Dimmingsdale has always been a very special place for us at Dougal's Den. When the pooches were pups it was one of our most favourite places to go for a walk so as I was feeling a tad sentimental after the passing of Dougal's brother Scooby last week I decided to have the morning off work and have a trip down memory lane. Dimmingsdale is often described as one of Staffordshire’s hidden gems. It is a beautiful valley which is a haven for walkers, nature lovers and those seeking tranquillity and spectacular scenery. It was very quiet when I arrived at 9am yesterday morning with only myself and two other walkers spotted. The stunning woodland walk has Lakes, streams and rivers and a mixture of broad leaf trees and spectacular Scots Pines and huge sandstone rocky outcrops which create spectacular scenery and an amazing haven for wildlife, which is beautiful at anytime of the year. It has changed a little over the years apart from the addition of a fence around the first lake where we spotted some ducks or rather they spotted us, unfortunately I had forgotten to bring any tasty treats for them but it was lovely to see them in the early morning sunshine.While we wandered through the lovely shaded wood I remembered the times we had been there before on walks with the dogs when Dougal and Scooby were little pups, they used to run up into the woods searching for rabbits. Many evenings we were there until it was almost dark waiting for them to eventually return, recall was never one of their strong points! It was unusually quiet in terms of other visitors yesterday which was really appropriate as I wanted to concentrate on the dogs and making sure that Dougal enjoyed his walk. We did hear and see some tree felling which was being carried out on the other side of the valley. It was indeed quite dramatic to hear the whining of the chain saw followed a few seconds later by the dramatic crash as the trees fell to earth, it really was a sight to behold from the safety of our side of the valley. I had to keep an eye on Dougal as some of the slopes down to the river are quite steep and I was a bit worried about his ability to get down in one piece, never mind my own ability to clamber down after him in the event of a rescue requirement. We are both almost 17 years older and our bodies don't always move like they used to. The new boy has only been there once before so he was kept firmly on the lead but I could tell that he was loving all the new sights and scents. It might be my imagination but I think that Dougal did remember where he was, especially when we got to the far lake and he simply could not resist going in for a cooling dip. Perhaps he remembered this is the place where he had his first proper swim, I remember that he and Scooby used to entertain the walkers by diving into the top lake to retrieve sticks and occasionally chase the odd duck or moorhen. It came as no surprise that Mr Tini (Ozzy) could not resist the inviting water. The top lake looked very dramatic in the still morning air. Even Dougal could not resist trying to fetch a stick from the water, he was not so keen on swimming so I had to throw it into the shallow water and he just paddled in, picked it up and had a little chew. The contrast in the young pup and the old boy was very dramatic, one so full of energy and excitement that he could hardly contain, and the other having the odd flash of memories from long ago with a feint wag of his tail and a wistful look up at me as if to say I used to be just like him or I remember this place. Lots of memories came flooding back to me including the time I brought my mum to Dimmingsdale, she loved the place completely and she had a huge picture on her wall of Dougal standing proud on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by the most amazing green backdrop, ready to dive into the lake. I could almost feel her looking down on us as we walked around the place she loved so much. All too soon it was time to head back, but visit to Dimmingsdale is complete without stopping at the Ramblers Retreat for a tasty snack or a cool drink so I shared a bacon sandwich with the pooches, just me, Dougal and Ozzy surrounded by our memories and hoping to make a few more together.