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Happy Happy Valley

May 03, 2014  •  4 Comments

In spite of my new black-out blinds, the sun woke me up early this morning. I lay in bed making plans for an early start into the Peak District on Monday which is a May Bank Holiday here in the UK. I pictured in my mind shafts of gentle sunlight breaking through the early morning mist across the bleak landscape and, of course, the obligatory bacon butty and cuppa with other ramblers in a quaint country cafe!

But then I had a sudden urge to get out into the sunshine today with my camera. Ok, so really I had a new lens I was keen to try!

Even though I've been exploring closer to home, I'm the first to admit that I often neglect what stands right on my doorstep. A few yards from my house lies Happy Valley -  an oasis of tranquility lying in the midst of suburbia. Oh how we can take for granted our surroundings. I've not walked here for months.

photo of happy valley stockport The nearby town of Stockport expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and became famous for hat-making. I traced ancestors who worked in the mills. In 1844 Friedrich Engels- we met him earlier in Marx, Engels and Mrs Banks - wrote in his work The Condition of the Working Class in England:

" Stockport is renowned throughout the entire district as one of the duskiest, smokiest holes, and looks, indeed, especially when viewed from the viaduct, excessively repellent But far more repulsive are the cottages and cellar dwellings of the working class, which stretch in long rows through all parts of the town from the valley bottom to the crest of the hill".

I take it he wasn't impressed with Stockport! Not very complimentary, but I imagine a true reflection...

photo of happy valley stockport The origins of the name Happy Valley are vague. Local stories suggest it goes back to the times when the mill workers came here for picnics and a breath of fresh air - an escape from the conditions described by Engels. Or perhaps, I suspect, more likely it was visited by the prosperous business folk living in the elegant houses on the outskirts of town - imagine them strolling along here in their finery and with parasols and wicker picnic baskets.

photo of happy valley stockport I was shocked to see how recent storms had taken their toll in the valley. The remains of old majestic trees were strewn along the banks of the Ladybrook River.

photo of happy valley stockport One of my favourite trees is still standing tall. The roots cling to the side of the bank which is eroding over time.

photo of happy valley stockport

I hoped to see a fine carpet of bluebells but it looked like I'd missed them in full bloom. 
photo of happy valley stockport I felt as if the warm sunshine was recharging my batteries. And the twittering birds were so loud!

photo of happy valley stockport In recent years I've had a slight balance problem with one of my ears and often the thought of crossing over the stepping stones makes my legs feel  wobbly. But today I took the plunge, so to speak, and crossed! Insignificant for some, but for me...

photo of happy valley stockport

In parts the overhanging trees form a tunnel along the path.

photo of happy valley stockport Considering the time of year, the water's low. There are times when the stepping stones are fully submerged. A pretty kingfisher flew low along  the river.  Together with the herons, he's on my bucket list of 'to take' photos down in the valley.

photo of happy valley stockport

On the opposite bank I had a clearer view of the old fallen tree. And can you see the mass of tree roots right along the bank?
photo of happy valley stockport I've not taken a selfie for a while.. so here's my latest! 

photo of happy valley stockport

I hope you enjoyed my short stroll to a place of tranquility! 

Enjoy your week! 

PS Two things I discovered about an ultra-wide angle lens:

  • you're actually standing MUCH closer to the edge of the river bank than the lens would suggest when looking through the viewfinder!
  • walking companions are constantly in the way!

 

If you've been out with your camera, please feel free to link up with me:

 

 


Comments

seabluelee(non-registered)
I enjoyed this walk so much! It's a beautiful spot. Your Happy Valley certainly made me happy this morning.
diana(non-registered)
What a beautiful location.
Kelly L McKenzie(non-registered)
Good for you to take the plunge and cross over to the other side. What a lovely part of the world. I also take my surroundings for granted. I was reminded of this when my daughter came back home for the summer and she kept going on and on about how big the mountains are. I forget to really look at them. They are splendid.
Have fun with the new lens!
Debbie(non-registered)
A beautiful spot! Like a storybook. Thanks for sharing and watch where your lens takes you!
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