Dog-Friendly Pubs in Derbyshire & The Peak District

Everyone knows that dogs need walking even in Winter, so why not reward both yourself and your pooch by warming up in a cosy pub after your fresh Winter walk…?

 

Check out this list of dog-friendly pubs in Derbyshire and the Peak District:

Dog-Friendly Pubs near Derby

 

The Hollybush Inn, Holly Bush Lane, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0RX

The Old Oak, 176 Main Street, Horsley Woodhouse, Ikeston, Derbyshire DE7 6AW

The Falstaff, 74, Silver Hill Rd, Normanton, Derby, Derbyshire  DE23 6UJ

 

 

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Dog-Friendly Pubs near Ashbourne

 

Knockerdown Inn: Nr Carsington Water, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 1NQ  Tel: 01629 540209

Bentley Brook: Fenny Bentley, Nr Ashbourne, Derbyshire  DE6 1LF  Tel: 01335 350278

The Dog & Partridge: This is also a dog-friendly hotel!

Swinscoe, Nr Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 2HS  Tel: 01335 343183

The Miners Standard: This also provides a dog-friendly campsite!

Bank Top, Winster, Derbyshire. DE4 2DR  Tel: 01629 650279

 

Dog-Friendly Pubs in the Hope Valley

 

 

Ye Olde Nags Head: Cross Street, Castleton, Hope Valley. S33 8WH  Tel: 01433 620248

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: How Lane, Castleton, Hope Valley. S33 8WJ  Tel: 01433 620330

The Miners Arms: Water Lane, Eyam, Hope Valley. S32 5RG  Tel: 01433 630853

The Moon Inn: High St, Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire. S32 4TL  Tel: 01433 630203

The Old Nags Head: Edale, Hope Valley. S33 7ZD  Tel: 01433 670291

The Rambler Inn: Edale, Hope Valley. S33 7ZA  Tel: 01433  670268

The Maynard: This bar and hotel prides itself on being very dog-friendly, offering water and treats to dogs who stay in the hotel too!

Main Road, Grindleford, Hope Valley. S32 2HE  Tel: 01433 630445

Ye Olde Bowling Green: Smalldale, Bradwell, Hope Valley S33 9JQ
Tel: 01433 620450

Shoulder of Mutton: Church St, Bradwell, Hope Valley S33 9HJ
Tel: 01433 620427
Dog-friendly bar and accommodation!

 

 

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Dog-Friendly Pubs near Matlock

 

The Boat Inn: Scarthin, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire. DE4 3QF  Tel: 01629 258083

Red Lion: Main St, Birchover, Nr Matlock, Derbyshire. DE4 2BN  Tel: 01629 650363

Flying ChildersMain Rd, Stanton in Peak, Derbyshire. DE4 2LW   Tel: 01629 636333

The Rising Sun: Rise End, Middleton, Matlock, Derbyshire. DE4 4LS  Tel: 01629 823247

 

 

Dog-Friendly Pubs near Buxton

 

The Duke: 123 St John’s Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6UR Tel: 01298 78781

Church Inn: Main St, Chelmorton, Nr Buxton SK17 9SL  Tel: 01298 85319

Red Lion: Church Lane, Litton, Derbyshire. SK17 8QU  Tel: 01298 871458

The Horse & Jockey: Tideswell, Derbyshire SK17 8JZ  Tel: 01298 872211

Navigation Inn: Brookside, Buxworth, High Peak  SK23 7NE  Tel: 01663 732072

The Wanted Inn: Sparrowpit, High Peak SK17 8ET  Tel: 01298 812862

 

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Dog-Friendly Pubs near Bakewell

 

The Castle Inn: Bakewell, DE45 1DU   Tel: 01629 812103

Red Lion: The Square, Bakewell, Derbyshire. DE45 1BT   Tel: 01629 812054

The Packhorse Inn: Main St, Little Longstone, Nr Bakewell.  DE45 1NN   Tel: 01629 640471

The Crispin: Main St, Great Longstone, Bakewell, Derbyshire.  Tel: 01629 640237

The White Lion: Main St, Great Longstone, Bakewell, Derbyshire.  Tel: 01629 640252

Bulls Head: Church St, Monyash DE45 1JH  Tel: 01629 812372

 

Tag us with a photo of your dog enjoying their cosy pub experience on our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! 

 

 

For more info on dog-friendly pubs visit this very helpful site, dogfriendlypeakdistrict!

 

 

 

 

9 Christmas Events in Derbyshire & the Peak District

 

Christmas is a MONTH away… but are you in the festive mood yet?

If you’re not quite there, do not fret, for we have a list of great Christmas events bound to give you that fuzzy feeling in the lead-up to the big day!

CHRISTMAS AT RENISHAW, near Chesterfield

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If you’d love nothing more than to wander round a stately home at Christmas time, soaking up all the festive cheer, you won’t want to miss this…

This December, Renishaw Hall will be dressed for a traditional family Christmas, and tours of the house will be given at 1pm and 2.30pm. These must be booked in advance- click the link above for more details.

