There is nothing better for those winter-weary bones than the feeling that spring is in the air. Yesterday was such a day. Tired legs felt energised after the smell of the earth, the visions of stones and branches covered in lichen greenery and a glimpse of sun. Seeing the landscape shake off its russet winter tones and be renewed in life-giving green.
It was still quite misty when we arrived at midday. There are plenty of trails through the woods and grounds at Longshaw. My favourite is the short walk by the stream known as Burbage Brook. The water was running fierce and fast. I kept an eye out for the little stoat I spotted last time but alas he did not come to say hello. Curlews, stonehatches and adders are amongst the wildlife you might be lucky enough to see here.
I was fascinated by the twisted branches of the trees, the tracery of winter branches still without spring buds, the misty moors in the distance, the stones speckled with lichen. Higger Tor, the dramatic gritstone on the Dark Peak. It all sounds very Bronte and North Yorkshire not Derbyshire, although strictly speaking, I believe it comes under Sheffield. I love this wild bit of the world.
I don't know why I had never been in Fox House Inn before, but we had a wonderful and quite healthy lunch there and the food was delicious. It does get busy and it is best advised to book a table.
Longshaw is a National Trust property that is free to the public with a cafe, shop and toilets, just 3 miles from Hathersage. It also has a kitchen garden.
Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2016