Less than a 5 minute drive from the house, is the small Hamlet of Alport. It sits within the Haddon Estate and at the bottom of Bradford Dale. We could walk directly from the house id we wanted a full day and a circular walk, but we went by car as we didn t have a lot of time, just a couple of hours. We parked in the marked lay-by on the right side, on the road leading from Alport to Youlgreave. Just below the parking and passing a large cottage just beyond is a footpath leading up the Dale following the the River Lathkill. We crossed a couple of fields close to the river, enjoying hazy sunshine with our dog Gnasher whom you will see in photos looks terribly fierce, haha !
As we passed the house we came to a stile leading to a narrow lane where we turned right to see a small packhorse bridge and a weir with swans fettling their feathers
We crossed over the bridge and followed the pathway up through the woods until we reached open fields at the top. The sign there was misleading and though the maps suggest 3 routes there was a notice saying 1 route only ? this would take us the wrong way and we could see our destination, Over Haddon village, and the white building of the Lathkill Hotel. We could clearly see a stile between the us and Haddon and took the route as originally planned. We passed several walkers from the opposite direction ( the pathway was open from that direction so were glad we had stuck to the map !)
Now on high ground we could enjoy the fantastic views of the valley as it winds its way up to Monyash.
Had we had more time we could have taken many routes from Over Haddon either towards Monyash, Bakewell or Youlgreave via Congreave and back to the car, but our time was short so we returned via the same route, This wasn t a disappointment at all as the view was in reverse, the skies were brighter - this is when we took the top right photo.
All in were were only out for 2 hours, and it was lovely, no serious footwear needed or planning. This is a very typical of the walking very close to our home.
Last week we went cycling on the Monsal Trail after a tip off from guests who had hired bikes from Blackwell Hire which is at the far end ( Buxton end). Though familiar with the Bakewell and Hassop bike hire and the route from Bakewell, it was great to do it differently.
The Monsal trail is 8.5 miles of traffic free walking or riding through landscape and former peak district industry , now returned to nature but with remains of former use making it interesting.!
Blackwell Cycle Hire
3 miles from Buxton on the A6 towards Bakewell , there is a car park ( chargeable ) on the left near a quarry entrance ( opposite side ). follow the pathway by the river for about a 1/4 mile through the trees to reach the Blackwell Hire Cabin. We had our own bikes so just had a look. As well as hire they also sold a few provisions and snacks ( no loo's but there are at Millers Dale ). we joined the trail just up the slope from the cabin. Great fun cycling and a quieter than the Bakewell end, passing quarried ridges, lime kiln hoppers etc unti we reached Millers Dale Bridge. To our amazement and my horror, were people waiting to abseil off the bridge above the arches - a drop of 80 feet!
Just 5 minutes down the road, we are very lucky to have Haddon Hall, a fortified manor House on the banks of the River Wye, on the way to Bakewell. Built in the 1400's the Hall both nestles into the landscape and yet commands over it. The gardens terrace down towards the river with huge gritstone walls and butresses clad in rambling roses. The gentle shelving steps are over-run with tiny daises. It feels like 'The Secret Garden' it's as though it has had a long sleep and yet retained some lovely planting. Its not perfect and that's its beauty.
Both in the gardens and the house, there is combined sense of grandeur and simplicity. With intricate patterned windows, ornate carved details and once guilded wood and panelling, alongside very early simple furniture. The house isn 't 'dressed with fancy drapes or furnishings but has incredible patterned ceilings especially the painted chequer - board ceiling in the dining room. The kitchens are frighteningly stark - a reminder that it would have been very hot and exhausting with the two huge fireplaces burning - an insight into the tough life of being 'downstairs '
The chapel is fabulous - its very small but has frescoe seccoes incl the 3 skeletons !!, floral designs and religious illustrations. There is a small museum in a courtyard room. There is also a tea room and outdoor seating.
There are a lot of steps and uneven surfaces so not ideal for those a little unsteady on their feet.
When I next return, I will take a picnic and find a sunny quiet spot at the lower terrace by the towering walls amongst the roses, looking at the river and the meadow beyond.
I love Chatsworth House, but this is different, it'is quieter, smaller and less polished but its still a jewel well worth a visit. ( Entry was £12 )
Wow - June and July have skipped by - what busy months but very enjoyable - we ve had some lovely guests and enjoyed their company very much - thank you !
Now heading into August we have Bakewell Show starting tomorrow for two days - look for the Bakewell Brownie stand ( usually near the entrance) if you love chocolate - locally made, rich, naughty & delicous - the show has all you d expect from an country show - food, stalls, animals,flowers and rides etc ,
Chatsworth country fair 4th - 6th Sept with a display by the incredible Red Arrows on Sunday. A 3 day event with horses, dogs, ferret racing, birds of prey , country pursuits, activities, food, home and garden products incl gazebo', plants , displays and finishing with a mass balloon lift off - and not least of all, Mary Berry cookery class again. I met her last year at the book signing, she is a legend and full of energy!
Last Sunday I visited Chatsworth gardens with Abi ( daughter ) and as always we spent most of our time in the kitchen gardens - I was green with envy !!
Lovely to spot the memorial in honour of the Dowager Duchess Deborah Devonshire - a small heart shaped mandale stone plaque beautifully understated and simple, very apt, Deborah Devonshire was inspired to have the garden created many years ago and I m sure, visited regularly. Its a gardener's delight with lots of flowers grown for cutting, vegetables, grape vines, green houses and so much insect life and bee's!
A brass band played by the rose gardens throughout the day in the warm sun sunshine - just lovely!
We ve had some amazing sunsets last month - see photos
This morning was pretty wet and no sign of summer to come but the clouds shifted the sun came out so I took 'Gnasher for a walk from the back over the field and into the wood and valley - the bluebells are breathtaking - the most prolific and so blue - heres a few shots -
This walk took only 15 mins in total - timed well to avoid a shower!
Easter weekend was lovely and relaxing with the weather being good. As well as the cooked breakfasts we had hot cross buns and easter eggs for our guests so long walks followed!
The weather this month has been amazingly warm and the lead swallows arrive very early!
Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall both opened both house and gardens.
Matlock has moved its farmers market into the lovely victoran park by the river ( every 3 rd saturday of each month. ) It s combined with the wednesday market and in the warm sunshine we sat muching stall food and drinking freshly made coffee as though in the south of France!
Simon met up with our vintage car hill climb guest friends who visited again in March, to take part in their Scottish hill races where they got 1st in class !!
Simon is keen to get his bike out this weekend and cycle the Tissington trail - so hoping for good weather! I will no doubt be digging the flowerbeds!!
We ve had a lovely winter with a few days of snow & sunshine. With new beds delivered from healthbeds we can recommend them highly for a very comfortable sleep with new Super king /Twin bed option.
We ve also treated ourselves to new carpets throughout so feeling all set for the 2015 season.
The begining of march saw the return of the VSCC ( vintage sports car club ) hill climb in The Peak District
What a fantastic summer it was to explore the Peak District National Park. We ve had a busy summer season and have enjoyed hearing all about guests days out - where they have enjoyed going, places to eat etc
As usual - we ve enjoyed hearing about different walks - though favourites seem to be local walks including Bradfrord Dale and across to Over Haddon and Monyash , walks along Curbar / Frogatt Edge incl pub lunch at the Grouse Inn, and as always walking around Chatsworth.