I live not to far form the Derbyshire border and quite often visit some of the picturesque villages that frequent the beautiful place that lies within.
Every time I visit one of the villages...places like Eyam (pronounced Eem... see my review, plug...plug...), Stoney Middleton and Castleton, famous for its Blue John...I am always amazed by the stunning scenery and the total peace and tranquillity of my surroundings...
However, this review is about the beautiful little village called Edale....
** WHERE IS IT...?
Edale is a small village in Derbyshire, just off the A6187...overlooked by the beautiful Mam Tor, Lose Hill and Kinder Scout, with many little Hamlets around its edge, such as Barber Booth and Ollerbrook Booth.
Apart form the beautiful scenic route into the village by car there is also an excellent train service which runs from either Sheffield or Manchester...
The single road going right through the village allows for traffic and can be a little busy at times so do take care when walking through...
If you do travel by car then there is a good sized car park at the beginning of the village road, with toilet facilities, a civic hall type building and a little information post.
Also, there are more parking places in the train station car park which is accessed on the left, before the bridge, as you turn onto the road into the village... both these car parks are pay and display (requiring registration numbers for the tickets).
Other car parking can be found at the centre of the village, near the post office and the Nags Head public house, although these are more often taken by locals and early risers...
** WHAT'S THERE?...
Edale is a small village with a big heart... consisting of two public houses, The Rambler, which is perfectly placed as you enter the village, being less than a minute from the train station...also, near the train station, there is a little café with inside and outside seating areas.
There is another public house called the Old Nags Head, which is situated at the far end of the road in what can be seen as the heart of the village... both public houses serve delicious food and both are very welcoming to all who visit.
Then, also in the village heart, there is a post office/general store and a very well organised café... these building are situated at the entrance to Coopers campsite, which is not the only campsite in the area but is one of the main ones...(see my review on Coopers campsite...plug...plug).
There is also a small school for all the local children who are lucky enough to be growing up in such a tranquil place....
Also along the road lies a youth Hostel, some self catering cottages, an information centre and several camp/caravan sites of all different sizes....plus a rather stunning church with some very old grave stones in a walled area opposite.
But the main attraction for the area has to be the beautiful scenery and sometimes challenging hikes... especially with the village of Edale being where the Pennine Way begins...
** DINING AND DRINKING...
As I said, there are two cafes, the Penny Pot café near the station and Coopers café near the post office. There is also food served in both 'Ye old Nags Head and the Rambler...
I have tried and tested them all and can honestly say that they are all clean, very welcoming and serve some delicious meals...
Both the public houses are very clean and pleasant to attend... serving some fine ales and your usual bottled bears, shorts and wines...
The atmosphere in both establishments has always been friendly and I personally have always been made to feel welcome from all the locals who frequent them, In fact, sometimes it has turned into a bit of a party toward the end of the night...
** PLACES TO STAY...
Camping/caravanning is the main idea around the area with there being two good sized camp sites being in the village...both having ample services, including hot showers, hot waters, laundry facilities and plenty of space... there are also several other campsites scattered around the immediate area...
Plus, there are a few self catering cottages in the village and several others scattered around the areas
** IN CONCLUSION...
What a stunning location this is and what a peaceful day you can have.
I have visited several times, mainly by car, but by train on a few occasions, which does allow you to have a little tipple in one of the pubs...
Driving in is an experience in itself as you carefully negotiated the steep decline running into the village... this can be frightening for some and does require good brakes and a bit of gear shifting...
The views as you come over the hillside are astounding and luckily there are a few stopping areas for you to stop and admire... but try not to park in the passing places as this can be a little annoying for other drivers...
Once you've tackled the breath taking road and you've managed to peel your white fingers off the steering wheel, checking that your passengers have stopped screaming, (only kidding, it's not that bad and is well worth the drive), you'll soon come across the actual road leading into Edale itself, which is well sign posted, as is the car park.
I do recommend parking in the main car park or the station car park so you can leisurely walk around the pleasant village, taking in the beauty of it all.
As I have said, I have visited Edale several times, and also many of the surrounding areas, sometimes staying overnight under a bit of canvas, enjoying several of the breathtaking walks around the many hills... especially with the Pennine Way being right there...
I have contemplated staying at one of the Self catering cottages but do prefer to camp as I feel this is what Edale is about... although I am a little fussy about who should get my camp site fee...(again read my Coopers campsite review), so I tend to stay at the Fieldhead campsite.
