I've been living in Derbyshire for several years, but I grew up in the fens, so the landscape here is much more hilly than the flatness of the fens, but there is a wildness - even an appealing bleakness - about both places and also traces of ancestors to be found in many ways. I live near Belper, a landscape that's part of the Derwent Mills World Heritage Site, a fascinating place full of ancient woodland, steep river valleys, moors and scattered throughout with buildings connected with the Industrial Revolution. But there's also vast ancient history here and lots of that is clearly evident all around with stone circles, hill forts and traces of things like lead mining from the Romans and before that too.
These are images I took last week between the ancient stone circle of Arbor Low and the steep industrial valley of Lumsdale, both nearby, really enchanting places and if you time it right, wonderful when hardly anyone else is about. Arbor Low is an a high exposed site, with views for miles around (and wild winds often too!), its easy to speculate about why ancient people would have found the location captivating. The stones are now all lying down, no one seems to really know why, but it does give the place an air of quirkiness too. At sunset there's a real sense of the landscape settling down for the night as you can see for such vast distances and watch flocks of birds going to roost.
Lumsdale contains much more recent ruins, dating back to a set of mills and associated buildings which possibly go back as far as the 1600s. Its a really fascinating place with an amazing combination of ruined stone buildings, waterfalls, woodland, ponds and tracks through the valley.
Both places invite you to really ponder about past uses and the lives of those who lived, worked and used the sites in many ways. I love the way natural materials like stones contains marks which hold traces of past lives, old stone steps worn about by thousands of footsteps over the years or stones which have been cut and shaped by ancient hands.
And amidst the intensity of trying to sort out vast amounts of arts equipment, forest school resources, project planning and more, time out in landscape such as this provides such a sense of soothing and inspiration. Special places to breathe deeply and take in far more than just fresh air...