall on Section 1 then look directly above it and you should see the
Palace Hotel and Brown Edge TV Mast beyond that... easy.
The most distant features need perfect visibility and good eyes.
The right hand edge of each section overlaps with the left edge of the section below
Challenge… Can you spot Mam Tor and Buxton Cricket Ground?
Minninglow Hill on Section 2 is really difficult to spot!! (binoculars are a must for this one)
Some quick thinking by a party of visitors out walking near the edge of the woods saw them intervene and stop Vernie the Rottweiler from chasing sheep. They managed to catch Vernie, and attach some string to her collar before bringing her down to the visitors centre at Poole's Cavern. Thirsty after all her running around she proceeded to drink vast quantities of water, and eat handfuls of treats. In the meantime Paula Pickering, who manages the Cafe at the Cavern, thought that she recognised Vernie, so she was taken to Overdale vets where a quick scan revealed that she was chipped. In the meantime Vernie's owners dropped in to the visitor centre looking for her. So they were able to rush down to Overdale vets to be reunited. A happy ending for all concerned.
The cafe at Poole's Cavern is dog friendly, so there is no need to leave them tied up outside or lock them in the car after your walk in the woods. Bring them into the cafe while you can enjoy a hot drink and some cake. We will even give them a treat. Send in your pictures of your dog enjoying the cafe and we will add it to our gallery.
Photographs of some of our recent canine visitors to the Cafe.
Solomon's Temple is a folly which sits above Grin Low woods and can be found by following the main path behind Poole's Cavern Visitor centre. The walk to the Temple takes about half an hour and is dog, child and buggy friendly, very rewarding views across Buxton when you arrive. Are you brave enough to climb to the top??
Send in your dog walking pictures and we'll display them in our gallery!