A Travellerspoint blog

Peak District, England 2021

Route: Hove - Alstonefield - Great Asby

rain 8 °C

MAY 2021

Considering it was a Friday afternoon and the start of a long bank holiday weekend, our journey to the Peak District National Park wasn’t too bad. A couple of motorway accidents caused us to detour or make slow progress, but we still arrived at our accommodation soon after 6:00pm. It had been a busy day as I (Malc) had my second Covid vaccination before we left Hove.
Home for the next two weeks was a very comfortable apartment on a farm in the southern section of the Peak District National Park (see below). The sprulling apartment had two bedrooms so Rob joined us for the first week. To add to the comfort, the view out of each window was beautiful. Rolling hills filled with sheep, fields bound by neat dry walling and small hamlets, could all be seen from our elevated position.

Our accommodation on the first floor on the right side of the photos

Our accommodation on the first floor on the right side of the photos

View from the front of our accommodation

View from the front of our accommodation

Arriving at Paddock Farm Accommodation

Arriving at Paddock Farm Accommodation

Break in the rain

Break in the rain



The weather forecast for our stay didn’t look too good. We needed to plan our activities carefully, avoiding the rain when ever possible.
Our first day started off sunny so we pilled into the car and headed for the town of Bakewell. A journey through the country side, passing quaint villages with picturesque buildings got us to our destination.
Bakewell is an attractive and bustling market town famous for its jam and frangipane tarts. It was busy the day we were there, due mainly to the good weather and it being the first bank holiday after lockdown. We spent a couple of hours looking around and sampling those famous tarts, before leaving for a less busy location deeper in the countryside. We had to cross a foot bridge from the car park into town and were intrigued by the large fish we could see in the river that flowed beneath it. The water was very clear so we could get a good look at them, later finding out that they were wild Rainbow Trout.

Bakewell

Bakewell

Bakewell houses

Bakewell houses

On route back to our accommodation we stopped in the delightful village of Hartington. The plan was to look at the 13th century church, wander around the village and take in some outdoor refreshment (as part of the government plan out of Covid lockdown, pubs and restaurants can only serve food and drink outside at the moment). The church visit was completed successfully but before we could do anything else a sudden hail storm sent us racing back to the car and ended the days activities prematurely.

With the sunshine continuing into day two, further outdoor activities were the order of the day. Unfortunately Anne had hurt her foot so decided to sit out the days walk. The Tissington Trail (see below) looked of interest to Rob and I, so we selected two sections and set of to see what they had to offer. Our first section started just outside Hartington and took us north as far as Parsley Hay. We then turned around and retraced our steps. The elevated ground of the old railway line provided great views over the surrounding Peak District.

Hartington Railway signal box on the Tissington Trail

Hartington Railway signal box on the Tissington Trail

From Hartington we drove to Ashbourne, parked the car and started our second section of the Tissington Trail. This section was far more busy, with walker and cyclists everywhere. It was also more varied, if not so scenic. We first walked south to take in the Ashbourne tunnel then turned back and walked a couple of miles north before returning back to the car park. This part of the trail cuts through a much more built up area and is tree lined making it a different experience to that of our first section.

Tissington Trail, Ashbourne Railway Tunnel

Tissington Trail, Ashbourne Railway Tunnel

The following day it was all change. The rain had returned with vengeance and accompanied by strong winds. Rob and I braved the elements to go food shopping in Buxton, but beyond that it was a day of TV and board games.

Thankfully the rain abated by the next day but had not fully gone away. The three of us explored the Peak’s border town of Ashbourne in the morning. In the afternoon Rob and I dodged the heavy showers during a visit to Tissington Village.
Ashbourne is steeped in history with architecture from many periods. We parked in Market Square, the centre of the old town, and walked around the streets branching off from it. Endless shops selling local fare drew our interest making it hard to resist the lovely bread, cakes and other goodies that where on offer. Needless to say our willpower gave way to our desires and we brought home a number of things we didn’t really need.

Ashbourne main street

Ashbourne main street

When we embarked on the afternoon activities the sun was shining. It was still shining when we arrived in Tissington, then it became a game of cat and mouse. We would take cover under the trees in the church yard when the frequent downpours came and quickly explore the village during the brief spells of sunshine. Tissington is a very attractive village and well worth the visit, shame about the weather.

