The Peak District is a paradise for walkers of any age and ability. There are walks direct from the door of your holiday cottage at Bolehill leading through spectacular Peak District National Park countryside. Just a few minutes ramble across fields and stiles and you can descend into Lathkill Dale, a tranquil and picturesque Nature Reserve. Whilst a mile or so over the hills across flower-rich meadows contained within typical dry stone walls and you will come to the remains of Magpie Mine, a historical lead mine with a chequered past.
Some of the best National Park walks are just a short drive from you cottage. A ten to fifteen minute drive to the east and you are into the Chatsworth Estate where miles of wonderful paths lead across a landscape created by Capability Brown. Here you can dawdle beside the River Derwent whilst glancing across at Chatsworth House, a wonderful golden palace set beneath a wooded backdrop. Concessionary paths lead up through mature trees to the moors, carpeted in late summer in a sea of purple heather. The estate village of Edensor is a picture postcard hamlet of Peak District cottages designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, who was employed by his friend the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
Heading north from Chatsworth are The Edges, being a string of high gritstone escarpments with far reaching views. No holiday in a Peak District cottage would be complete without a walk along the edge of an Edge!
Bolehill is situated on the outskirts of Bakewell. This market town is known as the capital of the Peak District. Follow a riverside path from here to Haddon Hall, an enchanting stately home which is said to be the best preserved medieval manor house in the country. No holiday in one of our cottages near Bakewell would be complete without sampling the local delicacy – a delectable Bakewell Pudding!
Just a few minutes drive south from your cottage in the Peaks is Stanton Moor, topped with ancient tumuli and fascinating features, both natural and man-made. A criss-cross of paths leads around the moor, taking you to the captivating Nine Ladies stone circle and Earl Grey tower. Dotted around are strange shaped standing stones with curious names such as the Cat Stone and Cork Stone. Compliment your holiday in Derbyshire at one of our Peak District cottages with a visit to a stone circle, ancient monument or site of historical and archaeological interest.
There are several small villages in the vicinity of Bolehill, each with a unique history but all containing quaint Peak District cottages which ooze charm and character. Traditions abound in Derbyshire, and a stay during summer at one of our holiday cottages may well coincide with Well Dressing week, a Flower Festival or Carnival Day somewhere close by.
A ten minute drive beyond the wondrous Lathkill Dale and you will reach the High Peak and Tissington Trails. These former railway lines follow an elevated route over upland hills of the White Peak. After their closure they were purchased by the Peak District National Park Authority and now provide access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to the heart of the countryside. Ideal for anyone with limited mobility, the Trails are a perfect way of enjoying a walk without stiles.
Less than half an hour's drive from your Peak District cottage here in Derbyshire and you can cross the river Dove into Staffordshire. This famous and much lamented river which meanders south from Axe Edge forms the county border. Here are some of the most popular riverside paths in the country with the stepping stones at Dovedale being known around the globe.
Monsal Head is a renowned beauty spot with fantastic views,
situated just a few
minutes drive from your holiday cottage in the Derbyshire hills. Whether you prefer to wander beside the Wye or trek the Monsal Trail,
there are a network of paths around Monsal which is one of the most picturesque of the Derbyshire Dales. No Peak District holiday would be
complete without ambling along beside a crystal clear river to see dippers and ducks or possibly dabchick and dragonflies!
As you walk down the drive from your cottage, on a clear day you will instantly be aware of far reaching views of the Peak District. Our holiday cottages at Bolehill Farm look out across a panoramic landscape of White Peak countryside.
Directly in front is a hill topped with a small mast with a village tucked just below it (Stanton-in-Peak). This is Stanton Moor were there are numerous tumuli (ancient burial grounds), standing stones and a mystical stone circle called the Nine Ladies with a maze of sandy paths through acres of bilberry bushes and bracken. Beyond Stanton Moor on the far horizon is Harboro’ Rocks where prehistoric man is said to have taken shelter in a rock cave. Over to your right are the White Peak uplands, an area of rich pasture contained within mile upon mile of traditional drystone walls, whilst away to your left you can see the famous Hunting Tower situated on the top of a wooded slope above Chatsworth House, the ‘Golden Palace’ of the Peak District and home to the Duke of Devonshire. Before this is another wooded ridge above the market town of Bakewell, originally a gritstone escarpment known as Bakewell Edge, it was planted with trees by the Duke of Rutland at nearby Haddon Hall and became Manners Wood some two hundred years ago.