Tour dates:

Thu 1 – Sun 4 Dec 2016 13:00 14:30
Thu 8 – Sun 11 Dec 2016 13:00 14:30

JOIN SANTA ON A STEAM TRAIN AT PEAK RAIL

Steam Trains are pretty fun by themselves, but add Santa and his Elves along for the ride and you’ve got a Christmas memory to treasure forever.

This festive steam train will be traveling from Rowsley South Station to Matlock  for one return journey, lasting approximately 1 hour.

peak-rail-santa-special-christmas-events-2016

As you chuff along the track, Santa, assisted by his many elves, will pass through the train bearing gifts, sweets and drinks for the kids.

Meanwhile, grown-ups can sit back and relax with a glass of hot mulled wine and a mince pie.

The train will be filled with festive music, professional clowns and magicians to entertain you whilst you travel, so everyone’s bound to have a great time!

Santa Special train rides are happening on Saturday 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th, Sunday 4th, 11th & 18th, Monday 19th Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd December.

CHRISTMAS AT HADDON HALL– An English Renaissance Christmas
1st December to 18th December 2016

haddon-christmas

There’re loads of fantastic and whimsical events happening at Haddon this Christmas period- there’ll be performances and demonstrations on traditional instruments,  choral renditions in the chapel and a concert in the Long Gallery by the Royal Northern College of Music.

There’s loads more going on, so click the above link for full details on all festive events.

This Christmas, Haddon Hall is opening its doors in the evening, so you can enjoy a peaceful candlelit tour- full of sparkle and warm fireplaces!

The candle-lit tours are happening on 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th & 13th December.

MEET SANTA IN HIS GROTTO AT CALKE ABBEY

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Have yourself and your little ones a traditional Christmas grotto experience, and meet Santa in the wonderful setting of Calke Abbey!

With dates throughout the December weekends, tickets are selling out fast so make sure you book your visit to meet Santa at Calke Abbey soon.

Find Calke Abbey at Ticknall, Derby, Derbyshire, DE73 7LE

WATERSIDE WINTER WONDERLAND AT CONKERS, Swadlincote

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This year at Conkers, you can enjoy a Christmassy walk through the Enchanted Forest with Santa’s team of elves who will lead you to the Valley of Christmas lights, and finally, to Santa’s Woodland Grotto!

Adults get to sample some mulled wine and mince pies- so there will be smiles all round.

You can also take a trip on the Santa Special train and go on to watch their festive Christmas show.

Sat 3 – Sun 4 Dec 2016
Sat 10 – Sun 11 Dec 2016
Sat 17 – Sat 24 Dec 2016

FAMILY-FUN CHRISTMAS AT ARKWRIGHT’S CROMFORD MILL, near Matlock

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This Christmas at Cromford Mill will be chock-a-block with exciting Christmassy activities- you can follow the Christmas tree trail, have a donkey ride, get your face painted, enjoy some carol singing and you can even try crafting a traditional Christmas wreath.

Not forgetting the most important part… you can also meet Father Christmas!

Saturday December 10- Sunday December 11

For details on all of these events and when they are, click the link above. Ring to book!

SANTA’S FLOATING GROTTO AT MERCIA MARINA

santas-floating-grotto-mercia-swan

This is not your ordinary grotto… it’s aboard a BOAT. Santa’s BOAT, nonetheless- a FLOATING grotto.

That’s right, Santa has a boat, where you can meet him and get a present aboard this floating grotto.

Enjoy a Christmas cruise on the ‘Mercia Swan’ trip boat and take a short, but festive, trip around the marina.

Dates Times
Sat 17 – Sun 18 Dec 2016 11:00 to 16:00

Find Mercia Marina at Findern Lane, Willington, Derby, DE65 6DW

SANTA, ELVES AND SLEIGH BELLS AT THE TROPICAL BUTTERFLY HOUSE

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Meet Santa in his Grotto, take a magical sleigh ride through the wintery woods, see the Farm Barn Nativity Scene and visit the Elf Workshop for Christmas Crafts- all at the Tropical Butterfly House this Christmas.

There’s also a special Christmas afternoon tea available!

See all of this on the 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th – 24th December 2016

Find the Tropical Butterfly House at Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield,
South Yorkshire, S25 4EQ

ELVASTON CASTLE FESTIVE FAMILY FUN DAY AT ELVASTON CASTLE COUNTRY PARK

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This Christmas, in the beautiful setting of Elvastone castle there’s going to be a very exciting Elves’ workshop, where you can write a letter to Father Christmas and make a decoration for your tree!

You can also join Father Christmas in Elvaston’s Gothic Hall to hear traditional Christmas tales from around the world.

All this is happening on Sunday 4 Dec 2016 10:00 to 15:00 

Find Elvaston Castle at Borrowash Road, Elvaston, Derby, DE72 3EP

Click here for a full list of all of the Christmas events happening in Derbyshire & the Peak District

Eight of the Cosiest Cafes in Derbyshire & the Peak District

 

The nights are drawing in and soon the mornings will be getting frostier and frostier- so with this in mind, we wanted to focus on all things cosy!

Here are 9 cafes in the Peak District & Derbyshire that are perfect for warming up your fingers, toes and belly…

 

  • Lavender Tea Rooms, Bakewell

 

Nestled in the heart of Bakewell,  this extremely quaint and charming tea room has to be one of our favourite places for a slice of cake and a good cup of tea.

