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Baslow (Derbyshire, England)
Member Name: tange
Baslow (Derbyshire, England)
Advantages: Pretty village on the edge of the Peak District
Disadvantages: Need a sunny day to appreciate it
~~~WHERE IS BASLOW?
Baslow can be found in the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire and is around three miles from Bakewell on the A619. It is close to Chatsworth Park, with its historic House, grounds and a lovely garden centre, and within driving distance of Sheffield and Chesterfield. We generally either go by bus or minibus - there are a few bus routes that run from Chesterfield that pass through Baslow; these get more frequent on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays, but it is still possible to travel there at other times (bus timetables are available via the Derbyshire County Council website www.derbyshire.gov.uk - follow the link to public transport).
During the summer we have a run round by bus and visit several little villages and larger towns (from Baslow you could go onto Bakewell, Eyam or Tideswell for example), so we get a Derbyshire Day Rover ticket - this means we can travel all day throughout Derbyshire for £5.00 (£2.50 for children and concessionary users).
~~~WHAT IS THERE TO DO IN BASLOW?
Although not a large place, Baslow is a pretty village that is actually surprisingly busy. The nice buildings alone (many of which have links to the Duke of Devonshire and Chatsworth) make it a charming village to visit, but there are a few places of interest that you MUST see.
The village is divided into three areas - Over End, Nether End and Bridge End. Each area has its own charm and distinct character. Nether End is probably the most popular with visitors and is the more modern village centre. It is in this area that the main shops, tea-rooms, etc are located and is also where you will find the village green, known as Goose Green. Over End is where you will see Baslow Hall (which was once the home of electrical pioneer Sebastion de Ferranti) and is now a hotel and restaurant. Bridge End is where the original settlement of Baslow began and is the area that surrounds the church, old bridge and ford across the Derwent River.
The village also has an annual Carnival and has a well dressing too - the village has quite a good community feel, although more and more of the cottages have started to be sold as holiday or summer residences in recent years. The village is an excellent base for exploring the Peak District and surrounding villages; there are some good walks of varying degrees of length and difficulty, many of which offer wonderful views of the Derwent Valley.
Tourist-wise the main place to visit is probably the church. St. Anne's is a lovely church with a tower and spire. The main body of the church dates from the 14th Century, but much of the church has been added to over the years. The features to note are the clock face on the tower that has the name Victoria and the date 1897 replacing the numerals (this was to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee), the coffin stone built into the doorway, the glass case containing a whip (this was originally used to dispel dogs from entering) and the part of a Saxon Cross. The churchyard itself is full of interesting stones and is a peaceful place for a wander on a nice day.
The Old Bridge is also on my list of must sees! This bridge has the honour of being the only bridge across the River Derwent not to be destroyed by flood. It was built in 1603 and has the remains of a Toll Hut next to it. The Old Bridge has since been replaced by the Devonshire Bridge; built after the First World War as part of a new road system to make the villages like Baslow more accessible.
Also look out for the stone gateposts, that serve as the only reminder of Baslow's former status as a Spa retreat. Baslow Hydro used to be a large building, complete with Hydropathic Hotel, tennis courts and other recreational amenities. It was a dominating place that unfortunately demolished in the 1930's.
~~~WHERE SHOULD I STAY, EAT & DRINK IN BASLOW?
For such a small place there are actually a few places where you can get a meal, do a bit of shopping and some good places to stay. We don't actually need to use the accommodation because we live so close, so I can only go on what people tell me. The Cavendish Hotel is one to go for if you want a bit of luxury - this elegant hotel is on the Chatsworth Estate and has some furnishings from the House. Located on Church Lane it is good choice for a special stay - some friends of ours have had wedding receptions here and have stayed here on their Wedding Night. It is quite expensive, but apparently well worth it for the service and pampering! Fischer's Baslow Hall (which I mentioned earlier) is also in the higher price bracket, but is also apparently well worth it if you can afford it.
There are a few holiday cottages and guest houses around and about, but I would probably recommend staying outside the village if you want something a bit cheaper - Bubnells Cliff Farm just outside the village or the Rutland Arms, for example, do B&B for quite a bit less than the big hotels. There is also a caravan site near Nether End, but I have never stayed there.
For a meal or snack I would recommend the Goose Green Tea Rooms, the Rutland Arms, the Devonshire Arms or the Wheatsheaf. The Tea Rooms has nice views of the village green and does a good selection of hot and cold food - it's also open seven days a week which is worth knowing.
The Rutland Arms on Carver Road is probably my favourite of the village pubs, although more for the beer than meals. We have eaten there, but are generally to be found in the lovely beer garden on a summer Sunday! The beer garden overlooks the river and the bridge and serves food lunchtimes and evenings (all day at weekends). The food selection is good and well cooked and the pub is a "proper" pub with quiz nights, Real Ale, etc. The Devonshire Arms and Wheatsheaf are also ok for food, but the Devonshire is quite pricey and the menu at the Wheatsheaf is a little like a chain pub.
Baslow is a lovely place to visit and, as I said before, is a great base for a holiday in the Derbyshire area. I wouldn't class it as a holiday destination in its own right and don't think there's enough to keep you occupied if you didn't travel to other places during your stay. A weekend break is probably enough if you aren't planning to explore other places (pop over to Chesterfield and say hello to me), but a longer stay is certainly called for if you are willing to arm yourself with a bus timetable and a Day Rover ticket! It's a lovely place to visit, but you do need the weather to be on your side too - a sunny day is the time to see the pretty buildings and scenery at their best.
A visit to Chatsworth is also a recommended combination to your visit to Baslow - you should allow a good few hours to appreciate the grounds, the beautiful House, the Adventure Playground, Garden Centre and Farm Shop. Round this off with a look around Baslow and a meal in one of the pubs and I think you have the recipe for a grand day out!
Call in and see this bustling village on the edge of the Peak District - I think you'll be glad you came!
Summary: A small and friendly village near to Sheffield and Chesterfield.
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