After a short stretch of roadside walking towards Bakewell there is a stile providing access over the hills to Sheldon on a footpath which ascends through fields and stiles with Bolehill Farm Holiday Cottages and the summit of Bolehill away to your left. The name Bolehill originates from this being a site where early lead smelting took place. Surrounded by former lead mines there were trees here to fuel the small outdoor furnace and a hilltop setting for plenty of fast flowing air and ventilation.
Towards the top of the hill you will notice trees which seem to have grown on little mounds around the field. This is in fact the site of the former Magshaw Mine where lead would have been extracted over a hundred years ago. However, in the latter part of the 20th century the ground was again exploited for its mineral content, this time worked by opencast extraction of fluorspar when the surface was deeply scraped off and transported to mineral processing plants a few miles away. This action lowered the surface level, leaving the trees ‘high and dry’. You will also see long strips of mature trees in the area which were planted along rakes of opencast lead mines where veins of lead ore near the surface were worked without having to dig shafts.
The footpath drops steeply down and crosses the top of Kirk Dale which descends north-east towards Ashford-in-the-Water. This dry valley is rich with wild flowers and in late spring is decorated in parts with delicate orchids and cowslips. Watch the skies for resident buzzard and kestrel as well as curlew which migrate to the Peak District to nest.
A wonderful old miner’s track leads over to Magpie Mine which is an iconic Peak District landmark on the horizon. Last worked in 1958, Magpie Mine has a chequered history dating back some 300 years. Records of the mine are in existence from 1739. Successions of owners have invested vast sums of money and provided the latest equipment over the years in the hope of finding rich veins of lead ore. However, apart from a short spell in the 19th century, Magpie Mine has never made large profits. It is said to have been sold about 1801 for the sum of one shilling! The buildings that remain on the site date mainly from the 19th century and now form part of the Field Centre for the Peak District Mines Historical Society.
There are many dips and hollows in the area and it is not advisable to walk directly into these as they may be unsafe old shafts!
The winding house and drum together with the round Cornish chimney were built in 1869, but the steel headgear and corrugated iron winding house are much later. Away from the main engine house towards Sheldon is a small circular building which was the powder house. Also to be seen is an ore-crushing circle. The Managers House was built in 1864 with a blacksmiths on one side and a weigh house on the other.
The main shaft is 728 feet deep. Flooding in mines has always been a constant problem and so a sough (drainage channel) was driven between 1873-81 which drained water from Magpie Mine into the river Wye some distance away.
Magpie is said to be cursed and haunted following the infamous ‘murders’ in 1833. Red Soil Miners and Magpie Miners broke through into the same workings in the 1820’s. After much fighting, bickering and disputing, matters came to a head when the Red Soil Miners set fire to straw 400 feet below ground. The Magpie Miners retaliated by burning straw, sulphur and oil, resulting in a panic and three of the Red Soil Miners dying through suffocation. Ten of the Magpie Miners were charged with wilful murder but after a two day trial at Derby Assizes were found not guilty.
There are several miners’ paths leading to the village of Sheldon. This pretty little village is packed with farmhouses and cottages that date mainly from the late 18th century when lead mining in Derbyshire was at its height. However, a further boom resulted in Cornish miners migrating to the village and increasing the population by some twenty-five percent according to a census of 1861
The village was at one time a chapelry of Bakewell. St Michael and All Angels in Sheldon replaces an earlier, part Norman church which was demolished in 1865. The present building has an unusual rounded east wall and attractive roof timbers. Church records state that in 1753 a 14-year old boy and an 80-year old widow were married in the parish!
