Borris came through and as of 12th April 2021 we are able to travel around England and stay the night. Whilst hotels are still a ‘no-no’, self catered accommodation is allowed and so Mike and I jumped on this opportunity. Two of the things that Covid has taught us is not to take anything for granted and that time is so very precious.
The plan started to form when someone had shared this hike on the spouses page. We used this as a base and the main hike of our trip and went from there. We stayed at Toft Nook which was super secluded and great for our puppy.
Mike and I love history, so we wanted to find places on the way TO the Peak District that we could stop off at and break the journey. Check-in for the AirBnB wasn’t until 4pm so we had a lot of time to kill. My search for this fell flat on it’s face and we didn’t come up with much. After posting on the spouses group, I began to realise that instead of looking for things to do on the way there, I should be looking at things to do there.
This is the route we took. As you can see, in total it’s a trip of 3hrs 57 min, but remove the stops and it can be done in 3hr 20min.
First stop: Bakewell
The plan here was to go to the Monday market as it re-opened on the 12th, and one of us would jump out and get something quick to eat that we could eat in the car. Unfortunately there were no food stands, only shopping. We had our dog in the car (who is on heat so we have been avoiding busy places with dogs) and walking around or sitting outside a busy café was not possible. Bakewell has had markets since the 1300’s and would be a nice town to have a walk through. The next trip we want to have a traditional Bakewell tart and spend more time there.
Second stop: Monsal Head
The Monsal Head car park is less than a 10 minute drive from Bakewell. It was about 2.30 by the time we got there, so we allotted ourselves around an hour to do some exploring. There are 2 parking lots- the one which the GPS will take you too, and one a few metres ahead at the cliff point. The main car park you can park at all day, whereas the front one is a 1 hour max. Both car parks are paid parking taking coins only and offering no change. The view is amazing and is “one of the most famous and photographed viewpoints in Derbyshire“. You can see why. We opted to go down to the river, rather than on the bridge.
Follow the main track down the hill, kept right. Just after the farm house at the bottom there is a gate on the left. Go through the gate (shutting it behind you) and cross the river and turn left. We stayed alongside the river and ended up under the bridge, through another gate and into a field. Ellie (our labrador) made a bees line straight into the river and came out with a very muddy underbelly. She loves running free off leash. Note: for her own safety due to being on heat, whenever we saw a person or another dog, we would leash her and, per country code, when others saw our dog on a leash, they leashed theirs.
Monsal head and dale is part of the Monsal trail. A trail that is 8.5 miles (13.68kms) and goes through the old railways. It sounds like a great trail, but for the future. Ellie is only 10 months old and that’s a long walk for a puppy, so perhaps it will be a hike without her.
Final destination: Toft Nook
A 45 minute drive later driving through the middle of the Peak District, after a quick stop in the Sainsbury’s in Leek, we arrived at our accommodation. Full review here with pro’s and con’s. Have a read if you are considering staying here. With empty fields and no-one around us, Ellie had an enormous playground to play fetch in. With spaghetti bolognese for dinner (courtesy of my lovely husband), and a glass of wine we had a delicious dinner and sat outside on the bench to watch the sun go down.
Getting away from Norfolk was something both my husband and I really needed and this was just perfect.
Tomorrow- Three Shires Head.