I have just returned from a 4 day walking break in the Peak District.; A fabulous area of the UK and less than an hour and a half “up the road”.
I have always been a keen walker. My former husband and I holidayed a lot in the Lake District in our twenties pre children – wow over 30 years ago! There was a middle time in my life; when the girls were growing up, that long and difficult walks took a backseat, with only the occasional foray perhaps but nothing serious. More recently with my last partner and my dog, Rufus, I have completed Wainwrights Coast to Coast walk and The Cotswold Way. I am currently walking Offa’s Dyke Path in 4-day break sections.
Back to the Peak District, I set off on Thursday morning with the Cocker Spaniel, Rufus and my mate Kate heading for Ilam and the B&B ran by the sister of Kate’s work colleague. What a stroke of luck a beautiful location, very comfortable accommodation and brilliant service Garden Farm, Ilam (https://www.gardenfarmpeakdistrict.co.uk/ ). Thanks Debbie! Rufus was made very welcome and is currently starring on the Garden Farm Facebook page! Rufus made friends in the customary way (bottom sniffing) with the resident black Labradors – Diesel and Marley.
On arriving, after I’d prepared my feet for walking (see this post) we headed off with a picnic to explore the locality. The first walk of our walking break in the Peak District was a 6 mile walk down into Ilam (via the National Trust loo’s!) and onward to follow the Manifold River towards Thorpe and back again, with a picnic stop half way.
We rounded this off with a pot of tea and a Biscuiteer courtesy of Kate. A birthday gift from her work colleagues (thank you).
After a rest and a read we headed for the local hostelry The Izaak Newton Hotel for a welcome pint and a good dinner – burger for me and a tomato hash concoction for Kate, all very tasty. Rufus was made very welcome and was given a bowl of iced water.
A good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast set us up for our planned 12 mile walk. We’d decided to walk up Dove Dale past the stepping stones before the weekend hoards arrived! We were there before 10am and very few walkers were around. Hence I was able to film Kate and Rufus crossing the River Dove (see Instagram @jenafitlife)
From here we carried on up the River Dove to Milldale where we partook of a coffee from Polly’s Cottage and watched the ducks on the river before continuing on up river to just beyond Iron Tors where we crossed the river and climbed the steady route up Gipsy Banks to reach the limestone plateau of fields across to Alstonefield.
Here at The George we had a pint but we were not tempted by the menu – designed for diners not walkers! We then headed south via Stanshope and Castern to eventually come into Ilam Park. The weather had deteriorated and we got rather damp, but it was dry enough to sit in the NT Ilam tea garden ( www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ilam-park-dovedale-and-the-white-peak) and have a good pot of tea and a slice of Derbyshire tea loaf.
More tea, a bath and some reading prior to heading out for food, having not booked anywhere we ended up back at The Izaak Walton! Red wine, Caulliflower, chick pea and spinach curry for me and Fish & Chips for Kate. Delicious!
The weather looked more promising on Saturday, our planned route had no hostelry’s for refreshment. Debbie our host kindly provided a flask of coffee and we had apples and snacks too. We had another 12 mile circular route from Parwich planned, taking in some of the Tissington Trail and the High Peak Trail. These are both old industrial railway lines now given over to walkers and cyclists. The route culminated in skirting the working Ballidon Quarry and back to Parwich. We hadn’t realised how bright and warm the day had been until we saw the white lines at my ankle/sock/leg boundary!
Saturday night we’d booked in to eat at The Okeover Arms, Mappleton. A varied menu and good ales, free wifi connected me to the outer world briefly. Did I say we’d had little or no phone or internet reception throughout the trip? I had a great pint of Okeover Ale to wash down my Steak pie, proper walker’s food! I followed this up with a Strawberry pavlova. This day led to a sound nights sleep.
Sunday dawned, packing ensued and our last hearty B& B breakfast. Today our plan was to drive to Hartington and walk 6 miles along Beresford Dale into Wolfscote Dale following the River Dove almost to where we’d left it to climb Gipsy Banks earlier in the weekend. We then left the river bed to come back along Biggin Dale to the country lanes that led back to Hartington, a sandwich and a coffee.
This brought our break to an end, just the hour and a half drive back to Leicestershire, internet and phone reception!
I would really recommend a walking break in the Peak District. We barely scratched the surface and will definitely be back.
Have you read my blog post on Fitness Challenges? Walking features in it!
Where are you favourite walking routes?
Thanks for reading.
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