Edale is one of them little villages which seems to take you to that peaceful place within your self... allowing you to either simply take in the beautiful vista or partake in one of the many walks surrounding the village...and if you like hiking or just enjoy a pleasant walk with some stunning views and tranquillity then this is a place to come, even if it's just for a day out with the family, (although do try to get there early, especially during peak season as the place is very popular indeed, or try and get the train as they are very regular indeed).
If you do plan on camping then I highly recommend Fieldhead campsite and if you don't want to cook then you can get a lovely meal in either of the cafes... ending the day supping some fine ales with a scrumptious meal in Ye Old Nags head...
In all, a place to visit at least once in your life, and I guarantee that you'll return many more times to take on more of the challenging walks...
**My typical day when camping there consists of getting up first thing and packing what kit I need, (depending on where I am hiking), then, heading off to either Coopers café or Penny Pot café for a good hearty breakfast... setting me up for the day ahead...
After filling my face I am ready for my hike into the hills, taking my time, enjoying the beauty of it all as I go....
Once the day seems to be coming to an end and the lights beginning to fade, I find my self back in the village and heading for a shower before wondering into one of the pubs for a meal and a few of the draft beers they have on offer... enjoying the company of the locals and other tourists in the welcoming atmosphere within...
What a day indeed... it is a shame days like that have to end...
Derbyshire is an inland county of England, surrounded by Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Cheshire, South Yorkshire and Staffordshire. (The border with Staffordshire is mostly formed by the River Dove.)
In the east and in the south (near the city of Derby) the county is mostly fairly low and flat. In the Northwest, however, the land rises gradually over grassy downs to the bare moorlands and grey limestone gorges of the Pennine Hills.
The highest point in the north of Derbyshire is called the High Peak (636 metres) although this is an almost level moorland! The area round about this point is known as the Peak District, which together with part of Dovedale forms the Peak District National Park well worth a visit. It is no longer constrained by the foot and mouth conditions although Derbyshire County Council has issued a few guidelines which still need to be abided by (contact them on 01629 580000 and ask the switchboard for advice).
Other places of interest are:
1. Castleton (which has several caverns of interest and Peveril Castle the latter being free to English Heritage members, with events similar to Bolsover castle on August Bank Holiday weekends (see item 8).
Also famous for the Blue John Cavern (the only place where the blue, gemlike flourspar can be found) and the Speedwell Mine (where you can travel by boat along a river far below the ground to the point where water rushes down into the Bottomless Pit. (separate opinion pending).
2. Ladybower Reservoir where the village of Ashopton had to be drowned when the valley was filled with water! ; Carsington Reservoir (tel no 01629 540696); and Ogston Reservior most have good walks and/or activities available.
3. Derby Cathedral (Derby is the really big centre of industry e.g. Toyota, Rolls Royce, etc, besides being a cathedral city). As early as 1204, the city was given a charter which included the right to dye cloth, a privilege given only to Derby in those days.
George III visited the porcelain factory in 1773 and gave permission for a crown to be placed on each elegant piece of china, hence Crown Derby.
4. Chesterfield, 2nd largest town in Derbyshire, was started by the Romans and the main feature of Chesterfield which everyone goes home raving about is the Crooked Spire of the Church of St Mary and All Saints on St Marys Gate. The tourist information has been voted best in the country (2005) and is right next to the Crooked Spire. Try the Pomegranate theatre or Winding Wheel for local shows, including local talent.
5. Chatsworth House, Baslow near Bakewell the home of the late 11th Duke and Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (who celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary in 2001). The 12th Duke of Devonshire, formerly Lord Hartington, continues to allow visitors to this stately home and in May 2004 launched a website www.chatsworth.org which has information on events, the history, exhibitions, times of opening etc. A very good website to say it has only recently been launched.
There have also been improved bus links from Chesterfield, Ripley, Matlock and Bakewell with a "green travel initiative" with regular link-ups with a Chatsworth Estate minibus which takes you through the Golden Gate entrance (not usually open to the public) and straight to the front door. The initiative also includes a money-off voucher for the house and garden if you travel by these buses.
Open to the public all year round for walks and most of the year for access to the farm, house and gardens. (Hope to do a special feature on this at a later stage). Various large events held here annually, including the Angling Fair.
