2020 will be the year to remember for many years to come.
As the pandemic continues, we all try to find new normal.
We try to find things to do and keep us sane, places to go with minimum risks for our families.
Nature has healing touch and in our today’s life it is important more than ever to find that escape where the soul can rest and our spirit can be lifted. Nature walks will do just that!
Living not far from beautiful Peak District National Park gives my family a great opportunity to escape and recharge.
Peak District is an amazing nature destination with much to explore: nature walks, farm life, hiking trails, caves, picturesque villages, green valleys, rolling hills…..
Over past 3 years we have visited many areas in Peak District.
The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. The terrain of Peak District is very diverse. You can find anything from rivers and waterfalls to rocky cliffs, rolling green hills, valleys and man made lakes/reservoirs.
Without further ado let’s jump into several family friendly destinations in Peak District National Park!
Matlock, Matlock Bath and Heights of Abraham.
Family day out in Matlock Bath and Matlock, where you can indulge yourself in delicious local ice cream or shop in cute little stores, walk along river and be surrounded by beautiful mountains. If you love antique stores Matlock has quite a few of them to offer.
In Matlock Bath, on top of the Masson hill you will find one of the most visited destinations in Peak District- Height of Abraham.
One of our very first trips to Peak District National Park was to visit the Heights of Abraham.
Since it opened in 1780’s it is today, as it used to be during Georgian times, one of the Peak District’s most popular destinations.
The Heights Of Abraham provides stunning views of valley in Peak District.
Originally the Heights of Abraham was only accessible to visitors who could endure the steep zigzagging slopes of Masson Hill.
In 1984 Britain’s first alpine style cable car transport system was installed.
169 metres (554ft) from the Base to the Top Station passing over 4 towers, the highest tower is 23.5m (77ft).
You need to prebook the tickets for cable cars or you can check your physical endurance by hiking all the way up.
Check the current Covid-19 advice to be prepared ahead of your visit.
There are several attractions in the park: a cavern and mine tours have been open since Victorian times, nature paths, sights of the dramatic views of the River Derwent valley, big playground for kids, restaurants/bar and ice cream shop comes with lovely scenery from the terrace and a museum.
The two caves at the Heights of Abraham, are the Great Masson Cavern and the Great Rutland Cavern, both previously mined for lead.
For 360 degree views you can climb the spiral staircase of the Victoria Prospect Tower, built in 1844 in honour of Queen Victoria.
Lumsdale Falls and ruins of a water mill
If you love waterfalls and historical ruins look no further! You can visit both in one location.
Lumsdale Valley site is a protected Scheduled Monument currently owned and preserved by the Arkwright Society
It is located within the Lumsdale Conservation Area, set up in 1980. The sight consists of multiple historic water-powered mills and other industrial archaeological ruins, which give the whole area very dramatic look.
There are multiple nature trails leading to the waterfalls and the old water mill.
Autumn is a great time to wander through woodland along stone walls to see stunning waterfalls framed in golden colours of yellow and red foliage!
The exploration of ruined structures of old mill and some nearby buildings adds much excitement and adventure. At the top there is good size pond, where water is so still, it reflects all the nature’s beauty around, just before this still water rushes down the rocks in the white fury of the waterfall….
For more information visit Let go Peak District
Crich Tramway Village
Crich Tramway Village is located near Matlock.
It’s a great place for the whole family (including your dog, if you have one)
You will be transported back in time , surrounded by vintage trams and will enjoy atmosphere of period streets. The museum used to host time period reenactments such as World War II Home Front event.
But even on the day with no events you will find plenty to do: browse shops, visit museum, enjoy a snack/drink in the tearoom or have a lunch in Red Lion pub. (Currently only take outs are available)
Originally Red Lion was a working public house in Stoke-on-Trent, but it has been rebuilt brick by brick at the Museum.
The entrance fee includes a tram ride with multiple stops where you can get off and explore for example a nature walk with fascinating wooden structures . All these make a perfect day out!
Dovedale Valley and Ilam Park
Small village of Ilam is postcard perfect little place.
Ilam is located about 4 miles from Ashbourne at the entrance to the scenic Manifold Valley.
The village is full of charm, with its “Swiss chalet” style houses and matching school house.
Most of the buildings in the village are from the past two centuries, Ilam dates from Saxon times or earlier.
Ilam Park is a beautiful country park with formal gardens and ancient woodland. The property is in care of National Trust and consist of Ilam Halland remnants of the garden. There is a scenic bridge across the river which takes you to more nature trails into the countryside.
