Belper to Whatstandwell


We were staying at my brother's; he led us on a walk over the hills from Belper (where he lives) to a place with a silly name: Whatstandwell.

The walk

We climbed steeply out of the town and then along the hilltops. The weather was lovely.

Trees and drystone walls and hills and rain.
1/30 at f8, 18mm, ISO200 53°2′24″N 1°28′10″W

The first exciting landmark was a windmill near a town called Heage, which is just across the hill from Belper.

Windmill (closed).
1/350 at f8, 18mm, ISO200 53°3′11″N 1°27′13″W
A wet stile.
1/45 at f8, 10mm, ISO200 53°3′16″N 1°27′12″W

Passing through more fields, we eventually descended into a place called Bullbridge.

Coloured drainpipes in a farm in town.
1/45 at f5.6, 22mm, ISO400 53°3′50″N 1°27′29″W
Side window of farm building.
1/60 at f5.6, 20mm, ISO400 53°3′50″N 1°27′29″W

I think there was a disused railway bridge or so, but we ended up skirting patches of damp to cross a field, then over the still-used railway line.

Tunnel view from railway crossing. (It's raining.)
1/90 at f8, 250mm, ISO800 53°4′7″N 1°27′29″W

Crossing more muddy fields and eventually something that was practically a swamp, we emerged into the town of Crich. This appears to be best-known for a disreputable vicar several hundred years ago. It also has a chipshop where lunch was obtained.

The town cross.
1/125 at f8, 22mm, ISO200 53°5′10″N 1°28′43″W

Leaving behind this den of debauchery, we took a road out of town and up a hill to a large memorial tower, Crich Stand. This is a memorial to soldiers in the local regiment who died in the world wars.

Still raining. Up on the top of the hill it was really damn cold; my fingers got completely numb, I could barely take pictures.
1/180 at f8, 70mm, ISO400 53°5′36″N 1°29′11″W
You can see for miles! Of grey.
1/45 at f8, 22mm, ISO200 53°5′39″N 1°29′16″W

We hadn't noticed it from the direction we approached, but the memorial is actually built on the edge of a huge quarry that ate up half the hill. Descending on the other side, we rounded the quarry's edge.

Quarry (memorial tower on left).
1/20 at f8, 22mm, ISO400 53°5′58″N 1°29′21″W
Bonfire on quarry base. This isn't a great picture, but it really reminds me of the gates of Mordor or something, so I left it in.
1/125 at f5.6, 250mm, ISO800 53°5′58″N 1°29′21″W
Telephoto view of some of the quarry wall with memorial on top.
1/350 at f5.6, 100mm, ISO800 53°5′58″N 1°29′21″W

Continuing downhill, we reached the edge of the National Tramway Museum (which was closed). I presume the trams were all safely home indoors. (Before it was a tramway museum, a railway had been built here to carry minerals from the quarry.)

Tram tracks.
1/45 at f5.6, 10mm, ISO200 53°5′59″N 1°29′27″W

Still further downhill, we found and indeed walked through more of the quarry - but this was a little less dramatic, since trees and copious undergrowth grew all over. Still, it was quite an impressive place.

Trees and rocky quarry-edge cliffs.
1/20 at f3.5, 10mm, ISO400 53°5′27″N 1°30′9″W

Finally we followed the railway and canal to Whatstandwell station, where we discovered that the bus would arrive before the train, so got that back.

Having diverged from the mainline, the railway is single-track at this point.
1/20 at f4.5, 22mm, ISO400 53°5′13″N 1°30′21″W
Mmm, that canal water looks so clean you could drink it!
1/20 at f4.5, 22mm, ISO400 53°5′12″N 1°30′21″W

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.