Curiosity 1 - Arbor Low (93) SK160635
Although we did pass the intriguing carved sign at the Bull i'th' Thorn on the way, we neglected to photograph it, so our curiosity hunt began at Arbor Low, a neolithic henge. Like Stonehenge if all the stones had fallen over. Its relatively low profile (down a tiny back road, very few signs to it, and only an honesty box for the admission fee) made it feel a bit more special, and the views over the Peak District were fabulous.
Curiosity 2 - Rowtor Rocks (31) SK235621
Hidden in the trees behind the Druid Inn, Rowtor Rocks is an amazing jumble of boulders, tunnels and carved rocks. Hewn out be a mysterious Reverend, there are rooms, armchairs, a giant rocking stone and even a bizarre bus stop. Great fun, and remarkably interactive as curiosities go. This was proper confirmation that curiosity hunting was definitely a good idea.
Curiosity 3 - Melbourne 'Birdcage' (94) SK387249
Taking advantage of the fact that this weekend represented the last day of the year when the grounds of Melbourne Hall were open and an unusually high local curiosity density, we made the long drive South to Melbourne Hall. Hidden in the gardens amongst lots of daft statues was this intriguing wrought iron structure dating all the way from 1705. Strangely Frank Rodgers found this so curious that he put it in the book twice:
Curiosity 4 - Melbourne 'Birdcage' Roof (95) SK387249
Curiosity 5 - Yew Tree Tunnel (96) SK 387249
Still in the grounds of Melbourne Hall, and almost unnoticeable until we were actually in it, is this rather ace tunnel of wizened yew trees. Over 100 yards long, and thought to have been planted during the reign of Charles I, it's a pretty unique feature. All gardens should have one (as well as a maze).
Curiosity 6 - An Uncrowned King (126) SK390262
This unassuming cross in the nearby village of Kings Newton is apparently the only such monument in the country to mark the succession to the throne of King Edward VIII (who was never crowned). The cross in itself wasn't particularly exciting, and normally I'd have walked past it without giving it a second glance, so it was nice to have the book give it an interesting context.
Curiosity 7 - Cruck House (97) SK 385251
After spending some time driving aimlessly around Melbourne (which is not a big place), we eventually managed to locate this 18th Century thatched house (the rerouting of the B587 at some point in the last 30 years didn't help). The big wooden frame at the end of the house is made from two halves of a single tree trunk, which makes this pretty unusual. Further curiousness (although not an actual curiosity) was added by the nearby almshouses built by a Mr Thomas Cook (yes, that one).
Curiosity 8 - A Converted Windmill (45) SK377245
Lurking in the car park of Staunton Harold reservoir, this tower looked like some kind of misguided 60s edifice. It turns out that it's actually much older than that, and was once a windmill.
Curiosity 9 - Horseshoe Bridge (65) SK356240
This was another one of those curiosities that you'd normally drive straight past without noticing. A relic from a long-defunct early 19th Century railway, the curious aspect of the bridge is the odd way the arch bulges out above the ground, like a horseshoe.
Curiosity 10 - Village Lock-Up (23) SK349190
I didn't fancy our chances of finding this one, with the book describing it only as being somewhere in the village of Smisby, but we spotted it easily enough. It was sitting oddly on the edge of somebody's garden, with no apparent purpose, but back in the days of yore this was where the village drunks were locked up to cool off overnight. I don't recall ever noticing one of these 'lock-ups' before, but now I know what to look for I've noticed several of them in rural villages around the country.
Curiosity 11 - Lullington Spud (7) SK249129
The most distant curiosity from our house, the oddly named church in Lullington is notable for having a clock, but no clock faces. The only way of telling the time is when the bells chime the hours. Sadly we arrived at ten past the hour, and there didn't seem to be enough to entertain us in Lullington for the next fifty minutes, so we just had to imagine the bells.