Newest Review: ... date to arrive. This we did, taking our two life long friends with us on a 200 mile single journey from home to Stanton Lees. On arriv... more
A Wonderful, Warm Welcome at Woodside!
Woodside Cottage (Matlock)
Member Name: jammaker49
Woodside Cottage (Matlock)
Date: 30/01/02, updated on 03/03/02 (1197 review reads)
Advantages: Breakfast to die for!, Wonderful views., Peace and quiet
Disadvantages: Need a car.
One or two emails later, and Kath and myself were on first name terms! We were also booked in for 6 nights in August, with just a £15 per person deposit.
WHERE IS WOODSIDE?
Woodside Cottage is set in the tiny hamlet of Stanton Lees, on the edge of the Peak District National Park. There are just 12 dwellings in the Hamlet, and Woodside is the only B&B. It is approximately 6 miles from Matlock and 8 miles from Bakewell. On the peaks above the Village, is the Nine Ladies Standing Stones, an ancient site close to Stanton in the Peak.
HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
One thing you definitely need is a car! The Hamlet of Stanton Lees does not even boast a shop, and the trek from the closest village is about 2 miles, and all uphill!
From the M1, you take the junction for the A6 and follow the signs for Matlock. Go through Matlock and keep on the A6 towards Bakewell for 2 miles. Take the first left at the Red House Hotel to the cross roads, left on to B5057 into Darley Bridge. Opposite the Three Stags Heads pub, turn right to Stanton Lees. In the village take the right fork for 200 yards. Woodside is the 5th house on the right. Matlock Station would be the closest railway station, but staying at Woodside would be nigh on impossible without a car.
Woodside Cottage is a quaint, spacious cottage, built from local Derbyshire Stone. Signs of quarrying can still be seen in the area. You have to go down several
stone steps to access the entrance doors, which would make it difficult for anyone with a difficulty in walking and climbing. In the very spacious lounge, there is a wood-burning stove, which must make it really cosy in the winter, when apparently the cottage is often snowed in, along with the rest of the village.
There are 4 bedrooms upstairs, 3 of which are used as B&B accommodation, and one for the owner herself. There are 2 double, en-suite rooms, one of which is large enough to also hold a single bed, making it an ideal family room, and a twin room, with a private bathroom next to it. All the rooms are furnished with the owner’s own handiwork, and all to a different colour scheme. Our room was known as the Blue Room, and in addition to the bed, we had 2 comfy chairs, a large built in wardrobe, a dressing table with mirror, and a chest of drawers. We had a power shower which was one of the best I’ve ever experienced, and a loo, set into the room, yet not obviously so. Each room had tea and coffee-making equipment, which was replenished daily. The whole cottage was absolutely spotless. There was a no-smoking policy in the house, but it was no problem just to slip outside if one was desperate!
The cottage is built on the side of the hill, and the view from our room was stunning! We overlooked the old Derwent Valley Steam Railway, and could see Matlock and other neighbouring villages lying down in the valley, spread out like toy towns. There was a dining room which guests could use, but we preferred to eat breakfast in the lounge, gazing out over the valley, and watching the birds feeding in the garden. Kath used to replenish the bird table 10 minutes before we ate, and by the time our breakfasts were ready, the garden would be full of all kinds of birds, from tiny tits, to male and female pheasants!
Kath Potter is a retired geography and RE teacher, and now utilises her time as a local councillor as wel
l as running the B&B. She very much stands for conservation and preservation, and once you have met her, you can understand her driving force. She is not one to be walked over! She passionately believes in local conservation. Having lived in the area all her life, she has amassed a multitude of maps for the area, so one need never buy a map for walking in the Peaks! At breakfast each day we would chat about the sort of walking we fancied for that day, and the map would be produced! All free of charge. Kath also makes all her own jam (like me!) and has often been found on the hillside above the village picking the tiny bilberries that grow wild. Kath greets all her guests with a cuppa, and a plate of scones with jam and cream, or a piece of home made sponge, while she chats to get to know them.
