“ Holiday cottage in Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District. „
This year, Mrs SWSt and I decided to take our holiday in Derbyshire - an area neither of us had visited for a long time. However, when we came to look for a holiday cottage, many of the properties were either for bigger parties or not available when we wanted them. Until, that is, we found Mayfield Coach House on the English Country Cottages website.
Finding the cottage was very straightforward, since it is located just off the A52, one of the major routes to Derby. Excellent instructions were provided by the owners on how to reach the cottage and this was made even easier by the presence of the Rose and Crown pub, which acted as a clear marker for the turning for the cottage. We managed to find it first time with none of that frustrating driving around knowing you are in roughly the right area, but unable to find the exact place!
Location, Location, Location
As its name suggests, the property is an old converted coach house. It stands a little back from the road and can either be reached through a gate at the side of Mayfield Cottage (the owners' home) or via a small service road that bends right round to the front door. The location is ideal for a pleasant, peaceful holiday and the cottage is very quiet: the road at the front gets scarcely any traffic (it only leads to a few isolated farm buildings and houses), whilst the back of the house overlooks the owners' garden (which they are happy to share with you) and some fields. The only real "disturbance" you are likely to hear are the contented moos coming from the cows in the field out back, reminding you that you are in the heart of the countryside. Being woken up tot the gentle mooing of cows was actually quite a pleasant experience!
Inside the Coach House
The Coach House is small, but very comfortable. On entering, you come first to the kitchen. The kitchen is fairly basic (a cooker, fridge and microwave), but more than adequate for most people's needs (although note: there is no washing machine or freezer). The kitchen leads through into a small, but very cosy living room (equipped with TV/DVD player/Digital Freeview), whilst stairs in the kitchen lead up to a surprisingly large bedroom (equipped with a bed, bedside cabinets, desk and curtained off clothes-rail) and a bathroom. The whole place is very pleasantly furnished and whilst it might not have as much in terms of furniture or extras as some places, there was more than enough for us.
Out and About
A big plus for Mayfield Cottage is that the owners have provided a lot of helpful information - far more than the minimum amount required by English Country Cottages. In addition to the usual stuff about how to use the various appliances, heating etc., they have also collected information leaflets suggesting places to visit. Also provided is lots of information on the village of Mayfield, pointing out some things of interest, giving a brief history of the area and even providing routes for some walks around the area. This attention to detail really made us feel welcome on the cottage.
One of the best things The Coach House has going for it is its location, both locally and for the wider county as pretty much the whole of Derbyshire is no more than an hour or so drive away. Ashbourne is just a couple of miles away (within walking distance if necessary) and provides access to some basic shops and banks; other areas like Buxton and Matlock are relatively close if you want a few more shops combined with tourist attractions, whilst there are plenty of areas to walk nearby (the area around Dovedale is particularly to be recommended and is only a 15 minute drive away). The Coach House is ideal for exploring this beautiful part of the world; away from the hustle and bustle of the major tourist centres, but within reach of any of them.
Size Isn't Everything
Before you book at the Coach House you do need to be aware of a couple of things. First of all, it is one of the smaller properties available and can only sleep two people in the same bed (this is made clear in the brochure). As noted above, it consists of just a four rooms: a kitchen, living room, bedroom bathroom. For us, this was not a problem, as we used it as a base to explore the area and so tended to be there only in the evenings. However, if you are looking for somewhere that will give you a lot of space in which to spread out, it might not be ideal.
If you like total privacy, you also might want to bear in mind that the Coach House is right next door to the owners' house. Not that the proximity of the owners should put you off for one minute, as they were both friendly and unobtrusive. They were away when we arrived, but contacted us in advance to make sure we knew where the key would be. Ss soon as they arrived back, they made a point of coming across to welcome us and check we had settled in OK. After that, they pretty much left us alone, so having their main house next door was not the slightest bit intrusive.
The other thing you need to bear in mind is that the Coach House has a very steep, narrow staircase leading to the bedroom and bathroom. This was noted in the original information about the cottage, but even Mrs SWSt and I were surprised by just how narrow it actually was (even coming down the stairs with a suitcase was a challenge!). Certainly, the Coach House would not be suitable accommodation if one member of your party is infirm or uncertain on their feet.
Overall, we were very pleased with our choice of Mayfield Coach House for our holiday cottage. It might be relatively small and basic when compared against some of the other properties available, but this means it is also at the cheaper end of the price scale (the cost varies depending on the time of year you visit). If you are looking for somewhere comfortable and cosy to stay which provides a base from which to explore Derbyshire, then Mayfield Coach House is an excellent choice.
The Coach House
© Copyright SWSt 2011