Four spectacular Derbyshire images across the Derwent Valley
PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 01 September 2020
Stunning images of Belper, Heage, Duffield and the Chevin in the Derwent Valley
About the photographer:
Ashley has been a professional photographer for over 15 years, during which time his images of town and countryside have graced the pages of Derbyshire Life. His commercial work has taken him all over the county, with major commissions from Derby Cathedral Quarter (official photographer since 2008), Derbyshire County Council (photographing parks, walkways, cycle paths), Derbyshire Dales (local industry), Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills, DerwentWise, Mercia Marina, Milford Care Homes and T C Harrison Ford plus estate agents, builders, hotels, pubs, restaurants, charities and children’s nurseries.
In more recent years Ashley has run an annual May workshop in Tuscany with landscape photographer Wayne Brittle.
Most of Ashley’s local landscape photography is focused on the Derwent Valley where he lives, especially as he is working towards the publication of the first photo book and exhibition of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in 2021.
AUTUMN MIST, EYES MEADOW, DUFFIELD
This image won a major award in the Trees, Woods & Forests category of the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2019, which attracts 19,000 entries worldwide. This view of Eyes Meadow is one I see virtually every day when I go to collect my newspaper and it can be an eye-gladdening sight in autumn. I like to think my image is a visual evocation of writer Horatio Clare’s observation that autumn results in ‘more colours than we have names for’.
AUTUMN MIST, THE CHEVIN
Although the Peak District is on my doorstep, the Derwent Valley calls to me more, especially this walkway which is almost literally on my front door; it’s at the top of my back garden. The Chevin has dramatic canopies of snaggly trees with gnarled branches which can look so atmospheric on a misty autumn morn. This image reminds me of one of my favourite quotes about photography: ‘A great photograph is a distillation, a reduction of the chaos of our wider experience to a visually satisfying essence’ – David Ward.
I could have chosen any one of many satisfying images I’ve taken of Belper Mill since I moved to neighbouring Milford 43 years ago. I love this image for the way the redbrick glows in the evening sun. The Derwent was once called ‘Britain’s hardest working river’ – when this mill was at the core of the Industrial Revolution story – and as the mill is no longer working, I thought it fitting to take a long exposure so the river waters appear tranquil and still, allowing this majestic relic to stand proud and sentinel.
When I stated in a previous Derbyshire Life article about Heage that: ‘there is something about the shape, lines, singularity and sheer nobility of a windmill that makes it one of the most prepossessing sights on Earth’ I was invited to become a trustee of this lofty, exalted icon which is now a great visitor attraction. It’s not a relic, it’s been lovingly restored and mills its own flour, which is why I wanted to display this image showing the sails turning. If the wind is up, flour can be produced.