There is so much to do, see and enjoy in the Peak District you could never be here long enough to try everything – that is, assuming you can tear yourselves way from the peace and comfort of Tom’s or Douglas’s Barns in the first place…
There is so much available, it has taken many days just to compile the list which only skims the surface…
This is a purely personal attempt to summarise attractions and activities that we know and/or which our guests have enjoyed; it is therefore inevitably subjective and incomplete!
Things change all the time so please tell us if anything – as it will – becomes out of date or incorrect, or if you have enjoyed something that ought to be included.
Select an item to jump to or scroll down to read them all.
There are certain events that happen every year, several of them linked to the church calendar.
We are spoilt for choice in Derbyshire and the Peak District, with both Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall, plus six National Trust houses and a couple of smaller still privately owned homes. The latter are open for a limited number of days per year.
If you’d like to bring a horse with you we can’t provide stabling/grazing but have a friend that can – just let us know and we’ll put you in touch. For those coming horseless but who would like to ride, it is very difficult these days if you want to go off on your own, easier if you’re happy to go on a trek.
People having been living in the Peak District for over 12,000 years, give or take a century or two, leaving tantalizing snippets of evidence such as the stone circles at Arbor Low and the ‘Nine Ladies’ at Stanton Moor, near Birchover.
Later the Romans were around, and amongst other things developed lead mining, which reached its peak in the mid 18C, with Wirksworth at the centre. In the hillsides between Brassington and us there are still many telltale humps and hollows where lead workings used to be.
Now of course it is limestone that is quarried.
You can’to always rely on the sun to shine, but there is plenty to do when striding out in the open air has perhaps momentarily lost its appeal.
So many of you seem to enjoy good food, whether eating at the numerous excellent pubs and restaurants in the area, or cooking something delicious at home in Tom’s or Douglas’s excellent kitchens, where many a gourmet meal has been lovingly prepared and enjoyed. But however good a cook, any genuine food lover is keen to learn more. ‘Culinary Tourism’ or Food Tourism to put it more simply, is a big thing so we’re told and we are well served locally by two excellent cookery schools: Tideswell School of Food to the north of us and Seasoned to the south. We can personally vouch for both.
There are lots of reasons to leave your car at home. Wondering how to get here without a car? You can plan your trip using www.transportdirect.info. We can pick you up from local railway stations or from the bus station in Ashbourne. While you are here there is local transport to get you to a variety of visitor attractions and we have bikes that you can use to get out on the trails. The village has a shop in the local pub and you do not need to cook as the pub also sells delicious home made food and we do provided basic store cupboard provisions. Local transport information, maps etc are all provided in the barns.
With our big, open skies you will be amazed by what you can see.
Over the past 100 years, our skies have become more difficult to view as man-made light pollution obscures the stars. However here at Orchard Farm we are extremely lucky – being so far away from towns and street lights our night skies are truly dark, and you can still get a brilliant view of the twinkling stars above.
On a clear night there is nothing better than gazing up at the starry sky. To make the most of the opportunity you can also bring along your telescope if you have one.
Dark Sky Places
Don’t just take our word for it! The Peak District National Park Authority, Nottingham Trent University and the Science and Technology Facilities Council have worked together to identify dark sky discovery sites where there are good conditions for stargazing.
One of the 3 designated dark sky sites is at Minninglow car park just a couple of miles along the High Peak Trail.
Dark Places in the Peak District:
• Minninglow, off the A515 at Pikehall (nearest postcode DE4 2PN)
• Surprise View, off the A6187 near Hathersage
• Parsley Hay, off the A515 near Hartington (nearest postcode SK17 0DG)
At each site there is an astronomy interpretation panel to help you explore the night skies. The panels are changed each season.
The Wirksworth StarDisc
If you are interested in astronomy and star gazing why not visit The StarDisc, situated at the top of Stoney Wood, near Wirksworth. It is a stunning space created by local artist Aidan Shingler to bring the wonders of the night sky to all.
Visit the web site for more details
There are 43 nature reserves in Derbyshire where you can see a variety of wildlife. Great places to see wildflowers, listen to birdsong and wintering wildfowl in the winter months. The latest reserve to be added is Hoe Grange Quarry now home to 26 species of butterflies.The former quarry has a micro-climate created by the surrounding cliffs and trees. Hopton Quarry nearby is a great example of recolonised quarry workings. Full details of all reserves are available at:
If there are other attractions that you would like to see here please let us know.
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