The view from Solomon’s Temple was particularly fine this morning. Not a cloud in the sky and the early morning mist creeping across the hillside below as it spread in from the Goyt Valley. Buxton was laid out below stripped of the fog and the mist, and there was a hint of Spring in the air and a spring in the step of most of the walkers, campers and dog walkers who had ventured up to the tower. There was something not quite right though. The woods below were filled with birds singing and generally going about their business. Dogs were fetching sticks that their owners had dropped. I had had to take my jacket off, and Lilly the Collie was under a tree, guarding her ball and panting in the heat. Heat. That was what was wrong. It was warm and there was no wind. Not even the gentlest of breezes to caress the fevered brow. A group of runners huffed and puffed their way up the slope. They were struggling for breath and despite putting on brave faces and giving us a cheery wave I don’t think they were enjoying themselves.
I lingered on the top of the hill for longer than normal. The view is panoramic and you can see most of Buxton spread out below you. Of course it looks different from up here. You can understand the town better, how it has grown, perhaps how it will spread in the future. The thing that really strikes me though is the woods that surround the town, mainly a legacy from the Dukes of Devonshire as they sought to hide the scars from the various industries that were part of the landscape and fabric of the town. Spoil heaps and tips did not sit well with the marketing blurb trying to sell Buxton as the Bath of the North. Whether by accident or design the woods will be vital in determining how the town grows in the future.
Walking back through the woods, I stopped to look at the forest ride that has recently been opened up. There were small woodland birds everywhere and despite the felling, already one can appreciate how it will look it a couple of years. I was briefly tempted to nip home and grab a flask and some water for Lilly and spend a couple of hours just sitting and watching the wood and the world go by. But I had lots to do and many promises to keep.