Although she used to do evening meals on request, Kath now just offers B&B. But what a breakfast! Not once did we need to eat between breakfast and an evening meal, apart from an odd cup of tea and maybe a scone. Most mornings, I began with fresh fruit salad, (strawberries, peaches, apricots, apple, orange, banana) and some cereal. Hubby also had prunes! Then followed a veritable feast. I don’t eat eggs or mushrooms, so my cooked breakfast would consist of 2 rashers, 2 sausages, hash brown, tomato, beans and fried bread. Hubbie’s would have the addition of egg (scrambled, poached or fried) and mushrooms. Then would follow toast (replenished if required) with homemade preserves. And as much tea or coffee as you could drink. I must add here that all the water in the village is natural spring water, and although it is now on tap, so to speak, there is still a spring water well on every property.
PLACES TO VISIT
The longest walk we undertook was in Dovedale, a very picturesque part of Derbyshire, and about a 20 minute drive away. Unfortunately I twisted my knee, and had to somewhat limit the walking for the rest of the week.
We still managed to fit in quite a bit though!
Matlock Bath is just 10 minutes away, and this was a very interesting place. Take the cable car up to the tops of the Peaks, to The Heights of Abraham, for some breathtaking views. Visit the original Arkwright’s Mill, which is currently being restored. Relax alongside the Canal on a sun lounger (The car park was very inexpensive) or wander alongside the canal and enjoy a cuppa at a converted railway station.
Chatsworth House is less than a half hour car journey away. We drove through the grounds, but did not actually visit the house on our trip. Eyam, the plague village is also within easy distance by car.
A trip up to the LadyBower dams and reservoirs, in the North of the Peak District, is well worth doing. Here, the film, The Dambusters, was shot, and you can climb up and wander alongside the dams, and marvel at the huge amounts of water being held back by these impressive dams. There is also a National Trust Shop, and café, with plenty of car parking space.
Just north of Woodside Cottage, as previously mentioned, is the Nine Ladies Standing Stone Circle. It is possible to walk from the cottage, but if you prefer not to climb, you can park the car at the entrance, and walk along the Peak Trail, mingling with the cattle as you go! The Circle is set on a high peak, and although not impressively large like Stonehenge, one can imagine the rituals that took place here in bygone days.
At Darley Bridge, there is an old church, wherein stands an ancient Yew Tree, thought to be the oldest surviving in England. It measures over 30 ft in diameter, and is fenced off, in order to preserve it. Whilst we were visiting this, a lady who was cleaning offered to show us round the church, to which she had keys, and we spent a very interesting half hour learning more about the history of both church and tree. It is thought that the tree is between 1000 and 2000 years old. Apparently an e
xpert in tree-dating reckons that it is closer to 2000 than 1000.
WHERE TO EAT
We tried a number of the pubs in the area which served evening meals, and found them all to be of a reasonable quality. You can expect to pay around £10 for a meal and desert, and most had a good choice of both. In Matlock itself there are several restaurants of various types, but we did not try any of them, preferring to drive out to one of the outlying villages. The one bugbear (not mine because I don’t drink, but neither do I drive) was that hubby couldn’t enjoy a couple of beers with his meal, due to having to drive back! Having said that, we were usually so worn out from the day’s activities, that after dinner we just wanted a shower, and then relax in front of the TV (there was one in each bedroom) before collapsing into bed.
Sometimes I cannot believe this myself, but take a look at the website, and you will see the extremely competitive prices, bearing in mind that this is an RAC 4Diamond B&B. We paid £19 per person per night Bed and Breakfast (£38 per room). This was in mid-August, which is the most expensive time of year! I believe this year’s prices are much the same.
For a trip to the Peak District, I’m sure you could search for a long time, and not come up with as comfortable and as reasonable accommodation, as that offered at Woodside. We have begun to look around for similar B&B in the area, but as yet have found nothing that appeals as much. We aim to revisit the Peak District this year, and I think it is highly likely that we will once again be booking with Kath Potter at Woodside.
It really was one of the best B&B places we have ever stayed in.
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