6. Haddon Hall, near Bakewell
7. Hardwick Hall, near Glapwell (follow signs from J28 of the Motorway), free to National Trust members. Nearby is Stainsby Mill also free to National Trust members but not as interesting. 01246 850430. See also www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events.asp for details of forthcoming events for all NT properties.
8. Bolsover Castle (on A632) , free to English Heritage members. Also holds special events, such as every August Bank Holiday there is a Viking or Roman weekend, Firework and Laser display on the last Saturday in October, Victorian lantern parade (November/December) and there was an England in the Blitz concert in June 2001.
Event prices range from 3 pounds to 8 pounds for Adults (with reduced rates for concessions such as UB40, OAP and children on most events). (See special feature - English Heritage at its Best).
Tel No 01246 822844 or check out www.english-heritage.org.uk (see separate opinion)
9. Bakewell famous for the first Bakewell tart (or pudding). Bakewell holds an annual agricultural show every August on the first Wednesday and Thursay of the month. It has been going since 1819 and has now introduced a website, credit card transactions facilities and a new computer system. It has also improved parking facilities. For more details contact 01629 812736 or visit www.bakewellshow.org Tickets (2004) were £8 adults, concessions £6, or £21 for a family ticket. This event has included camels, medieval jousting, scurry driving, as well as champion livestock and showjumping events.
10. Ashbourne famous for its ancient Shrovetide football game, still played to the current date.
11. Well dressings are held at a variety of towns and villages throughout the county during the summer months. (More details available from Chesterfield Tourist information centre, Peacock Centre, Low Pavements, Chesterfield)
12. Old Whittingtons Revolution House, near Chesterfield formerly known as the Cock and Pynot (Magpie) Public House, where the plot to overthrow James II was prepared and arrangements made on how to seek help from William and Mary of Orange.
Just off the A61, Dronfield bypass at the Little Chef roundabout take turn off towards Old and New Whittington, go under the railway bridge, follow the main road up the hill and it is on the left immediately after the pelican crossing. Limited parking available dont miss the Christmas decorations of the period or the interesting video about the background of the Inn and the restoration.
Free to enter donations appreciated. Upstairs is usually a display of various period costumes. (see Chesterfield opinion also)
13. Eyam Hall and village in 1665 the plague reached Derbyshire and the villagers closed their village down to prevent the infection reaching other parts of the county.
Out of the village are the Hancock graves, where Mrs Hancock was the only survivor of the plague and buried her husband and all her children. Eyam Hall was the home of the Wright family.
14. Matlock/Matlock Bath (on A6) Heights of Abraham include caves and a tower accessible by cable car. (Entry Price for cable car to be verified). Also beautiful walks along River Derwent, Matlock Aquarium/Hologram gallery, Gullivers Kingdom theme park (most suitable for under 12s), Mining Museum and Temple Mine (can get joint tickets for the latter two items, which includes a panning for gold session!). NB - Mining Museum is extremely child friendly expect to lose your children and foolish adults in the chimneys/pipes. (Prices can be verified from the Matlock Tourist Information Centre or via the Derbyshire County Council number mentioned above).
Every year Matlock Bath holds illuminations from August Bank Holiday through to end of October (weekends only) beside the river, with illuminated rafts and the other attractions mentioned above stay open until at least 9pm. (Donations welcomed). On Boxing Day, an annual raft race takes place. (Spectators always welcome at this event). (see separate article on Matlock Bath)
15. Cromford (on A6) where Richard Arkwright set up his first successful cotton mill. (It is free to walk along the Cromford Canal but a small charge is made to enter the Heritage Centre, which also hold talks on local topics monthly. (Prior booking recommended for larger groups touring the Heritage Centre and essential for anyone intending to attend the talks as there is limited spaces available).
16. Ripley - Midland railway centre (check times and availability before travelling as off peak the trains do not run daily as it is run by volunteers). This can be reached from the A38 Watchorn island at Alfreton and Alfreton train station (a couple of miles away - the lines do not connect).
Midland Railway centre has a couple of miles of track, trains from various locomotive companies, a small village (rebuilt from elsewhere) including a station, cafe, and even a church (where you can get married, I believe). There are special events including Santa specials, fireworks nights, and Thomas the Tank engine visits. Prices vary but start from £8 (Adults).