All served on traditional china make for a delightful experience when visiting here. The charming décor has a wonderful vintage flare, and makes you feel completely at home.

You can find this cosy cafe at Hebden Court, Matlock St, Bakewell DE45 1EE

 

 

  • H&F Vintage Tearoom, Chesterfield

Afternoon tea @rosiebarrett46

A photo posted by Emily Breedon (@emilybreedon) on

 

A few steps away from Chesterfield’s high street is a brilliant vintage style cafe, with excellent cake, tea and coffee. The cakes are all fantastic colours, flavours but what really makes this place extra special is the wonderful decor, it really does look amazing in there. Even the straws are stylish!

We can’t get enough of H&F Vintage Tearoom, it’s more than worth a visit.

 

  • Village Green Cafe, Eyam 

Victoria sponge is the cake of the day; come and visit us today. (Yes, that is meringue on top!!!!!)

A photo posted by Village Green (@cafevillagegreen) on

 

Eyam is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll and a bit of exploring, and a day in Eyam can only be made better with an afternoon tea at the Village Green cafe. Located in the middle of the village, there’s loads of homemade cakes, loose-leaf tea and fair trade coffee- perfect for warming yourself up!

Find the Village Green Cafe, here: The Square, Eyam, Derbyshire, S32 5RB

 

 

  • F’Coffee, Matlock Bath

Open 7 days a week, 10-5. Food, drinks, gifts ☕️🌯

A photo posted by f'coffee ☕️ (@fcoffeematlockbath) on

 

This sweet little cafe is exactly that… full of sweetness! F’coffee is well known for it’s fresh-shakes (with a doughnut and cream on top, obviously), as well as their tea and cakes.

If you’re after a place that’s a bit different from the chain coffee shops to spend a cosy afternoon in Matlock, we think F’coffee is perfect.

 

  • M.A.D.E at No. 18

Our home M.A.D.E @no.18 Church Street, Alfreton, Derbyshire. 🇬🇧 Come visit!

A photo posted by David Taylor (@made_at_no18) on

 

This has to be the cosiest place in Alfreton! There’s some great food on offer as well as warming treats such as the Gingerbread or Oreo Hot Chocolate. One of the nicest parts of this cafe/bistro is the local art that can be seen on display- M.A.D.E. @ No 18 showcases a range of artists and crafts people from Alfreton and Derbyshire communities.

A lovely place to relax with friends and family- don’t miss their great Afternoon Tea (the sandwiches are impressively teenie-tiny)!

Find MADE at No. 18, here: 18 Church Street, Alfreton DE55 7AH

 

 

 

  • The Apple Tree Teahouse, Derby

 

The cupcakes, scones and homemade cakey goodness on offer from this cafe are jaw-dropping. If you’re a cake-lover (cough-whoisn’t-cough), then you’re sure to be helpless to its charms … They also sell lovely gifts and bits and bobs in the cafe, so you could even do some Christmas shopping/retail therapy after your tea and cake!

Find Apple Tree at: 6 Flood Street Ockbrook Derby DE72 3RF

 

 

Late lunch

A photo posted by Don No (@donno1970) on

 

Caudwell’s Mill in Rowsley is a wonderful snapshot into Derbyshire’s industrial heritage… and is also a lovely place to enjoy some cake, a sandwich or some homemade quiche! After filling your belly to the brim with food and hot tea, you can waddle around the gift shop and, of course, the mill, next door. There’re loads of great things to see (and eat) at Caudwell’s!

Find this cafe, and their yummy food, here: Caudwell’s Mill Rowsley , Matlock , Derbyshire, DE4 2EB

 

 

  • Victoria Vintage Tea Rooms, Draycott

 

Afternoon tea for Mother's Day 😘

A photo posted by Jade Osborne 👸🏼 (@jadeosborne_x) on

 

This one is a bit of a hidden treasure; the Victoria Vintage Tea Rooms is in Draycott, a village in the Erewash district of Derbyshire. It’s around 6 miles east of Derby and 3 miles south-west of Long Eaton.

This Tea Room has an afternoon tea that will fill you up for the rest of the day (so…much…cake…), a warming fireplace and a little doll’s house to boot! The decor is very sweet, making you think you’re having a cup of tea at your Granny’s place- very homey indeed.

If you’re ever in the area, this little gem well worth visiting…. I mean just look at all that cake.

 

Find this cafe at 25 Victoria Road | Derbyshire, Draycott DE72 3PS

 

If you’ve found a little cosy cafe that you love in Derbyshire or the Peak District, why not tag us on Instagram? Find us at www.instagram.com/visitpeakdistrict 

 

 

Dove Valley: An Insider’s Guide

 

Dramatic scenery, castle remains and two counties in a day!

I’m Helen and I’ve been lucky enough to live in the Peak District for the last 35 years. I love walking, jogging and cycling – and what better place to be to enjoy those pursuits! I’m part of the marketing team at Experience Peak District and Derbyshire and this is my Insider’s Guide…

The Dove Valley is a popular and well-loved area of the Peak District and has long been a favourite of mine, from family strolls to the ‘Stepping Stones’ at Dovedale to circular walks dipping in and out of the valley passing the well-known beauty spots of Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale and Milldale.

