We were fortunate enough to head ‘up north’ for part of the Christmas break. I am originally from Manchester so any opportunity to head back that way is always welcomed!
We are also lucky to have family own a gorgeous cottage in the Peak District and so we planned a couple of nights at the cottage, some walks and meals and general good family time.
We headed to the amazing Badger Cottage in Ravensdale/ Cressbrook. This was our first visit to Badger Cottage and immediately you get transported back in time to how life must have been like for the former lead miners that lived in these greatly preserved cottages. The cottage is nestled beneath Ravens Cragg of which the kids had fun scrambling up parts of on one of the days we were there. The cottage is tiny…part of the charm…so we had fun squeezing in and getting cosy. Woodstoves and board games were order of the day.
We spent 2 days in the area so barely scratched the surface on what can be done. We know we will be heading back at some point!
Day one we headed to the Monsal Trail. A great trail for all abilities as its pretty much flat the whole way. 8.5 miles in length, we didn’t go the whole way but did do a good distance. We parked up at Monsal Head hotel. Walked down to the pathway and headed into the tunnel! What fun to walk the length of an old steam tunnel. The history around the train line and its short lived life is interesting and only in recent years have the tunnels been opened to the public. Be warned though, lights do go out at dusk so don’t be caught out partway without any light! We made it just in time on our return journey.
We walked the pathway some distance, even passing through an old dis-used station. The station was purely for a stately home…not the public. At some point on the trail, there is a relatively new cafe (3-4 years old) which is a popular stop for the walkers and many cyclists on the route. I don’t recall the name of it but you can’t miss it. Food was fabulous and coupled with the gift shop it was a good destination point if you are walking with kids.
From there, we turned around and walked back to Monsal Head. Making time to stop onto the impressive Monsal Viaduct.
Day 2 we headed over to Chatsworth House. Wow! What an impressive sight. We didn’t take any tour as it is now closed for the Winter season but we did explore some o the grounds which are extensive. The grounds and buildings are so many and vast, that anything belonging to the estate is painted with the classic Chatsworth Blue. A most fascinating stop on our walk is the village of Edensor. You can drive up to the village but as we were on foot, we came in via some back steps that have been there for hundreds of years….beautiful stone and well worn by those that would have worked for the estate. The village gave me a sense of having stopped in time. Almost, a sheltered and protected little village – away from the changing and sometimes not so pretty world we live in. I think what sealed this was the 2 horsewomen trotting up on their horses, tying them up at the church and then stopping into the tea shop for a civilized cup of tea! A must do is afternoon tea in the Edensor Tea shop. It was busy but patience paid off as we had homemade cakes and tea.
All in all, the trip was wonderful. It won’t be our only visit to the Peaks this year. We’ll head back up and explore some more as soon as we can.
Note – Badger Cottage can be booked but availability is scarce!