One of the (only...?) benefits to living in Nottingham is its proximity to the Peak District, and we took advantage of the good weather in the first couple of weeks of August to get away with the tent for a few nights. We managed to get a spot on a site near the village of Monyash, about halfway between Bakewell and Buxton and about an hour and twenty minutes drive from Nottingham. Mandale Farm was a brilliant site - basically just a couple of fields near the farmhouse and very rural and peaceful. Very basic facilities but really good value. After setting up camp we walked across the fields to The Bull's Head in Monyash for excellent pub tea and beer. The following day we did an 18km circular walk from the campsite. I thought I was going to collapse at one point or my legs might fall off, but it was amazing! The morning began rather misty and we started with a walk through Lathkill Dale, which was lovely and idyllic, and is also the site of Bateman's House.
The house is now ruins, but in the 1840s was the house of Thomas Bateman, agent of Lathkill Mine. It was actually built to conceal a 12m deep mineshaft, directly underneath the house, which of course meant that the house was a structural disaster! The site has been made safe now, and you can go down a ladder to see the shaft underneath.
It was really dark, and you couldn't see the bottom of the shaft even with the torch on. This photo has the flash on so you can actually see better here than in real life!
We came out of Lathkill Dale into the lovely village of Over Haddon, and continued over the fields to Bakewell, where we stopped for lunch and smoothies in a lovely cafe with a sunny courtyard. Still left room for a Bakewell Pudding though....
From Bakewell, we joined the Monsal Trail, which is a disused railway line, in the 19th century part of the line connecting London and Manchester. It includes a number of railway tunnels, and our section had Headstone Tunnel, a VERY long dark tunnel, which would have been quite spooky were it not for there being so many other people on the trail! It opens out and the line continues over Headstone Viaduct, which you can see in this photo, taken from Monsal Head. Monsal Head required a tough climb up (there is a road you can drive up if you don't fancy it!) but was well worth it for the incredible views.
The last part of the walk took us back across country (with a pause for Bakewell Pudding!) and through Monsal Dale back to the campsite. We also unexpectedly passed the fascinating site of Magpie Mine and stopped for a look - I'll post about that another time. After a hot shower at the campsite and a bit of a sit down, we drove back into Bakewell and had a wonderful pub tea at the Peacock. Two nights of scampi in a row. Amazing.