However the walk that I’m going to share with you takes you north through the lesser known and quieter, but no less beautiful, Upper Dove Valley.

The walk starts in the popular village of Hartington. There is car parking around the village and there is also a pay and display car park; opposite this car park are the (all important before setting out on a walk) Public Conveniences. There is also a bus service that runs between Buxton and Ashbourne which serves Hartington.

There are pubs, tearooms and a couple of shops in the village, should you need to fuel up for the walk or refuel afterward. And if you’re a cheese lover don’t miss a visit to the cheese shop, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

So, setting off from the pretty and much-photographed pond in the centre of the village .

 

the-village-of-hartington

 

Head north along Dig Street for a short distance and on your right you will see a green public footpath sign, take this to join Hyde Lane.

the-path-to-hyde-lane

 

Turn left and continue on this minor road until you reach a footpath sign on your left signposted to Pilsbury and Crowdecote…

 

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Go up and over this stile and the onward route is straightforward crossing fields on the side of the valley with splendid views of the river Dove meandering on its way. Passing the remains of former mine workings you descend into a side valley to reach a junction of paths, follow the path for Pilsbury and Crowdecote to reach a road by some farm buildings.

 

the-path-crosses-the-road-by-the-farm-buildings

 

Continue over the stile, across the road and through the gate…

 

over-the-road-and-through-the-gate-signposted-to-crowdecote

 

… and carry on down the waymarked path where you will reach the remains of Pilsbury Castle.

 

the-path-leads-down-to-the-castle-remains

 

Pilsbury Castle is one of the best examples of a motte and bailey castle in Derbyshire, only the earthworks are now visible and the castle’s history is a bit of a mystery, although it was probably built around 1100 by the Normans on the site of an Iron Age fort, there is a handy interpretation board that will tell you more:

 

interpretation-board

 

This is a great photo opportunity with the impressive Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill in the distance …

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Then, from the Castle head south along a farm track …

the-pretty-farm-track-leading-to-the-hamlet-of-pilsbury

 

…to the road and continue down through the hamlet of Pilsbury.

the-road-through-the-hamlet-of-pilsbury

 

Then, turn right  to reach the footbridge over the River Dove- you are now crossing from Derbyshire into Staffordshire!

 

follow-the-footpath-signposted-to-sheen-and-brund

 

Follow the green lane for about 150 metres before crossing the first stile on your left. The path now climbs quite steeply diagonally across fields until you reach the road at the side of a property called High Close, make sure you take plenty of ‘breathers’ on this section to look back into the valley, the views are stunning. Turn left on the road and you will soon reach Harris Close Farm, turning into the drive.

 

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You will see a stile on your right signposted to Hartington, follow the footpath (with the wall on your right) through several fields before descending along the edge of a small conifer plantation where the path descends back into the valley and joins a farm track passing by Bridge End Farm on the outskirts of Hartington.

The path now crosses fields and you will emerge by the now deserted dairy where Stilton Cheese was once made.  Turn left along the lane and you are back in the centre of the village for a well- earned cup of tea and slice of cake! And perhaps a visit to the Cheese Shop?

 

the-old-cheese-shop-in-the-centre-of-the-village

 

The walk is about 6 miles in total and I think an official grading would be ‘moderate’. Take your time, fill your lungs with the fresh air and soak up the fantastic views, and beware you’ll probably be back as it’s likely to end up on your favourites list, like it did for me!

 

 

Remember to always take a map and compass with you whenever you walk in the Peak District- Although Helen has lived her all her life, she is not an accredited walking guide!

 

 

 

The Ultimate Viewpoint in the Peak District- the photographer’s choice

 

 Viewpoint from Grindsbrook by photographer  Mat Robinson


Kinder Scout often gets a lot of attention, what with being the highest point in the Peaks, and very few areas get as crowded as Grindsbrook Clough in the summer due to its ease of access and obvious beauty – but that doesn’t stop some nearby views being, in my opinion, the best in the National Park.

 

1-above-grindsbrook

 

Starting from Edale, this round walk can be completed in a few hours, being just 5.5 miles long, but does include some lung busting ascents if you’re rushing up for a sunrise or sunset (which, unfortunately, are the best times to visit). As you head out of the top of the village, the road soon becomes a private access road and the path curves down to the stream on the right – follow this path into the open fields opposite and then keep to the flagstones. You soon find the sides of the valley steepening and your route up becomes clear – just follow the water. The main path generally stays clear of the stream but don’t be afraid to venture off to take some photos of the numerous cascades.

 

2-one-of-the-larger-falls-on-grindsbrook

 

As you head out of the top of the village, the road soon becomes a private access road and the path curves down to the stream on the right – follow this path into the open fields opposite and then keep to the flagstones. You soon find the sides of the valley steepening and your route up becomes clear – just follow the water. The main path generally stays clear of the stream but don’t be afraid to venture off to take some photos of the numerous cascades.

 

 

Eventually, the route steepens and the paths get a little less well defined, as a general rule, if you keep left you’ll find your way up the correct stream, avoiding the many tributaries. The last few hundred yards are a steep walk (you may need hands in places) up the riverbed itself, so expect to get a little bit wet after recent rain… although in summer it can be completely dry. This tops out on the plateau and the views down Grindsbrook Clough are stunning.

