Thursday 23 August 2018

First Ever Visit to Creswell Crags

With a spot of time off work my plans to do something interesting and adventurous haven't really come to anything  before now due to exhaustion, and this has been frustrating.

I was going to sleep out  under the stars the last couple of nights to test some of my camping gear, but it has rained. Pity, I would love to have done a little micro adventure like that this week. Might yet still do so, cold temps or not.

The powers that be behind micro adventuring are always saying "oh just head up the nearest hill and do it" - easy enough if you are in commuter belt Surrey but not in a town like this. I don't know if I'd feel safe sleeping out alone anywhere near here.

So, today, I woke up early and headed out to Cresswell Crags, a gorge on the Notts / Derbyshire border and a ballache to get to by train despite the fact it is only 20 miles away as the crow flies; it is more like 40 by rail.

It is essentially a gorge that contains caves that contain signs of prehistoric human occupation going back to Neanderthals 60,000 years ago through various other human cultures going back to about 15,000 years ago. There are axe heads, animal skulls such as hyena and lynx (!!!) and most importantly the only cave art to be ever found in the UK, and the so called Ochre Horse, an etching of a horse on bone and the only pre-historic so called "portable" drawing of an animal ever found in Britain.

I certainly enjoyed being outside in the fresh air today, maybe there is something to the suggestion I read that being near oxygen producing trees creates a feeling of wellbeing. Although they don't when I'm trying to draw the bloody things- my sketch of the crags I did today is unpublishably bad.

It is a dramatic setting and free to visit, but to actually go in one of the caves is pretty expensive. I contented myself with making a couple of circuits of the crags, and having a cup of tea in the cafe, watched by a great tit who came to sit on the balcony edge, attracted by the rustle of free posh biscuit wrapper.

Plenty of wildflowers here, comfrey was very abundant and much enjoyed by the common carder bees present in numbers - they are always the commonest bumble on the wing late in the season.

Enjoy the dramatic rockscapes!



  1. Great photos as always. I once asked at a garden centre for Comfrey and was told "We dont sell weeds..."

  2. Always exciting when you find a new place to visit,
    like you say its good to be out in the fresh air.

  3. Looks a great place for a leisurely stroll or nature ramble. The only thing I have seen in Creswell, many years ago, was the fantastic well dressing.
    I got an identical comment from 'Gmail sign up'. Not for the first time. I mark them as spam in the hopes that if enough people do that they will eventually get filtered out or blocked.

  4. Thanks all, yes that spam is getting annoying now. I had a good day there, surprisingly exhausted today though

  5. A lovely post Simon - it is a place I would really love to go to. It is always good to go somewhere new. My son travels a lot by train and he would sympathise with how hard it can be to get to certain places! Still seeing plenty of Common Carders in my garden :)

  6. Beautiful rivers, and the mountain entrance, wonderful.

  7. Never heard of micro adventures. Thanks for improving my education. One is never too old to learn!

  8. Looks like a wonderfully dramatic place to visit and with all that interesting prehistory to it too