Nearby is a little village - Swanwick (pronounced Swannick) which has been voted the best kept village in the Amber valley district and has a wonderful Christian cafe called the Salt Pot, near the traffic lights (on The Green Road, towards Pentrich) which has a public car park across the road and disabled access. I enjoyed a Jacket Potato with Lemon Chicken for just £1.95.
For more details for items 14 & 15, check out www.Derbyshiredales.gov.uk, for current events.
I hope to do more in depth opinions on many of the above items in the near future. Details of prices and opening times will be included on the separate articles.
I have decided from the outset (due to constraints of time and length) that this isnt going to be a review of the WHOLE of Derbyshire, just the places I have recently been without repeating too much of what I wrote in my opinions about Ashford in the Water, Eyam and Bakewell. I have also tried to include a few places you might not normally have heard of to encourage visiting a few of the quieter villages and attractions.
~~~ BUILDINGS OF NOTE.
*** CHATSWORTH HOUSE ***
No visit to Derbyshire is complete without a tour of Chatsworth. Not only is the house beautiful (especially when decorated for Christmas), but the gardens are worth a look around (there are 105 acres of grounds) and there is a farmyard and adventure playground for the kids too. The house is open between March 16th and December 21st in 2005, but the gardens are open all year round (and FULL of sheep) and there is a lovely Garden Centre too ~ this is where I got my wedding flowers from!
*** HADDON HALL ***
Haddon is my favourite stately home because it is so old yet so pretty. It has sections dating from medieval and Tudor times and has lovely paneled rooms, vaulted ceilings, tapestries and beautiful gardens with a terraced rose garden. Haddon can be found not far from Bakewell and is open between 1st April and 31st October in the coming year. There are a number of special events each year ~ these vary and sometimes incur an additional charge. We went there for a Medieval Day a couple of years ago ~ it is a perfect setting for archery and medieval combat.
*** HARDWICK HALL ***
You can see the hall from the M1 and it really is quite a site. A local poem says Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall and I think this really sums up the frontage well because it has lots of windows. Hardwick was built in Elizabethan times and is largely associated with Bess of Hardwick. The Hall and gardens open between the 31st March and 31st October this year and are well worth a visit. This year they opened the Stonemasons Centre and a family activity centre. We used to go to Hardwick Hall a lot when I was growing up and the place has fond memories for me.
*** BOLSOVER CASTLE ***
This is the closest one to me and I am ashamed to say I dont visit as often as I should. I did go last year though to the annual Food & Drink fair that they hold in the grounds. Although Bolsover Castle was first built in the 12th Century the present building is primarily in a 17th Century style after substantial restoration. The castle is open all year round and is also a popular venue for weddings. The property is owned by English Heritage and holds a busy programme of special events throughout the year. The best are the various historical re-enactment days and the wonderful firework display they put on for Bonfire Night.
@@@@ other buildings include St. Mary & All Saints Church (the famous Crooked Spire in Chesterfield), Eyam Hall (in the famous plague village), Wingfield Manor (where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned), Kedleston Hall (designed by Robert Adam) and Renishaw Hall (home of the famous literary Sitwell family).
*** AMERICAN ADVENTURE ***
This is the theme park we always used to visit when we didnt have enough money to go to Alton Towers! Strangely enough it has an American West theme and has over 100 rides and shows. The best thing about this place is that we could usually get cheap tickets and could even get there on the bus. They usually open between April and the end of October each year and is located near Ilkeston. The American Adventure web-site is currently being re-worked so is unavailable.
*** CRICH TRAMWAY MUSEUM ***
The National Tramway Museum is based just outside the Derbyshire village of Crich. We have visited many, many times and our family photo album has photos of me dating back to being a toddler riding on trams. There are loads of things to do when you are there, including tram rides, museum, film shows and loads of special events throughout the year ~ this year the highlight for me will be the 60th Anniversary of VE Day weekend with street parties, people in costume and late night opening. We have been to lots of vintage vehicle rallies there and they also have Teddy Bears picnics. For full details check out http://www.tramway.co.uk/ for opening times, prices and events.
*** HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM ***
Located in Matlock Bath, the Heights of Abraham is a tourist attraction combining cable cars, caves, walks and adventure play areas. The cave tours are really interesting and the view from the top is worth a visit alone! For opening information and details of what there is to do I recommend you visit http://www.heights-of-abraham.co.uk/ and take a look. My favourite part is the Great Rutland Cavern ~ this is a former lead mining cave and shows you what life was like for a lead miner and his family.
