Posted by: lensweb | June 12, 2018

Would you like to go on a LENS Walk?


June 11 Monday Anchor Cave Ingleby

Meet 7pm layby on road after John Thompson Inn DE73 7HW

Approx 2.5miles, very steep hill

Leader Dominic Bryce

This walk started well, it was one of the best evenings, it was my birthday, the sun was shining and we managed to squeeze all of our cars into the unkempt layby on the Ingleby Road. Eleven of us snaked up the slope between the wire fence guidelines. Red and cream papery fruits of common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and tiny sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella) spangled the ubiquitous wavy hair grass (Deschampsia flexuosa). A donkey peeped up at us from the farmhouse below and soon we had a very fine view out over the Trent Valley.2c2m10

Since 2015 this has been subject to gravel extraction as Swarkestone Quarry continues to expand. It was a great spot for birdwatching, swift, goosander and cormorant were spotted from our great height.

Great oaks formed a parade along the edge of the sandstone escarpment, drunken bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) stems lolled, swollen with green fruit barrels. As we followed a mountain goat path (with missing parts) clinging to the side of the sandstone cliff we could admire wood sage (Teuchrium scorodonium) and the coppery forking flowers of great woodrush (Luzula sylvatica) which leaned over the calamitous precipice. It was a slippery slope down beneath large lime trees to the banks of the old River Trent.

We relaxed as white flowers of river crowfoot sashayed in the river water flow with yellow plastic cups of water lily (Nuphar lutea). Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) and water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) crept out of ancient stones. Banded agrions formed an archway of great clubrush (Luzula sylvatica), to a swan’s nest. A bright red cardinal beetle was photographed as shining green dock beetles skeletonised broad leaved dock leaves. Meadow rue (Thalictrum flavum) was spotted but also of the unwelcome alien, Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandifera), there was plenty. The tuneful garden warbler contrasted with the Cetti’s staccato insistence. Then stepping stones helped us across the last obstacle to the Grade II listed religious site.


The Anchor Church is a series of caves which have been extended by human intervention to form a crude dwelling place, complete with door and window holes. The name is derived from the term anchorite (meaning to withdraw into the countryside) because it is thought to have been the cell of St Hardulph, a hermit, in the 6th century. In the Middle Ages, the caves were used by a monk named Bernard, doing penance. Records of the caves exist from 1658 when it is mentioned in Repton church records. Sir Francis Burdett of Foremarke Hall enlarged the caves in 1865, fitting a door and a set of steps to the main entrance, forming part of the romantic landscape of Foremarke Hall and its park. Thank you Wikipaedia.

The sandstone outcrop once formed part of the banks of the River Trent and the caves were formed by the action of the river on the rock. The course of the river has altered and left the caves opening onto a backwater pool. It has been designated as both a Regionally Important Geological Site, and as a Local Wildlife Site


A spike of creamy flowers growing out of the rocks from a rosette of succulent green, dimpled round leaves, was wall pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris) also known as navelwort, it is a rare plant in Derbyshire. We didn’t try to fish for the shining pondweed (Potamogeton lucens), which lurks in the swift flowing brown backwater channel below the rocks.


All was good, we enjoyed exploring the caves and we really should have continued to walk back along the road but, we decided to walk back along the top of the escarpment. The path which had been so obvious a few weeks previously was now rough ploughed and over grown, was it just a common path? Evening scents are strong, we pushed through bracken and foxglove, along a field edge with arable weeds, chamomile (Anthemis cotula), field pansy (Viola arvensis)  and field forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis), back to the lime trees to repeat our outward adventure. We had a mutiny and three of our party made their own way back along the top fields. There were stumbles and mumbles and a nuclear explosion of a sunset as we waited for the whole party to reassemble and 11 of us returned home safely. But have we still got 11 members?


Marion Bryce 12 June 2018



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