Curbar Edge with Baslow Edge in the background

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A Derbyshire Childhood

I was born in Buxton some 71 years ago. In the days when shanks pony was the only way of getting around our Derbyshire Dales. A bus ride to Monsal or Matlock if the bus time table was right or even if they were running in the war years or a train to Millers Dale and the rest on foot. Jam or meat paste butties with a bottle of water or pop if we were lucky carried in my school satchel. I've paddled in the River Wye. Rolled down the grassy hill slopes. Jumped the stepping stones at Monsal and Dove Dale. A picture of the latter adorns my lounge wall here in Australia.

I have walked many a mile around all the villages surrounding Buxton and Cowdale, Flagg, Taddington, Monsal Dale, Dove Dale, the moors at the Cat and Fiddle. Picked water cress from the shallow reaches of the Wye. Collected bilberries, wild pansies and cowslips, bluebells, harebells, wood anemones, shivering grass etc. Sticky buds and catkins in Spring and scuffed through the fallen Autumn leaves and waded through waist high snow.

The magnificent Shire of Derbyshire. I saw it all in a far more pristine condition than anyone does today. I will always remember my child hood growing up in beautiful Derbyshire. The long double daylight saving of the war years we could take advantage of. My parents would take us on so many walking adventures. Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter produced ever changing and wonderful scenery.

The caves were a source of delight where our fantasies took over. Imagining bygone days of highwaymen and cave dwellers. Such history. Such wonder. I am so pleased to be able to share these memories of mine with you.

Written by Dorothy Bonfield, 2001

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