Tissington Hall

Tissington Hall

Mother duck and duckling

Mother duck and duckling

Coots and family

Coots and family

Tissington pond

Tissington pond

Ducklings

Ducklings

Chatsworth House was one of the key visits we wanted to achieve during Rob’s stay with us. We had been monitoring the weather and his last day looked the best bet, so we booked our tickets. Unfortunately the house wasn’t open due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the gardens were and that’s what we visited.
The House sits in a river valley with rolling Peak District hills all around. The gardens cover a vast area at the back of the house and stretch up a hillside. We started from the manicured lawns close to the house and then made our way up the hillside into the woodland. Water flowed all over the estate creating ponds and cutting gullies on its way. It had even been diverted to cascade down steps leading to the house. Unusual architectural structures were in abundance and complimented the natural woodland. Walking around the grounds kept us amused for almost two hours, it was then a quick visit to the gift shop before heading off to find a pub for lunch. As enjoyable as it was the £14.00 per person entry fee did seem a bit steep.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House and its gardens

Chatsworth House and its gardens

Art sculpture of concrete cube with forest eco system growing inside

Art sculpture of concrete cube with forest eco system growing inside

There are spy holes drilled in the concrete cube to view the forest growing inside

There are spy holes drilled in the concrete cube to view the forest growing inside

The maze

The maze

Some garden views in Chatsworth Ground

Some garden views in Chatsworth Ground

Water feature at Chatsworth House

Water feature at Chatsworth House

At this point in the UK’s Covid-19 recovery period, pubs were now open but only able to serve food and drink outside. With not all pubs having outside facilities this did restrict our choice. We choose The Bull in the lovely village of Ashford in the Water and were lucky that they had a tables available. The sun was shining so we selected a table without the protection of a canopy. This decision soon turned out to be foolhardy as almost as soon as we sat down dark clouds appeared and drops of rain quickly followed. Spotting a table under the cover of the canopy we swiftly changed location just as the havens opened very soon afterwards. The food and drink were very nice but the cold soon got to us, so we paid and left. By now the sun had come out again which encouraged us to look around the village before heading home.

It was now time for Rob to leave us, he had to go back to work, what ever that is? Oh yes, I remember, we used to have to do that.
Therefore after a leisurely start to the day we drove him to Derby railway station and bid him a fond farewell, then returned to the apartment for lunch. The weather had now taken a turn for the worse once again so we chilled out for the rest of the day.

We had identified a local walk we wanted to do. The following morning with the sun shining we made our way to the little village of Wetton, just a few miles away.
This was a circular walk that took us out of the village and up into the Wetton hills. As we gained height the views became more and more spectacular. The route then descended into a steep sided valley that cut its way between two hills before emerging at the Manifold River, all the time weaving between flocks of sheep and lambs, obviously very used to walkers as they could barely be bothered to move out of our path.

Peak District Scenery walking in Wetton Hills

Peak District Scenery walking in Wetton Hills

We followed the Manifold River for a while with the sight of Thor cave high up on a hill in front of us. The cave has been formed by an ancient river, with land movement eventually exposing it as a gaping hole in the hillside. In the past it has been used as a shelter for animals and humans, with remains of a Giant Red Deer and Bear found during excavations.

View towards Thor Cave

View towards Thor Cave

Thor Cave

Thor Cave

Our route now took us up a muddy a slippery slop before emerging back into the village of Wetton. A very enjoyable walk indeed and it remained sunny without even a hint of rain, that arrived later.

Rain dominated proceedings for the remainder of our stay limiting what we were able to do. One day was a complete wash out and on some of the others we were limited to a bit of sightseeing and chores, whilst dodging heavy showers.
One of those chores involved a visit to the Minor Injuries Unit at Buxton Hospital. Which can now be added to the list of hospitals visited around the world during the past five years of travelling.
Anne had injured her shoulder a couple months ago but felt that it was getting better, albeit very slowly. Then she slipped in the shower and made it worse. The injury consisted of a sharp pain in the right shoulder when ever she moved it beyond a certain angle. We therefore felt it was time to get some medical advice, hence our hospital visit. The paramedic on duty believed the cause of the pain was the result of damage to the Rotator Cuff tendons. He suggested anti-inflammatory treatment and specific exercises and if it doesn’t improve an MRI. So for the moment we are following his advice and will arrange an MRI, if necessary, when we get back to Brighton next month.

However, not all of our last few days in the Peak District were affected by rain, we did have two sunny days, which we made the most of.

For the first, we decided to visit the historic site of Minninglow Hill. From the car park we climbed up onto a disused railway line and began our walk with Minninglow Hill every present in our line of sight. This elevated position gave us great views over the Derbyshire Dales (incorporated in the southern section of the Peak District National Park) and a fine vantage point to appreciate some 19th century engineering (the railway line was built in the 1820’s making it one of the oldest in the world). As the line bent to the contours of the land we could see the impressive rock structure it had been built upon.

