Peak District walking vacation

Description of Peak District walking vacation

A short walking break centered around Dovedale in Derbyshire, 'one of the most unique and delicious places in England' according to Tennyson. You will be walking in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty among the finest dales with fabulous views from the hilltops.

Our aim is to make your short walking break as memorable as possible in countryside you will never forget, combining fresh air with exercise, tranquillity and beauty, and insight into the area’s history and culture. Our carefully-crafted walks will leave you refreshed, relaxed and restored.

Enjoy

• expertly-crafted self-guided walks in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, some of England’s most outstanding countryside
• peace of mind knowing that routes have been carefully researched by the founders of the company, and tested by numerous walkers, so you can be sure you will not get lost! We include a marked-up Ordnance Survey map in your pack with a waterproof map case
• routes through the most tranquil and magnificent scenery
• printed commentaries highlighting features of special interest to provide insight into the history, culture and natural environment of the Peak District
• the freedom to start when you like, walk at your own pace, linger over lunch, visit places of interest on the way
• a choice of two excellent B&Bs or an idyllically situated hotel
• excellent breakfasts with good country pubs for lunch and dinner
• the enhanced sense of well-being that these few revitalising days of peace, fresh air, exercise, scenic beauty and close contact with nature will bring you, leaving you refreshed, relaxed and restored

What to Expect

Grading of Walks: these routes are suitable for anyone of average fitness, able to walk around 8 miles on varied hilly terrain for up to 4 hours with a break of approximately 1 hour for lunch. As this is hill country some ascents and descents are to be expected.

Accommodation: a choice of two excellent B&Bs: Hillcrest House at Thorpe, a former 19th Century coaching inn on the road to Dovedale with the most stunning views of the surrounding countryside or the 4-star Beechenhill Farm, an organic farm above the picturesque village of Ilam, with various gold awards. The Izaak Walton Hotel is a third option, wonderfully situated in beautiful grounds overlooking Dovedale.

Travel Information

By rail: fast trains twice an hour from London St Pancras to Derby (1.5 hours); onward travel by taxi is 18 miles.

By road: total mileage from central London: 152 miles (3 hours). Ample car parking at the B&Bs.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Arrive at your accommodation, read through the walking pack, and dine at a local recommended inn.
Day 2:Ascending sheep pastures you reach picturesque limestone villages: Thorpe with its fine manor house and church, then Tissington, a classic English village, arguably the prettiest in Derbyshire, filled with architectural gems including an ancient church and a Jacobean manor house. We recommend you have lunch at the Old Coach House after which you'll visit one of the wells from which the famous well-dressing ceremony originated. Then explore the surrounding countryside, across a gently rolling landscape before descending to the tiny hidden hamlet of Alsop-en-le-Dale. You'll return via Shining Tor to Milldale, viewing on the way the awesome gorge below. After stopping for tea, you'll have two options: a short climb up above the River Dove to exquisite Halldale before returning along the river, or omitting the last mile and simply returning from Milldale along the river. (Grade: moderate - 7.5 or 8.5 miles)
Day 3:An early start is recommended today, along the beautiful Dovedale, to ensure that you enjoy this spectacular walk of exceptional beauty before the crowds arrive. You'll see fantastic limestone features punctuating the gorge, with great pillars rising out of the water alongside towering cliffs, pinnacle rocks and caves. Following the softly-flowing River Dove you will thread your way through the gorge, sometimes glimpsing a kingfisher or otter on the riverbank. You'll reach the tiny riverside hamlet of Milldale, with its famous packhorse bridge where, at Polly's Cottage, sandwiches and snacks can be purchased for lunch in the lovely setting of an upland meadow. Or continue for another half hour to a lovely old inn for lunch. Then the landscape changes to limestone plateaux with sheep pastures enclosed by drystone walls and the occasional farmstead. Finally, you'll drop down to the Manifold Valley and enjoy the gentlest of landscapes, with rounded hills rising up on the far side of the valley. On the banks of the River Manifold, the famous village of Ilam awaits you with the option of tea in the garden at the superbly-situated National Trust tearooms. Here, from the terrace the views are glorious. After tea you can visit Ilam's little Saxon church before returning to your B&B. (Grade: moderate - 9 miles)

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Peak District walking vacation

Environment

Walking is the least carbon intensive way to travel and ensures that the environmental impact of our walking clients is kept to a minimum. Where it is necessary to travel by means other than on foot, we encourage the use of public transport; if that is unavailable we recommend local transport companies to reach the start of the walk. We aim to balance the environmental impact of traveling with the benefits that sustainable tourism brings to the local rural economy. We accommodate our walkers in a small local inn or B&B, all being family run and central to the life of the village. They employ local people and prepare meals from locally grown produce as far as possible.

In our small home office we recycle paper, cardboard, ink cartridges and printed material. We purchase recycled printer cartridges, paper, envelopes, labels, pens, toilet tissue, bin liners. We turn off printers, photocopiers, computers, battery chargers and transformers at the end of each day and avoid ‘screen savers’, use energy-efficient bulbs and low-energy appliances. We cut CO2 emissions by keeping thermostats at the lowest comfortable setting. We do not use tumble dryers nor take disposable plastic bottles to the countryside, instead promoting the use of water bottles manufactured by companies like Sigg.

We keep our customers informed electronically via email, electronic newsletters and our website. We encourage clients to remit their payments electronically via PayPal or by bank transfer.

Community

We endeavour to balance the environmental impact of traveling with the benefits that sustainable tourism brings to the local economy. In choosing to lunch at local restaurants we are patronising establishments which employ staff from the local rural community.

We choose the best walks available which may not always start directly from a railway station or the B&B. Therefore provision has to be made to transport people to and from the start of the walks. To achieve this we often employ local taxi companies. Over the years we bring repeat business to them.

Bringing people to a new region, arranging their accommodation and food, transporting them from place to place, walking the ancient footpaths, visiting their pubs and teaching through carefully-researched commentaries something about the area’s rich history, culture and folk law, has the effect of giving people a sense of community with the place. People often return on their own or with friends, visit the same pubs and renew their sense of being at one with the beautiful local countryside.

Landscape

This carefully-researched and crafted walking vacation in a special landscape of the UK, promotes appreciation, respect and enjoyment of the countryside through informative commentaries. These commentaries relate to history, rural life and traditions, flora and fauna, geology and literature.

We walk in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We describe the views to be seen from the high points and our walkers always enjoy seeing the distant route they took earlier in the walk. We always explain something of the history of the area we are visiting and introduce into the walks topics of a literary nature such as poems, references to writers associated with an area and examples of the soothing power of nature.

We share knowledge about features of architectural interest and geological interest. For example, we may explain about the chalk downland turf or archeological features such as barrows and earthworks and explain how the land we see today has been shaped by the past. Or we may explain about a national trail, its history and its significance today. We include references to the economic importance of, for example, chalk, hardwood, coppices.

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