 

 

There are numerous interesting rocks on both sides up here, but to the east, you’ll find some especially lovely, eroded ones along with amazing views back down Grindsbrook Clough – to Lose and Win Hills beyond.

3-looking-down-the-layers-of-grindsbrook-clough-to-the-hope-valley-beyond

 

 

Continuing along this easterly route, about half way around the rim of the valley, you’ll come across my favourite location, Upper Tor. These impressively weathered outcrops stand proudly above the valley, with the Great Ridge acting as a perfect backdrop. The angle of the rocks here means that timing is everything- they’re perfect for a sunset photo year round, as shown below, but the light is lost relatively early here as the higher reaches of the plateau block the sun well before the sun sets on the surrounding landscape. If you want to visit on a morning, winter is the best option as you’ll catch the sun rising right in the middle of this view too.

4-upper-tor-on-a-late-summers-evening

 

 

As you continue the walk, you’ll find numerous tributaries that you’ll have to cross, some easier than others, and a few more waterfalls which can be beautiful in any weather.

 

5-even-on-a-bad-day-kinder-scout-can-be-beautiful

 

Finally, as you come towards the final descent, the views before doing so are well worth your efforts thus far. You’ll end up on a thin rocky outcrop called Ringing Roger from which the views to the south are as breathtaking as all those around the earlier walk, but you’ll also be able to look northwest to see the route you’ve just taken below Grindslow Knoll.

 

6-the-view-from-ringing-roger

 

From here, there’s initially a bit of a scramble down, but if you retrace your steps by a few hundred yards you can then walk down a larger path into the valley. If you’re in a rush for the last train home, as I have been many times, you can usually get down to the station in under half an hour… just be careful! If on the other hand, you have plenty of time after making your way down then it’s well worth stopping by the Rambler Inn in Edale and sitting in a comfy leather chair by the fire with a pint of Farmer’s Blonde. A good way to dry out after the usual Kinder weather!

Alternative route up:

I mentioned near the start that the ascent includes a steep final section up the bed of the stream, which can get tricky in the winter. Alternatively, you can start by following the Pennine Way out of Edale (west, just as you reach the Old Nags Head) which takes you up a wooded path with a stream in a ditch beside it. Follow this for a few hundred yards before it opens out into fields. Don’t follow the path through the gate, instead just head up to the right following a worn track through the grass. A short while later you come to a gate and the path becomes obvious again – taking this route up you’ll top out on Grindslow Knoll, just keep to the right-hand path and you’ll soon find yourself joining the earlier route at the top of Grindsbrook.

 

If you’d like a tour of these dramatic locations, take a look at http://www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk/the-dark-peak-outcrops-and where you’ll find further information and the option to contact Mat to discuss a potential trip out

 

Mat Robinson is not a professional or accredited walking guide, this blog has been written as an outline to a walk so please always be careful when walking in the Peak District and make sure to always carry a map and compass… just in case!

 

Wildlife Photography: Capturing Badgers

Capturing Badgers by Wildlife Photographer Tesni Ward

 

tesniward_badger3

 

European Badgers have been heavily persecuted by man for hundreds of years, dating back to 1566 when a change in law made Badgers a real target. This Act of Parliament meant that it was compulsory for the general population to kill as many creatures on the ‘vermin’ list as possible, with a significant financial incentive for returned carcasses. It wasn’t just ‘official’ activities that threatened Badger populations, badger baiting also played a large part from the 1800s, which still continues to this day despite being outlawed in 1835.

 

With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that my initial quest to find and photograph badgers was met with numerous failures. They have every reason to avoid humans, but this didn’t deter me, I was on a mission and I’m too stubborn to give up that easily!

 

It took months, countless hours of research and reading on all aspects of badger ecology, behaviour and speaking with experts and hunt saboteurs until I was successful in locating my first sett; I’ve never been so excited at finding fresh droppings! Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, as it became apparent that these Badgers didn’t come aboveground until long after sunset, which was understandable when I learned it was heavily targeted by baiters! Rather than risk negatively impacting them in any way, I decided to continue the search, but it took several more weeks and a spark of luck to find the sett I now work with.

 

used-just-tw-sep-8tesniward_badger2

 

 

With over 20 entrances across a steep clay hill, it was apparent that this sett would present it’s own unique challenges, well, where do I start? The first evening I spent there I chose an entrance to watch, nestled back into the bushes and waited silently. Following all the ‘typical’ rules of badger watching, I kept silent and still for about half an hour, balancing my 500mm lens and camera on my knee in the hope that a badger may pop out, before I heard a distinctive snap behind me.

Slowly, I turned to survey the area, finding nothing, but as I turned back, I was confronted by a large male badger, not 3m from me. I was frozen in complete and utter shock; I couldn’t believe it was happening!

All this time searching for these beautiful animals and there’s one right in front of me. I think he was as surprised as me, standing and sniffing the air for about 30 seconds. It felt like hours. Desperately trying and failing to focus the camera, knowing full well I couldn’t frame the shot and that the badger was likely far too close, he waddled into the bushes beside me. My heart was pounding clean out of my chest and I was overwhelmed with what had just happened, but the light was fading and I knew that it was time to leave whilst the coast was clear.