*** CARSINGTON WATER ***
This is a reservoir and nature reserve near Carsington in Derbyshire. A day trip to a reservoir doesnt sound too interesting but it actually is a great place to go. Many schools go there for the educational facilities and there is also a big water sports centre. We generally visit for the lovely walks, to see the birds on the water and for the wide variety of craft and gift shops. The Kugel Stone is worth a look too ~ this is a 1 tonne Bavarian stone that rotates on a pivot and can be moved using very little effort. Check out www .stwater.co.uk /APPS/STWInternet /STW0650.nsf/ STW_Web?OpenForm &OutAndAbout_PlacesToGo_ Carsington_T7 for all the usual info.
@@@other places worth going to include Chesterfield Central Library (I work there and really would LOVE to give you a tour), Gullivers Kingdom (an adventure park near Matlock Bath), Cromford Mill (the first water powered cotton mill set up by William Arkwright), the Midland Railway Centre (at Butterley Station, near Ripley you can get a ride on a steam train) and the National Stone Centre (not far from Wirksworth ~ you can find out all about different types of stone and even pan for gold!).
~~~TOWNS & VILLAGES.
Bolsover is around seven miles from Chesterfield and is a thriving little place full of history. The Castle (mentioned previously) is the main feature ~ it dominates the skyline. There is much more to Bolsover than that though! We normally end up there during our beer ratings outings and The Blue Bell has won awards this year ~ there are several historic pubs in the village, including the White Swan and the Hudson Bay Beer House (the old house of a man who worked for the Hudson Bay Company). Bolsover has a market, a good range of shops and is a good base for exploring the Peak District, while still being on a regular bus route.
Elton is an old fashioned little village in the White Peak area of the Peak District. It is full of 17th and 18th century buildings and a lovely pub that has remained pretty much unchanged since it was built ~ The Duke of York is run by a lady in her 70s who still changes the barrels herself! Elton is popular with walkers and has a Youth Hostel and a good few campsites and B & Bs are very close by. Nearby you will find some wonderful countryside, a prehistoric Hill fort and lots of other picturesque villages.
Hathersage is most famous for being home to the grave of Robin Hoods companion Little John. This village is a former industrial centre that has replaced smoky chimneys and mill-stones with Guest Houses and lovely walks. There are a couple of pubs in Hathersage and also a swimming pool ~ it is primarily a place for tourists and has quite a few commuters living there because of its close proximity to Sheffield and Chesterfield.
I hadnt been to Hartington until a couple of years ago. We started going to deliver Innspires (our local Real Ale magazine) and then discovered the Hartington Cheese shop and the local Farmers Market at Biggin-by-Hartington. The Old Cheese Shop has a big range of local cheeses and is especially famous for its Hartington Stilton ~ the flavoured Stiltons are to die for! The village centres around a lovely village square and there are pubs, shops and picturesque cottages around this focal point. It is famous for its associations with Charles Cotton, a close friend of Isaac Walton and co-author of The Complete Angler. You will find Hartington about 12 miles from Ashbourne.
@@@other places of note include Newbold (a place just on the outskirts of Chesterfield and worthy of mention because I was born there), Old Brampton (just outside Chesterfield and home to a rather oddly numbered Church clock) and Edale (the village at the start of the Pennine Way).
I love living in Derbyshire! It is full of history, interesting customs and friendly people ~ it also has its fair share of excellent pubs too. There really is FAR too much to tell you about it just one review so the best advice I can give is to get out there and explore the county yourself. I have lived here all my life and there are places I have never visited, let alone heard of! You need to experience the beauty of Derbyshire yourself, get off the beaten track and see all the little villages and stunning scenery (especially in the Peak District).
I have only touched, let alone scratched, the surface of what you will find in my home county. Derbyshire as a county combines industry, farming and tourism. Whether you are in the industrial areas of the towns, the beautiful farmland and dry stone walls of the Peaks, or the impressive Castles and Stately Homes, you cannot fail to be impressed by Derbyshires uniqueness and charm. It has so much to offer and so much to enjoy!
A visit to Derbyshire is well worth the trip. Im sure once youve been here you will come back and see us again and again!
Chesterfield Tourist Information Centre
Matlock Bath Tourist Information Centre
The Pavilion South Parade
Peak National Park Information Centre
Old Market Hall