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Nestled between the major Cities of Manchester and Sheffield in the North of England, you'll discover a land of peaks and moorland, limestone crags and tranquil villages amongst pine forests and mountains, lakes and shimmering reservoir. All awaiting the unexpecting eye, in an area hidden from the casual passer-by! Many will pass by this area, travelling to the North and beyond. Take a break from your journey and visit England's 'Hidden Wilderness' namely the 'Peak National Park.
Stone built cottages surrounding a village green. A small church sits central beneath the hilltop 'Pevril Castle'. Chimneys smoking from the fires of the local tea rooms, a snow dusted 'Mam Tor' mountain shadows above. A trickling stream runs beneath the stone bridge, while echoes are heard from the nearby cavern entrance. A row of warmly lit village shops selling 'Blue John' gems and hikers kick off the snow from their boots outside the local Inn. As the sun drops below the 'haunting' Winnet's Pass', birds roost on the crag tops and chimney stacks. The laughter of children, the clinking of glasses and cutlery from the corner pub, the couple sitting on the old bench holding hands. These are my memories of the wonderful village of Castleton in the Peak National Park. And memories that are refreshed on every visit.
Don't forget the amazing Caverns and caves you can visit in complete safety by foot and by boat! My favourite must be the Speedwell caverns on which you travel by boat along the old mining tunnels to the bottomless cavern at the end! Visit www.speedwellcavern.co.uk
A peaceful haven, nestled between the Cities of Sheffield and Manchester. High rugged moorland, wind swept peaks and beautiful little 'millstone' grit villages. The lowlands are tranquil, green and bustling with market towns, villages, stately homes and hundreds of rural hideaways and hidden treasures. No matter, where you are, there's a friendly cheer, a welcoming pub or bed and breakfast and some magnificent countryside with walks and rambling trails galore. Sit yourself by a trickling stream or perch yourself high on a granite ledge overlooking wild moorland and crags. Within easy access from Sheffield, Glossop, Manchester or Nottingham, you'll find an area so far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet with the convenience of being close to major routes and cities. Travelling up the M6 or the M1, it's easy to by-pass this beautiful National Park. Take a break, visit the 'Hidden Wilderness' and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. If you're only passing through or wish to spend more time in the Peak District, there's enough to do for the whole family, from visiting caverns to riding the Abraham's Heights Gondola ride in Matlock Bath. Call off for a meal in one of hundreds of traditional stone built pubs and warm up by the blazing fire, looking through a window to wilderness and beyond! Your not dreaming, and it's not surprising, that most people don't even know it exists! It's a place of solitude, yet peaceful and romantic. Hard to believe your only half an hour from a major city!
From the high rugged moorlands and granite outcrops, a village nestles itself along the valley bottom. Yet looking at this village of stone cottages and handicraft shops, you'd never guess it's surprising yet morbid history. Along it's flank, the village homes are today warm and cosy, inviting and friendly. The small beautiful stain glassed church sits peaceful within it's yew trees and old gravestones. But, casting a look at the gravestone you'll see the 'skull and crossbones' of death and treachery. The quaint cottages adorn the marks of yesteryear, with plaques telling the story of families and local folk. The village that is, was a village cursed by the Plague, the 'Black Death', a history now so difficult to believe, yet, around every corner, upon every door and upon every gravestone. A mysterious and dark tale of a medieval village. Simply walking down the street and casting your sights at the unfamiliar, will tell a fantastic yet terrible tale. A place to visit, where history will not leave you!
On a lighter note, these days, Eyam is a small and beautiful village where you'll be welcomed by friendly villagers and made so welcome in numerous small handicraft shops and tea rooms. Don't miss Eyam Hall and the famous Church of St.Lawrence. If you visit during late August and Early September, keep a look out for the famous 'Well Dressings'. These Well Dressings appear in many villages throughout the Peak District and are water well's decorated with usually religious pictures made entirely from flower petals. Some of these dressings are very large and intricate and serve as a traditional 'Thank you' for the water they provide in the village!
Within the lower lying limestone region of the National Park, you will find numerous small market towns, each with a distictive look and feel. Of all, I love Bakewell, a small and tidy stone built town with narrow streets, markets, parks and riverside walks. Bakewell will always remain in my heart for the famous 'Bakewell Pudding'. No, not to be confused with the well known Bakewell Tart, this is the 'true' pudding from which the tart may well have been derived. What ever came first, Bakewell has it's name stamped all over it. A sweet almond pudding delicious warm with traditional English Custard! And in Bakewell, of course, what else would you expect, the mecca and pilgrimage of all who wish to indulge in this famous towns 'sweet delights'. Traditional warm and cosy shops hug the high street, with 'pudding shops' abundent. You must try the tea rooms and pudding shops but casting an eye to one side, and you'll find many small and friendly souvenir, gift and handicraft shops where you'll find everything from a scented candle to a Rocking Horse! By night fall, after a walk along the river bank and into the park, try one of the numerous pubs selling 'homecooked' fare with a pint of traditional local ale. Or, why not have fun with a bag of freshly cooked chips and fish from the local 'Fish and Chip' shops dotted around the small town? There's nothing tastier on a cold winters night, dodging the snow flakes and doing a little window shopping in the cosy victorian shop windows! Which reminds me, Bakewell is beautiful in Summer, but so picturesque in Winter where you'll find some lovely Christmas gift ideas!