 

tesniward_badgercub

 

It took several more visits before I was able to ascertain which entrances they were regularly using, but I saw badgers every single time. Using 4 grouped entrances undercover of ferns and foliage, I was forced to sit on the steepest section of the hill in order to keep far back whilst still being in visual contact. To this day, I’m constantly battling to not slip down the bank; my tripod has spiked feet… my shoes do not.

My first night sat observing this area proved to be even more extraordinary than the first, as I watched 7 individuals leave the sett and forage in the area, with the largest boar coming within a few meters but apparently never recognising that I was present…

 

 

tesniward_badger4

 

This would be the beginning of an adventure for me, visiting regularly to see my ‘badger family’. As the summer went on, individuals gradually earned names due to their unique characteristics and personalities. Mr Piggy was a young cub who overnight developed a severe abscess on the side of his face. I was very clearly beyond emotional attachment, being distraught and concerned for his future.

You can imagine how overjoyed I was when 3 days later I saw him again, with an albeit slightly gross burst abscess and his usual, quirky personality beaming through. Monitoring his progress, I watched it heal over time and this, paired with his personality, earned him the name.

 

It’s hard to know if they’re aware that I’m there or not, never coming ‘too close’ but they undoubtedly seem far more comfortable and less skittish than when I first began to spend time with them. I like to think that they know I’m there, choosing to gift me with a few moments of their day whenever I’m there.

 

It is because of these extraordinary experiences that any negative opinion of these creatures, even in modern society, baffles me. Timid at first, their charisma quickly shines through. Playing, grooming and being generally clumsy, they could easily be mistaken for our own furry household companions.

 

If you’d be interested in taking a photography workshop with Tesni, please click here for more details. From British seals, birds, lizards or the Peak District landscape- Tesni can show you the way around photographing them all! 

 

 

We went to the Rollercoaster Restaurant at Alton Towers and it was amazing…

 

Your food gets delivered to you on it’s own MINI-ROLLERCOASTER!

 

When you first hear the term ‘Roller Coaster Restaurant’, you might be bombarded with visions of someone frantically trying to eat a burger whilst on a loop-de-loop, yes?

And even though this is a fairly entertaining thought, you’ll be relieved to know that it is, in fact, the FOOD that gets a roller coaster ride, not the both of you.

 

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This instantly filled me with child-like glee as I rushed off to make my order (on a special table-side tablet nonetheless), and watch it have the time of its life on a mini roller coaster.

The atmosphere was brilliant, there were videos of rollercoaster rides projected onto the walls, chips and drinks spinning in all sorts of corkscrew loops overhead and expectant eyes and index fingers flying everywhere.

 

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So, we began with drinks and ordered two cans of fizzy pop. They came down in their own private carriage, tops fastened on with what looked like tiny oven gloves and elastic. Off they went from the kitchen, all the way down to the helter-skelter slide and finally landed onto our table, and voila- our drinks were in front of us.

 

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Of course we immediately dove into ordering our dinners and this time, our mains travelled through their own corkscrew! The food itself was beautiful, you couldn’t taste at all that it had been turned upside down at super quick speed- in fact, having seen its exciting journey probably made it taste even better!

It would be impossible to get bored in this restaurant, the place is full to the brim with pure joy and excitement. No matter what age you are, this would be a fantastic end to a day at Alton Towers!

 

Book a table here.

6 Things To Do for Halloween this Half Term

 

October half term and Halloween is a great time to be a kid- there are so many spooky Halloween activities for your little ones to get excited about, in and around the Peak District area…

 

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So, here’s a handful of great Halloween events this October half term:

 

 

 

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Enjoy a day jam-packed with Halloween activities- take the tractor and trailer ride to the pumpkin patch and select your perfect pumpkin to take home, attend a class at Scare School, try some Broomstick Training and then brave the Haunted Hotel! There’s also a very exciting mini maize maze.

 

 

Fancy going on a Halloween bat-hunt? Elvaston Castle is home to around 7 species of bat, so the grounds are the perfect place for a special bat trail! This Halloween there’s a fun  ‘bat-detective’ puzzle for the whole family to solve, and you’ll even get a Bat Detective certificate at the end.

 

 

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Have some half term fun one of the oldest and most historic houses in England. Take part in a Halloween Trail around the hall to spot special (and spooky) parts of the hall you may not normally notice! The trail is available for families to enjoy all week.

There will be crafts for children (big and small) from the 29th to 31st October, and face painting on the 30th of October.

 

 

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Come and enjoy half term fun with daily pumpkin carving, treasure hunts, spooky guided tours (featuring Wanda the Witch) and face painting – all of which comes along with the usual farm fun of Matlock Farm Park!

 

 

 

Prepare to be scared this Halloween at CONKERS Annual Ghostly encounter at our Waterside Centre! Follow in some ghostly footsteps into the haunted woods… along with all the ghostly ghouls, witches, and trolls…

For the fainter of heart, you can take the easier walk with the younger guests.

Later, everyone will be welcome to the Ugly Bugs Disco in the Gallery where there will be a fancy dress competition with prizes for the winners. You can even watch a spooky movie in the Gallery!