Beautiful architecture of Ilam’s Churchcan be seen from the court yard and gardens of Ilam Hall. Explore the grounds where pilgrimage took place since the days of St Bertram, a Saxon saint and hermit who lived here.
One of the scenic trails from Ilam village will take you to the popular Dovedale valley.
The Valley is known for Dove river and picturesque ravine. The iconic part of this walk in Dovedale is probably the picturesque stepping stones across the river, which anyone young or old will have fun taking to cross the river.
The Monsal trail takes you under multiple old bridges and through tunnels, along woodlands with views of green fields and rolling hills!
The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell. The railway was built by the Midland Railway in 1863 to link Manchester with London and closed in 1968.
It is paved and mostly levelled with no traffic which makes it perfect for bicycles, strollers and wheel chairs.
It was opened in 1981 to the public making it possible for hikers to go through the tunnels one of which is Headstone tunnel and is 533 yards (487m) long.
Peak Cavern aka Devil’s Arse
The little town of Castleton is full of charm and character. It has a ruined castle (𝐏𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐥 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐞) and underneath the castle is 𝐏𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐫n or formerly known as 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐥’𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐬𝐞!
It is quite remarkable place with interesting history behind it.
🌟𝑭𝒖𝒏 𝑭𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝑫𝒆𝒗𝒊𝒍’𝒔 𝑨𝒓𝒔𝒆
~Peak Cavern has largest cave entrance in the British Isles 100m long 20m high 35m wide. And contains the remains of a rope makers village inside.
~The entrance was used from 1642 to 1880 by rope makers. Rope was made for the lead mining industry around Castleton. Rope making business ended with the beginning of the First World War.
~1842 a small passageway was blasted out for the second visit of Queen Victoria.
~Peak Cavern is one of the most written about caves. Visiting writers included Daniel Defoe, Lord Byron, Arthur Conan Doyle, Gervase of Tilbury, Thomas Hobbs, Charles Cotton and Carl Phillip Moritz.
~It was also a filming location for Chronicles of Narnia the silver chair, Clash of the Santa’s, Sherlock Holmes, The Medieval Mind, Most Haunted, and County File.
If you go inside the cave don’t forget your rain boots/wellies as it’s very wet and muddy in some parts! We didn’t have boots on and got our shoes very messy.
Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs.
Another great place to explore is Upper Derwent Valley.
It has three reservoirs. We have visited two of them: Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs. The Derwent Valley offers many hiking and biking trails for different abilities.
The parking lot near Derwent Dam has visitors information, bathrooms and snack shack. From there you can choose different trails through woodlands, along the river or around reservoirs, all of them come with beautiful views!
Derwent dam is quite a masterpiece of architecture and absolutely worth a visit. It also has an interesting story. This dam was used by the Lancaster bomber pilots to practice low level flying and target practice. The reason for this dam being used is its close resemblance to the German dams.
Ladybower Reservoir is perhaps the best known of the three reservoirs, partly because it is renowned for the drowned villages of Derwent and Ashopton that lie beneath its waters.
Stanton Moor and Nine Ladies Standing Stones
Stanton Moor is another beautiful area for an easy nature walk through changing terrains. On the same walk you can enjoy mossy old trees, open areas, overgrown with heather (which in summer blooms and looks like a purple sea), birch growth and a path taking you through lush tall fern.
Cork Stone is hard to miss and it is an impressive sight! The standing stone is a natural sandstone shaped like a cork by nature forces. If you feel adventurous you can even climb on top and see for miles from above.
There are more than 70 ancient burial mounds upon the moor, and about four Bronze Age stone circles, constructed by the people who lived and worked on Stanton Moor around 4,000 years ago.
A small early Bronze Age stone circle is well preserved and according to legend represents nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on Sunday.
It is part of a complex prehistoric circles and standing stones on Stanton Moor.
The Stone circle isn’t big so don’t expect Stonehenge size rocks, but nether the less it is fascinating place and you can come up close with 4,000 years of history. People still debating regarding the use of standing stones. There is much mystery around them.
Even today, modern day pagans gather by the standings stones to celebrate Summer/Winter solstice.
Please listen to the podcast of National Park Trippers and the episode where I was a guest sharing our experiences in Peak District National Park.
It’s being a while since my last blog. With new reality of COVID-19 and change of daily life, my energy went into homeschooling and being with my family. But as we learn to live in the new world with many restrictions and rules, we have to find the way of how we still can go … Continue reading Three Days In Cotswolds
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