If your a hicker or rambler, there's no doubt you've heard of Edale. Edale is a very tiny hamlet, sitting at the base of the great 'Pennine Walk'. You can set off from here and walk the whole back-bone of Northern England upto Scotland if you feel energetic. The tiny hamlet/village is both picturesque and typical of this area of the high Peak District, falling into an area known as the 'Dark Peak'. Dark it may be called and certainly upon the rugged granite moorlands and peaks, wilderness is the key word. No one to be found or seen for miles, you're on your own and nature's by your side. If your going to venture out into the high land, make sure you get a good insight into the area and a map and compass. This isn't an area that should be entered without any planning as the weather can change quickly and the land can become notoriously difficult to cross without prior knowledge. Don't assume a beautiful day in Edale makes a graet day in the highland areas, the weather can become very cold and windy and without adequate protection or clothing, you're asking for difficulties. And mobile phones seldom work round her!
The village is worth a visit and a quick walk to the top of the moorland area is usually enough to get your heart pounding and appetite brewing. Return to the village for a good hearty dinner in the local Inn by the fireside. Take your camera, the scenery round here is beautiful. A nature lover's paradise.
Reaching the village is easy by train from Sheffield or by road, but parking is limited. Busy in the Summer months and cold in Winter but pretty!
This surprisingly is one of few routes across the Pennines from Sheffield to Glossop. The route is high and wild with no village or housing in sight except for an occassional old farmhouse in the valley bottom. If you don't like mountain driving, then be warned. This route is severe and as the name suggests, bends, bends and more bends! The Pass is high and has deep drops either side. Watch out for the sheep crossing the road without warning! In Winter, for several months the Pass can be closed. Check the notification boards on the road side before you progress. When the road is closed, getting to Manchester or Glossop from Sheffield or visa versa is long and needs to be planned using the M62 via Leeds.
Nethertheless, on a good clear Summers day, although sunshine isn't always guaranteed up on the top of the Pass, it is well worth a drive, simply for the wild open nature of the terrain. There are very few stops on route and certainly no petrol stations for miles, so fill up before hand! If you fancy a small drink, if you're not the nominated driver that is, then try the Snake Pass Inn at the beginning of the Snake Pass, Sheffield side. Meals also served. Closed in Winter during heavy snow falls, ring ahead to find out in advance. Before entering the Snake Pass from Sheffield, take a look around the magnificent Howden and Ladybower Reservoirs about 3 miles prior. Also, the Villages of Bamford and Hathersage. Both accessible by train from Sheffield or New Mills Central, Manchester.
The Strines Inn is a very special place. It's a Public House adorned with history. It's location, off the beaten track, yet a popular 'watering hole' for those that have been priveledged fo find. It's not a secret, but to every individual, it feels like their own 'secret' hideaway, where simply friends meet who you may not have met before! It's location is off the beaten track, wild and remote amongst heather and moorland, granite outcrops and valley views. You wouldn't find it by mistake, nor would you pass it by. It's sheer character and position is 'magnetic', seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
A very old 'haunted' Public House, boasting (accommodation), a very special room with a 'four poster bed' overlooking the wild and windy moorlands through it's crooked windows. Downstairs, visitors indulge in hearty good fayre and sit around the 'crackling' open fire. The Inn is warm and cosy, with low beams and narrow door frames. Looking around you, you'll find old pictures and taxidermy, agricultural artifacts and old flag stone flooring. There's a carpark to the front of the Inn and behind, hides a children's animal sanctuary set on the edge of rough moorland.
If you've read 'Wuthering Heights', then you really can't help but feel that this area was the inspiration. In fact, you're only a stone's throw away from Bronte land. A magical place in a 'Hidden Wilderness' - I'm proud to call home!
The Strines is hidden away on your route from Sheffield to The Snake Pass. Leave Sheffield by the beautiful Rivelin Valley and you'll see the signs, I hope! Alternatively, leave Sheffield via 'Lower Bradfield' village and gently make your way up the valley side to the Strines'. The locals will direct you in the right direction!
Take 'Mortimer Road'.
A wonderful day out for the whole family. This open air museum will thrill both the youngest and the oldest of the family with tramway rides, museum and various attractions in this model village - like museum. The trams run all day and you have a choice of jumping on and off all the service trams while you're there, old and new!
Good fun and a wonderfully scenic area of the Peak District just outside of Bakewell. Refreshments and food shops are within the museum, but why not take a picnic on a Summers Day? Check out the web address www.tramway.co.uk
Based at Crich, Bakewell, Peak District. (Pronounced Cry-ch)!