 

 

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For the first time in the Tropical Butterfly House, there will be two Halloween Fright Nights! Taking place on Saturday 29th and Monday 31st October, from 6:30pm – 10pm; where you will have the rare chance to experience the Butterfly House at night…

Spooky crafts, face painting, pumpkin carving, a fancy dress competition, the Witch’s Cottage AND a super scary Haunted House are all on offer this Halloween- it’s set to be an excellent event full of ghoulish laughter!

 

 

The Peak District & Derbyshire is full of great Halloween events,  noted above are just seven of our favourites. Click here for the full list!

 

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Photographer’s Ultimate Viewpoint: Chrome and Parkhouse Hill

This week will be hearing where photographer James Grant’s ‘ultimate viewpoint’ is in the Peak District…

 

Photographically, for me, Chrome and Parkhouse Hill are my two favourite Peaks in the Peak District, with their shapely profile rising out of the Dove Valley. They are just so different from anything else the Peak District has to offer. There’s a route I have done quite a few times around these two hills which allow you to capture both hills, world war bunkers and limestone pavements. I am sharing with you this location as it appears in my book, Peak District Through The Lens.

 

The Peak District is a strange name for a National Park consisting of moors, tors and flat tops. Nestled in the Upper Dove Valley, though, are the two true peaks of Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill. Both hills are reef knolls, once submerged under water in the Carboniferous period. On the way up, some fossils can still be found embedded in the limestone. Chrome Hill is often referred to as ‘The Dragon’s Back’ due to its striking resemblance.

 

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Photo by James Grant

 

How to get here:

 

From Buxton railway station head west and take the A53 towards Leek/Flash for 4.5 miles. You will come to a bend in the road with Flash Bar Stores on your left and the Knight’s Table pub dead ahead, take the road left between these. Drive down this narrow and windy road for 3.7 miles and at the bottom you will see a sign for Hollinsclough left, this is a sharp turn in. Carry on up this road for 1.3 miles and you will reach the small village. Park in the laybys across from the chapel or back further down the road. Viewpoint 3 can be quickly accessed by parking near High Edge Racecourse. Both hills can also be accessed from Hollinsclough but also quickly from Glutton Bridge, however parking is very limited.

 

Key Info:

Access Rating: 4

Map: Explorer OL24 – White Peak

Parking Grid Reference: SK065665

Parking GPS Coordinates: Latitude : 53.195756 Longitude : -1.903966

Parking Postal Code: SK17 0RH

Car Park: Hollinsclough Village

Best Season:All year

Best Time of Day: All Day

Distance: Up To 5 ½ Miles

Time to Location: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

 

What To Shoot & Viewpoints

 

Viewpoint 1: In May there are bluebells growing on the steep sides of Hollinsclough Rake. From the parking place, follow the road up the hill heading north. After about 50m there is a gate on your right leading you through a muddy field. Follow the muddy path down to the footbridge over the River Dove and then carry on bearing a left at the top of the steps, taking the right-hand fork. You will reach a small clearing where the bluebells are. Depending on whether or not you choose to do this as part of the walk may determine what kind of shot you get. If in the earlier, brighter light, a portrait or macro lens with a wide aperture will be better. Get a detail shot of the flowers with a smooth bokeh. Manual focus will work best to absolutely nail where you want the point of focus to be.

 

Viewpoint 2: From the bluebells you have the option to go up Hollins Hill if you like. There are some good views up here towards Chrome Hill, with scenic

drystone walls leading down the hillside but there aren’t a lot of photos to be had. Instead the walk will lead you to High Edge via some limestone outcrops with a few lone hawthorn trees. From the clearing, take the footpath leading up the hillside and turn left on the track for 0.7 miles to Booth Farm. At the farm you will come to a small road, follow the steep road up, at the hairpin turn you can see some limestone outcrops to your left. Walk over to these as there are gnarly hawthorn trees growing out of the limestone fissures. May and June are a good time for these trees because they have leaves on them. You won’t be able to shoot anything in the golden hour because there will be no side lighting. Instead, try and opt for a stormy day where the big clouds will help diffuse some of the strong light.

 

Viewpoint 3: Head back to the road from viewpoint 2 to visit one of the Peak District’s few limestone pavements. Carry on up the steep road, head over the cattle grid and continue until you get to the junction. Directly ahead of you is a fenced off section with a stile into the field. You can see two World War II bunkers from here, one to your left and one to your right. You can still go inside the bunker on the right, but it is situated on private land. Instead head to the one on the left which is now filled in. This is where the limestone pavement is. It might not be up to the standards of the Yorkshire Dales but it’s impressive nonetheless. If on the walk, a stormy day is best to diffuse some of the light. Sunset in winter is great if you are looking for a golden hour shot.

 

Viewpoint 4: From High Edge, head back down to the road and turn left, which heads in the direction of Chrome Hill. Walk down the road for 500m and there is a sign turning right to Stoop Farm. From here walk along the track to near the farm. Turn left, you will take the concession path through the three gates. Here there are good views towards Chrome Hill. Please note Tor Rock, the rocky outcrop here, is private land so please respect this. From here head down the hill following the fence line to the stile.