Until 1972 the Devonshire Arms was Sheldon’s only pub and had long been popular with miners when it was thought that plenty of ale was a cure for lead poisoning. It was a sad day when the pub closed and was converted into a house, and for a while the village lost its socialising heart. After almost twenty five years of being ‘dry’ Sheldon was rehydrated when the Cock & Pullet was created from a former agricultural building and tractor store by Katherine and David Melland. It is rather unusual for a new pub to be built these days, sadly they are more likely to be closed down or demolished, and so the Cock & Pullet can claim the title of being one of the newest village pubs in Derbyshire.
A second ‘walk from the door’ is to the village of Over Haddon and down into Lathkill Dale. From our Cottages take the road for a few hundred metres towards Bakewell and at the Footpath sign turn right to head across open fields towards Over Haddon. On the far hill side can easily be seen the village of Stanton in Peak. The walk across the fields is interrupted by a number of styles. After about 1 mile the path starts to descend into the Village of Over Haddon emerging onto the road a few hundred Metres from the village.
The village of Over Haddon sits at the top of a steep valley with beautiful views south over the Lathkill Dale and river. Although there is still a pub (The Lathkil) and a Garden Tea room (only open in good weather) the shop has long gone and the village is now a quiet oasis from the bustle of Bakewell.
Once in the village you have two alternative routes into Lathkill Dale. Either straight down the road into the Dale or a walk through the village past the Lathkil Pub and across the fields and down to Conksbury Bridge. We would recommend the Conksbury Bridge route due to the magnificent views into the dale as you cross the fields and also the beauty of the cascades in the lower part of the Lathkill. Whichever route you take you will enjoy the spectacle of the dale.
The dale has a history of mining, from Roman times until the mid-1800s. Walking up the Dale you can still see the remains of an old aqueduct and pump house used as one of the last attempts to keep the mines drained and workable. English Nature have recently rescued the remains of Bateman’s House, the remains of the last mine manager’s house and the mineshaft over which it was built can now be viewed from below the ruins.
Once you pass out of the Nature reserve there is a path off to the right which leads up an old drovers track to the farm at the top. Take the track out of the farm to the road and then across the fields to Haddon Grove Cottages. It is then about a ¼ mile walk back along the road to your cottage.
Over the last few years the Peak District has become a major destination for cyclists. The 2014 Tour de France passed through the northern parts of the Peak District and here in Bakewell we now host the UK version of L’Eroica. In addition the opening of the tunnels on the Monsal Trail has provided a safe, traffic free cycling route between Bakewell and Buxton (almost). This level of publicity has lead to a major surge in cycling in the area. For the more adventurous there are of course hundreds of miles of ‘green’ lanes or other public rights of way all over the Peak District.
Although the Monsal Trail, with its spectacular viaduct, tunnels and old lime kilns etc has had most of the publicity over the last few years the High Peak/Tissington Trail is probably the more interesting as it passes through (or near) to some of the most picturesque villages in the Peak District. Hartington with its world renowned cheese shop, local shops and cafes is well worth the detour from the Tissington Trail. Tissington itself is an absolute must. The village is one of the best preserved old villages in the area with a spectacular old Hall (Tissington Hall), great tea room and even an old world sweet shop. Further along the trail brings you out in the centre of the Town of Ashbourne.
Taking the fork down the High Peak Trail brings you past Minninglow with its spectacular views and across to Middleton Top with its old steam engine and tea room. The descent from the trail to High Peak Junction is not for the faint hearted and it is strongly recommend that you dismount to make the descent. This is an incline into the valley were railway wagons were lowered and hauled up the hill by a steam engine.
Here at Bolehill Cottages we try our best to cater for cyclists. We have an indoor bicycle storage area and drying facilities. Of course we are ideally located for most of the trails. We are about equidistant (about three miles) from the Monsal Trail and the High Peak Trail. The High Peak trail is to the west of us and the start of the Monsal Trail is just the other side of Bakewell.Other routes within easy access are Carsington Water and Derwent Dam cycle routes.
Bikes can be hired from a number of locations on both the Monsal and High Peak trails and from Derwent and Carsington reservoirs.
Follow the link to see all of the cycle routes in the peak district - Cycle routes