To mark the tenth anniversary of the opening up of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, Ashley - along with Mike Warner - published Derbyshire Ramblings, based on their popular articles in Derbyshire Life magazine.
The book is available online in softback. Click here to purchase
This book's playful title Derbyshire Ramblings - Walking in Circles Down The Derwent Valley - is intended to show this is no commonplace walks guidebook. It will equally appeal to non-walkers as an entertaining coffee table trip down the 55-mile Heritage Way, through Ashley's whimsical yet interesting and informative prose complemented by his stunning colour photos along with images of the area’s wildlife, taken by the region’s finest nature photographers.
John Betjeman observed that 'Derbyshire has every kind of scenery except the sea'. Even within what is still a narrow band of the county, we traversed dams, dales, hills, plains, gorges, edges, bridges, fields and meadows, encompassing satanic mills and stirring monuments, palatial halls and picturesque cottages, tall towers, toll houses, wharf warehouses plus - along with the River Derwent itself - canals, lakes, streams, fords, weirs and waterfalls, plus a haunted cave, a famous fountain, a wonderful windmill, a stadium of pride, a stone circle 'even better than Stonehenge and Avebury', and a silver birch wood so enchanting that if a fairytale princess had appeared astride a unicorn, no one would have batted an eyelid. They also went to some great pubs.
Along the Way, Ashley and Mike unearthed quite a few fascinating facts, myths and mysteries about the Derwent Valley as well as a few things about life, the universe and everything to do with walking, including:
• Why the source of the Derwent is Britain's only true desert
• How two Peakland villages disappeared
• Why the Emperor of all fountains was built
• Why the Romans gave us not just roads, the aqueduct, medicine, education, irrigation, public order and wine but also nettles
• Why a lawyer's wig is good for alcoholics
• Why there were plastic handles on the trees in a corner of Shining Cliff Wood
• Why, without Milford, there would be no Manhattan
• What became of Florence Nightingale's Crimea War slippers
• What links the Derwent Valley with the Grand Canyon
• Why a mill owner's celebration of his new chimney put a new meaning on the phrase 'high tea'
• Why Lawrence of Arabia was a regular visitor to Shardlow
• Why a Duffield cow saw Ashley and turned into a bull
• How a Little Eaton woman lived in a bacon box for 20 years
• Why Mike has walked virtually every public footpath in the UK - probably twice
• Why a so-called 'walking artist' walked backwards for 10 kilometres while blindfolded and called it 'fantastic.' Actually, that's easy to answer: because he's a blithering idiot.
Derbyshire Ramblings details 19 brand new circular walks, devised by Mike, taking in the breadth, beauty and variety of the Derwent Valley.
To order the book online, please click here.