Chee Dale, Derbyshire Every so often, looming out of the mist, I’d encounter the massive arch of a viaduct, like Inca ruins lost in the jungle

Grike is a northern English word, probably of Norse origin, used most commonly for the solution fissures that characterise limestone pavements, and therefore not often heard in upland Derbyshire, which has almost none. But I can’t help thinking of Chee Dale as a colossal grike. The familiar version offers protection to juicy plants from the ever-voracious sheep and Chee Dale does something similar.

Above Litton, early in the morning, a mower had already cut a field for silage, leaving it shorn and lemony. Down in the valley, just beyond the line of pretty terraced cottages at Blackwell Mill, I entered a different world, a canyon thrumming with vegetation, primeval and unkempt. It had rained overnight, and the surface of the Wye was steaming, mist billowing off the river and soaking the leaves of the overhanging ash and elm. At first I walked through drifts of ramsons, still flowering, still pungent, but as the tight walls of the valley closed in, I found myself waist deep in butterburs, my trousers soaked in seconds as I pushed through, vast black slugs reclining on their rhubarb-like leaves.

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Source: Guardian Environment