It’s what the Peak District is all about! The mass protests of the 1930s on the North Derbyshire moorlands to the west of Sheffield were one of the factors that led to the establishment of the Peak District National Park in 1951. The Peak District’s dramatic and varied scenery (White Peak limestone farm land and Dark Peak gritstone moors) offers thousands of routes to explore. The two OS Explorer Maps OL1 (Dark Peak) and OL24 (White Peak) cover the entire area, copies of which are in both cottages. (But please leave for the next guests!)
You can follow either national or local trails with the 431km Pennine Way starting just over the hill from Spring House Farm in Edale and crossing Kinder Scout, or you can simply take advantage of the 524 sq km of open access land and 3005 km of rights of way that the area offers.
Spring House Farm and cottages sit on the route of one of the areas best loved and most iconic walks, The Mam Tor – Lose Hill route, or the Great Ridge. Other great walks from your doorstep at Spring House Farm are Win Hill, the Derwent Valley, Kinder Scout and Cave Dale.
Easier routes locally are are the paths on the disused railway lines of the Monsal Trail (between Bakewell and Buxton); the Tissington Trail (between Buxton and Ashbourne), both in the White Peak limestone area and the Longdendale Trail in the Dark Peak.
Castleton’s Caves and Mines
The Peak District is riddled with cave systems particularly in the Limestone White Peak. That area also has may lead mines including Castleton’s Speedwell Cavern, a lead mine through which you travel by boat (lead mining was an important economic feature of the area from Roman times). For those interested in the historic lead mining industry the Magpie Mine at Sheldon, near Ashford-in-the-Water is worth a visit too.
A slightly more glamorous ore is Blue John – a rather lovely semi precious stone peculiar to Derbyshire. There are two Blue John mines just west of Castleton, Treak Cavern and the Blue John Mine. Castleton’s gift shops are full of trinkets and items of jewellery made from this stone.
The most popular cave to explore in Castleton is the Peak Cavern (or Devil’s Arse!) Located on the edge of the village this is a spectacular large natural limestone cave. It occasional hosts concerts and other events.
The Peak District has some of the most challenging and popular rock climbing routes in Europe including Stanage Edge, near Hathersage (20 mins away) and The Roaches in the Staffordshire Moorlands (45 mins away).
Many world class climbers live in the area, sharpening their skills on challenging cliffs, edges and boulders . Regardless of whether you are an enthusiastic beginner or a world class climber, there are plenty of crags to discover for adventurers at all levels.
Caving & Potholing
A highly popular activity in the Peak District, Castleton is home to the largest and highest natural cavern in the UK, the Titan Cave, discovered by local potholer Dave Nixon in 2000. Novices do need an experienced guide to access the cave and prior experience of caving and potholing is recommended. See www.peakspeedwell.info for more information
In addition there are a number of activity centres in the Peak District which offer climbing, pot holing and caving with a qualified instructor. These centres will also provide all of the necessary waterproof and safety equipment. All you need provide are warm clothes! Please look at www.gritstoneadventures.co.uk and www.intotheblue.co.uk for details on instruction and courses.
If walking up a hill isn’t gruelling enough why not run up it – competitively! Nearly every Well Dressing and village Wakes Week or Gala is accompanied by a fell race. These are shorter and less strenuous than some of the Iron Man type fell races and, I suspect, a lot more fun. Entries are usually taken on the day locally on occasions such as Hope Wakes Week and Hathersage Gala. The Fell Runners Association has a calendar of all of the UK’s races.
Spring House Farm is walking distance to both Hope and Castleton. Both have a number of pubs and cafes, all of which are child friendly, and most of which are dog friendly. All offer vegetarian options.
Castleton – Pubs
The Castle (Tel 01433 620578) Part of the Vintage Inn chain, friendly and efficient with good food. Dogs welcome.
The Bull’s Head (Tel 01433 620256) A very nice interior, again friendly and efficient with a good menu range. Good place to watch the nation’s big sporting occasions in company. NO DOGS
Ye Old Nags Head (Tel 01433 620248) Nice little pub/restaurant. Good food. Welcomes dogs. Friday quiz night.
The Peak Hotel (Tel 01433 620247) Pub/hotel. Quite lively. Welcomes dogs.
The George (Tel 01433 620238) Quite traditional. The locals’ pub. Welcomes dogs
The Cheshire Cheese (Tel 01433 620330) Very traditional. Welcomes dogs. Quiz night Sunday.
Hope – Pubs
The Cheshire Cheese, Edale Road, Hope (Tel 01433 620381) One of our favourites. Cosy on a winter’s night. Traditional pub. Good pub food and a friendly atmosphere. Welcomes dogs. Quiz night Wednesday.
The Old Hall, Hope (Tel 01433 620160) Sister pub/hotel to The Peak in Castleton. Quite lively. Welcomes dogs.
The Blind Bull, Little Hucklow, (Tel 01298 211949) Newly refurbished pub/restaurant with good decor, a good menu, and good food especially for vegetarian options. No dogs.
Mid/Higher End Eating Out
Lose Hill House Hotel & Spa, Edale Road, Hope (Tel 01433 621219) A favourite for us. A nice walk over the shoulder of Lose Hill to this lovely little hotel. Food and service very good. Lovely decor. Beautiful views from the dining room/bar. A favourite venue for weddings, so, often busy at weekends.
Bank House Brasserie, Hathersage (Tel 01433 449060) A buzzing lively atmosphere with a high end contemporary feel plus good food and service.
The George Hotel, Hathersage (Tel 01433 650436) Recently refurbished, again, buzzing and busy, good food and very good value.
Maazi Indian Restaurant, Hathersage (Tel 01433 650725) A very good Indian restaurant. Good decor, food and excellent service at sensible prices. Also, does take-away but doesn’t deliver this far away. Perhaps phone in order to collect. 10-15 mins away.
Top End Dining
Fischers Restaurant, Baslow (Tel 01246 583259) Michelin star fine dining. Often has a good value lunch menu. Food and service excellent. Atmosphere quite formal and hushed.
The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow (Tel 01246 582311) Part of the Chatsworth Estate. Absolutely lovely. Brasserie style conservatory eating or more formal dining room. Food and service excellent. Views over the estate parkland.
The Curry Cabin, Hope (Tel 01433 623203) Indian (Kashmiri) restaurant and take away which delivers. Food and prices are good. No alcohol served but you are welcome to bring a bottle.
Bradwell Fisheries Fish & Chip Shop, Bradwell (Tel 01433 620379). Good local chippy a 10 minute drive away. Perhaps phone in order to collect.