 

Viewpoint 5: Now it’s time to walk ‘The Dragon’s Back’. Chrome Hill is the higher of the two hills with great views all around. The challenge is to walk up the main ridge of the hill, not deviating from the limestone. However, when wet or if you are less able, it is easy to circumnavigate the ridgeline. From the last stile this will take you along a narrow and muddy track towards Chrome Hill. After the gate you will be at the start of Chrome Hill. There is a narrow mud path on your left which takes you up to the base. Walk from here up the limestone steps to reach the summit. Be sure to keep checking behind you to see the views down the ridge. There are great views from the summit and photographic opportunities to be had. Just down from the summit there is also a limestone pinnacle that looks down the steep sides of Chrome Hill and catches the morning light in winter.

 

Viewpoint 6: From the summit of Chrome Hill, drop down the ridge, taking care as it’s often slippery. About ⅔ of the way down you will come across a large oak tree next to a wall and stile. This is a picture perfect spot as it frames well with Parkhouse Hill behind. This is best in the summer/autumn months when there is foliage on the tree but all year round can work e.g. in the winter with a dusting of snow. There are also opportunities along the humped ridge line beyond the tree.

 

Viewpoint 7: From the stile with the tree, walk the rest of the ridge down to the single track road at the bottom. You will be at the foot of both Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill. On the far side of the road, there is a narrow stream and after a high amount of rain gets interesting enough to act as a great foreground interest with Parkhouse Hill behind

 

Viewpoint 8: Parkhouse Hill is perhaps the closest to a knife-edge ridge you will get in the Peak District. At times it is not for the faint-hearted. The ascent is tricky and sometimes slippery. Please only go up if you are confident. The return route to the car is the same whether you decide to go up Parkhouse or not. From the road head to the

base of Parkhouse Hill, where there is a limestone pinnacle jutting out. Go to the right of this and you will find the path up. Take this narrow path and follow it to just below the summit. The best viewpoint is here, on a grass perch looking down the ridge, with a sheer drop to the right towards Chrome Hill. It’s best here in November as the light will be to your left at sunset. Other times of year the sun will be in your shot; if you like shooting into the sun May is perfect as it tips the top of Chrome Hill.

 

Return to Car: Parkhouse Hill can be a tricky descent. You can either come off the southern slopes and drop to the road below or carry along the ridge to the east and come off the path which goes around the north side back to the road between Chrome and Parkhouse Hill. Either way, you need to ensure you are on the road between the two hills. From here, head south following the flow of the stream next to the road and turn right onto the track through the gates of Stannery Farm. From here follow the track along, over the footbridge, crossing the ford and carry on. You will come to a public footpath sign pointing left for Hollinsclough. Follow this track all the way to the road and head straight on up to the village and return to your car.

 

James offers 1-2-1 tuition and themed small group workshops in the Peak District to help you catch the best of the seasons year round including the stunning season of Autumn.

 

 

When exploring the Peak District always take the best of care, being careful with your footing and always  bring a map and compass with you- just in case!

The Perfect Autumn Walk (according to the experts)

 

The Autumn is a beautiful time to experience the Peak District, so why not take the advice of professional walk guide, Matt Dawson of Trekking Skills as to where’s the best place to go and see those wonderful autumnal colours…

 

 

As we are now teetering on the edge of Autumn, the Peak District National Park starts to develop its colours. The flora and trees start to get visibly weathered- resulting in a more rustic view of the Peaks, which is glorious!
It is a great time of year to be out and about walking; all the family can enjoy the great outdoors (and the fallen leaves, of course)!  But always remember to take waterproof and warm clothing- we all know what a temperamental time of year this is, so don’t get caught out!

The walk this month shall focus on the landscape around Ladybower reservoir. Accessible to many, with plenty of parking and facilities at Fairholmes, it’s  a popular place to start your Peak District adventure!

 

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The circular walk starts at Ashtontop (on the eastern side of the aqueduct) and ascends in a northerly direction on well trodden marked paths to Whinstone lee tor. A point for your party to catch breath and start to admire the view of Ladybower reservoir. There are many walking paths around the top of Derwent edge as this is a popular accessible viewpoint. Heading further north the path lessens in gradient and keeping Ladybower reservoir on your lefthand side is a good navigational feature. Firstly passing Wheel stones then White tor at 486 metres of height then on to the iconic boulder of Salt Cellar.You can also seek shelter from a blustery wind if the Autumn season is in full swing!

 

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Keeping your height and heading further along Derwent edge you pass Dovestone tor and Cakes of Bread. These rocky outcrops are well known and provide good features of interest for the walk. Once at the high point of Back tor triangulation point (trig point) of 538 metres there are numerous paths descending westwards down to the wooded area of Derwent reservoir dam. The burnt colour of the Autumn leaves will make an ideal photograph- so make sure you pack your camera. Back on flat ground again we head along the eastern side of Ladybower reservoir surrounded by wonderful Autumn trees for three kilometres back to the start of the walk at Ashopton.

 

 

An enjoyable day in the Peak District national park with plenty of nature’s autumnal tones, scenic viewpoints and accessible walking terrain to suit most adventures.

So, go on, enjoy this season as much as you can- head out and explore!

 

Guest blogger: Matt Dawson of Trekking Skills

07792008862 matt@trekkingskills.co.uk