It snowed overnight.
Not so much as to blanket everything, but enough to settle on the parked cars around the little duck pond; and enough to make the footpath very slippery indeed – as I found out trying to take a photo of the church. It had mostly melted by the time we were ready to head out, but we were still excited by it. It’s the little things.
With just one full day in the Peak District, today was about seeing as much as we possibly could – and to do that we couldn’t just ramble, we needed a plan that would see us ticking off some of the best and most accessible of the views. We needed an itinerary.
While there are some great walks through the dales, we didn’t have the time or available daylight hours to do them. Instead it was about sights and viewpoints we could drive to.
Spoiler alert: this part of Derbyshire is wildly beautiful. We will be back – and next time will stay for a proper look.
First up was Monsal Head. From here we could see down the valley to the River Wye and the Headstone Viaduct.
Further down the valley are holiday cottages belonging to the Chatsworth Estate – speaking of which, I really wanted to visit, but, well, time. Plus, with an admission cost of £25 each, Sarah and Grant were very meh about the whole thing and not at all impressed about the Jane Austen Pemberley connection. Heavy sighs.
Ashford In The Water
This little village boasts what is one of the most photographed bridges in England, Sheepwash Bridge. Sadly today the weather was against us.
While Sheepwash Bridge originally got its name as being where farmers would…wait for it…wash their sheep, it’s also one of the best bridges for playing Pooh Sticks – where you drop a stick over the edge and then run to the other side to watch it come through.
The current was running so fast it was hilarious to watch ducks get into the current and zoom through under the bridge and out the other side.
This is a cute little village – especially with the snow starting to fall again.
After morning tea in Bakewell (I told you about that the other day) we headed a little south to Curbar Edge for some simply spectacular views. This spot is the starting point for a number of serious walks – the type of hikes that require proper waterproof kit, proper boots, proper fitness, and ordinance maps and compasses.
Luckily the skies cleared just in time for us to capture the views.
Tideswell’s main claim to fame is The Cathedral of The Peak – an Anglican church which although not really a cathedral is huge and quite splendid.
The village itself is typical of this part of the country with narrow streets that were, on this Saturday a couple of weeks before Christmas, super busy.
Not far out of town is another park which is the start of, amongst other walks, the start of a 7.5 mile circular walk that brings you to Monsal, the view we saw earlier.
At the entrance to the carpark was this really cool carved tree that was part of a short sculpture walk.
We drove through some truly awesome scenery to Mam Nick just outside Castleton. From here there is a “steep-ish” walk up to the top for views across Mam Tor and across the Hope Valley. It was now quite snowy and the path was very slippery so we headed back into town for lunch.
The Mountain Dog Rescue were holding a loose change fundraising thingie so of course we stopped to talk to the dogs – or rather, the men about the dogs. Most of the rescue dogs are spaniels because of their intelligence and their sense of smell – which is, the sense of smell, that is, second only to bloodhounds.
They told us that it takes a couple of years to train each dog with the handler paying all food and board over that period of time. Once the dog is retired it stays with its handler for the rest of its life.
It was a tad sobering to realise that the weather changes so frequently and dramatically up here and that these peaks are such that mountain rescue dogs are frequently called in to work. #potentialstoryidea
Castleton was super busy with most pubs in town booked out. We had lunch at The Castle. Given that we’d had morning tea in Bakewell, we all went for starters. I had a fabulous baked mushroom dish done in a cheesey-garlic sauce with rustic bread for dipping.
Just a couple of miles out of Foolow is the Barrel in at Bretton. Actually, there’s nothing much else in Bretton other than the Barrel Inn – which has this view. Remarkable, isn’t it?
Dating back to 1597, the Inn is the highest pub in Derbyshire. Apparently on a fine day you can see across five counties from here.
Where we stayed
Tudor Cottage, Foolow
Our cottage is super-cute and cozy. It’s small but comfortable and absolutely spotless. It’s also just one cottage away from a very good pub.
Next time: We’re off to London…