Walking

The Derbyshire Dales

Encompassing peaks, plains and valleys low, much of the Derbyshire Dales falls within the Peak District National Park. Cut by the River Derwent and home to a collection of peaceful villages and historic market towns, it’s especially popular amongst those looking to embrace a slower pace of life.

 

Covering an area of 300square miles, the Derbyshire Dales are home to the kinds of places in which you can easily escape the modern world for a while. Featuring sprawling countryside interspersed with scattered villages and market towns, the region beckons for a slower pace of life, exploring historic houses and monuments, wandering along peaceful riverside paths and challenging your adventurous side with thrilling activities.

To get acquainted, a great way to begin your holiday in the Derbyshire Dales is with a visit to some of the area’s towns and villages – each with their own unique style and character. Ashbourne in particular is well-known for its antique shops and pretty Georgian streets, while Bakewell is of course most famous for its delicious pudding. You can also spend a while in Matlock with its excellent hydro and spa treatments.

Giving you an insight into the Dales’ rich history, the area has many historic houses, halls, churches and heritage centres. Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and its 500-year-old, 105-acre garden is perhaps one of the most well-known. Meanwhile, Haddon Hall – “the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages”, the 17th Century Tissington Hall and the 17th Century Sudbury Hall are also highly recommended.

For interactive museums in the Derbyshire Dales, Caudwells Mill, Eyam Hall, Bakewell Old House, and the Red House Stables & Working Carriage Museum offer fun and learning for all the family. The Peak District Mining Museum, the Cromford Mills and Wirksworth Heritage Centre are all great too. Journeying ever further into the ages, Arbor Low Stone Circle in Monyash is a Neolithic henge – believed to have been an important sacred site.

If you enjoy getting out and about in the Great Outdoors, walkers and cyclists will be able to make the most of many waymarked paths and trails. With routes for every ability, you’ll be able to take your pick from easy and challenging routes. Running from Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale to Coombs Road at Bakewell, the 8.5-mile Monsal Trail is understandably tempting, featuring mostly traffic-free and level multi-purpose trail through stunning scenery.

Another great option for outdoor enthusiasts is the World Heritage Site of Derwent Valley, known as Derbyshire's Lake District. Set within the Peak District, it has dense forests, huge reservoirs and beautiful open spaces, each creating a beautiful backdrop for walks throughout the year. Really spectacular, the area is also home to three large dams – Ladybower, Derwent and Howden – which act as striking subjects for photographers.

Of course, there are other fun ways to get around the Derbyshire Dales. Preserved railways like the Peak Rail: Heritage Railway offer traditional steam train rides through the countryside – as do the Steeple Grange and Ecclesbourne Valley railways. The latter, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is actually Derbyshire's longest heritage railway. For a different perspective, the Heights of Abraham Cable Cars offer a 360-degree, birds-eye-view of the Dales. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at out luxury cottages in the Peak District and Derbyshire here.

 

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