Peak District… Escape to the Farm!
We have just returned from a fantastic long weekend in the Peak District (we being me and my fiance Tom). This was a long overdue break for the both of us and we were both very much looking forward to ‘getting away from it all’ so opted for somewhere rural and remote!
Having searched all of the ‘usual’ places including Air BnB, Homestay and the like, we stumbled across www.farmstay.co.uk which was offering a small cottage on a working dairy farm in Derbyshire.
The heart of the Peak District
Five Wells Farm lies high above the small village of Chelmorton and boasts panoramic views over the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. We couldn’t have asked for a better location, but more than that, the barn itself was absolutely stunning, with traditional stone flooring, wooden beams and cosy furniture complete with throw-over rugs to snuggle up under…
Our ‘neighbours’ were fantastic too…from sheep, chickens and cows, to donkeys, dogs and a horse! Waking up each morning to the sound of braying donkeys and chirpy chickens is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
A Walker’s and Cyclist’s Paradise
Without wanting to take on too much (we were there to relax after all) we had planned a couple of activities for our time in the Peak District, namely walking and cycling!
The owners of the farm had left us some leaflets with details of nearby attractions and things to do. We decided to walk the five miles cross country towards Blackwell Mill where the Monsal Trail began and where we would hire bicycles for the rest of the day. The traffic-free Monsal Trail runs along the former Midland Railway line which ran through the heart of the Peak District between 1863 to 1968. The 8.5 miles takes walkers, cyclists and horse riders from Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale, past stunning landscapes, traditional villages; through tunnels and over viaducts all the way to Coombs Road, at Bakewell.
Bakewell’s Love Locks
Never having been to Bakewell before I didn’t quite know what to expect, but wow, what a delightful town! Our first experience of it was walking across the Weir Bridge over the River Wye, which was covered in Love Locks. Apparently they were the first ones to appear in Derbyshire.
When in Bakewell… it’s got to be Bakewell Pudding
Once in the town itself, we did what every self-respecting visitor to Bakewell would do, and indulged in a Bakewell Tart and Pudding before jumping back onto our bikes for the ride back!
We’re the Kings of the Castle
The next day we drove to Castleton (about half an hour away) to visit Peveril Castle. This imposing Norman Castle was founded in 1080 by William Peveril, the illegitimate son of William 1. Originally intended as a base for Kings who wanted to hunt the Peak Forest, the castle fell into disuse after Tudor times, and by the 17th century only the keep was still in use – as a courthouse. When this was abandoned the castle gradually became ruined until what remained was restored this century.
The castle’s high position on top of a clifftop meant that we had a fairy steep walk to reach it, but once we did, boy were the views over the Hope Valley worth it!
We were so lucky with the weather during the weekend, but even if it had rained for all three days, it’s hard to see how that would have spoiled such a fantastic, quintessentially English country paradise!
If you are thinking of taking a short break to recharge the batteries, I cannot recommend the Derbyshire Dale’s and Five Wells Farm enough. Thank you to Mark and Caroline for creating such a lovely environment for visitors, and thank you for the little card we received when we arrived home!!
Have you been to the Peak District? Would you recommend anywhere else to those of us who occasionally need to ‘escape the madness’ of every day life? Let us know below and please do share your photos over on our Facebook Page!