Trail along the top of the old Railway line

Trail along the top of the old Railway line

View over the old railway line

View over the old railway line

Just after an old quarry and rusting railway machinery we entered a field and began to climb. Our goal was a ring of trees perched on the top of Minninglow Hill. Once at the top a gap in the trees allowed us to enter what seemed like another world. A circle of trees formed an enclosure, one that had been in use since Neolithic times. In the centre were stone structures used for burials during the Bronze Age and earlier. Excavations in the 19th century found the chambers below the stones to contain human bones, including one full skeleton. They also found Roman coins and Romano-British pottery.

Minninglow Hill Burial Site

Minninglow Hill Burial Site

Bronze Age bowls barrow

Bronze Age bowls barrow

Our route now descended down the other side of the hill carefully negotiating a field with a bull in it. To be fare, he was on the opposite side from us and surrounded by all his girls and their offspring. That danger safely avoided we reached a farm lane only to discover we had also avoided another. At this point a sign informed us that the area we had just crossed could have hidden mine-shafts and should we fall down one, to inform the Coal Authority.

Warning signs of BULL

Warning signs of BULL

Caution: mine shafts

Caution: mine shafts

At this point we took a short detour to look at an old victorian pump house, before following a narrow lane back to our starting point. Another enjoyable walk with a bit of British history thrown in for good measure.

On the second sunny day we chose to challenge ourselves with a longer walk. We started from the delightful village of Hartington. From the centre of the village we climbed steadily, taking in magnificent views all around us, before descending into the small hamlet of Biggin.

Hartington

Hartington

Hartington Walk

Hartington Walk

Our route now took us along the bottom of a steep sided valley known as Biggin Dale. The grassy approach was pleasant underfoot but this soon turned to loose stones which made the going more ponderous.

Biggin Dale walk

Biggin Dale walk

We emerged from Biggin Dale at the River Dove then followed it up-stream through first Wolfscote Dale and then Beresford Dale. Steep cliffs reached up either side of us as we followed the river’s path. Dippers and Grey Wagtails fed in the fast flowing water and seemed oblivious to our presence.

Orchids

Orchids

Dipper

Dipper

Walking in the Peak District NP

Walking in the Peak District NP

Finally we left the river to climb a small hill, then it was down hill back into Hartington. As a reward for our exertions and to support the local economy in these difficult times, we lingered in the village purchasing some local produce. Loaded with numerous bottles of beer, cakes, jams, pastries, etc, we returned to the car and drove home.

That brought an end to our Peak District visit and the following day we drove north for further adventures.

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Peak District National Park
The Peak District is an upland area in centre of England at the southern end of the Pennines. Mostly in northern Derbyshire, it includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.
It is usually split into the Dark Peak, where most moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the White Peak, a limestone area of valleys and gorges that cut through the limestone plateau.
The Dark Peak forms an arc on the north, east and west sides; whilst the White Peak covers the central and southern tracts.
It became the first National Park of England and Wales in 1951 and its proximity to Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield brings millions of visitors each year. Some 20 million people live within an hour's journey.
Inhabited from the Mesolithic era, it shows evidence from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. Settled by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, it remained largely agricultural until mining grew in importance in the Middle Ages. Richard Arkwright built cotton mills early in the industrial revolution. As mining declined, quarrying grew then tourism followed.
Today it is a mecca for walking, cycling, rock climbing and caving.

Peak District Views

Peak District Views

Scenery in the Peak District

Scenery in the Peak District

Main road in the Peak District, don't want to meet a tractor coming the other way

Main road in the Peak District, don't want to meet a tractor coming the other way

Sunset in the Peak District

Sunset in the Peak District

Tissington Trail
The London and North Western Railway (LNWR), between Buxton and Ashbourne, first opened in 1899. Following the closure of the line around seventy years later, the Peak District National Park bought the route and turned it into a traffic free trail for walkers and cyclists. Now known as the Tissington Trail, it runs for 13 miles from Parsley Hay in the north to Ashbourne in the south.

Tissington Trail

Tissington Trail

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House is a stately home in the Derbyshire Dales. It’s the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has belonged to the Cavendish family since 1549. The house stands on the east bank of the River Derwent, across from hills between the Derwent and Wye valleys, amid parkland backed by wooded hills that rise to heather moorland. The house holds major collections of paintings, furniture, Old Master drawings, neoclassical sculptures and books. Chosen several times as Britain's favourite country house, it is a Grade I listed property from the 18th century, altered in the 19th. The property is owned by the Chatsworth House Trust, a fully independent charitable foundation, on behalf of the Cavendish family.

Chatsworth House Grand View

Chatsworth House Grand View

Posted by MAd4travel 11:33 Archived in England

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Comments

Sitting outside enjoying a drink in the UK in May and getting hailstoned on!!! What crazy weather we have!!!

by irenevt

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