15-17 April: A brief dalliance with Derbyshire

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dronfield and Newhaven, Derbyshire, UK

After leaving Fuller Leisure on Monday afternoon we headed north, hoping to find a spot for the night not far from where we were to have Truffy’s eye-mask (see previous post!) fitted. We’re pretty new to the travel apps for motorhoming, but both Search for Sites and CamperContact showed a pub 8 miles away which allowed free stopovers.

We headed on up there, just an hour’s drive from Gunthorpe. It was an ‘interesting’ drive with Miss Google Maps directing us down little single track lanes with blind bends…but we made it without incident. We even managed to do our first LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) fill up on the way, meaning we’re all set again for off the grid heating, hot water and cooking.

Our stop for the night was the Hyde Park Inn, a cosy pub opposite playing fields in the village of Dronfield. We called in for a drink before we settled down for the night, welcomed by the publican and locals alike.

A nice quiet stopover

We were joined by another Hymer during the night
Mr A enjoyed a local brew

On Tuesday afternoon (after getting Truffy’s thermal eye-mask fitted) we headed off on the road, leaving South Yorkshire and the surrounds of Sheffield, and heading into the Derbyshire Peak District. Despite working in Derby back in the early 1990s, other than one weekend trip, I have never fully explored this area. Mr A’s previous experience hails back to when the world was black and white and he was in the Boy Scouts.

Our first impressions were very positive – quiet winding lanes lined with dancing daffodils, stone walled paddocks full of skipping lambs.

Truffy heading off down towards his next adventure
Monyash area marker

We called into the village of Monyash for lunch, opting for delicious baked potatoes before we moved on.

Little village of Monyash
Mr A checking out the local pub

We continued on from here to our little farm stay parking spot for the night.

Wednesday morning we awoke to perfect blue skies, an ideal day for a cycle. We had selected our campsite based on its proximity to two of the Peak District’s best rail trails – the High Peak and the Tissington. Our home for two nights was Brundcliffe Farm, a working dairy farm alongside the High Peak trail.

It was a fresh start to the ride as we headed up the trail towards Parsley Hay, before moving onto the Tissington Rail Trail south. These old rail routes were turned into traffic-free walking and cycling routes back in 1971.

Heading north along the High Peak trail
Wrapped up warm as we reach the junction of the High Peak and Tissington trails
Stripping off layers as the temperatures climb from 6-16 degrees centigrade
Beautiful scenery as we ride along
Newborn lambs skipping across the fields
Continuing our ride to Ashbourne

We reached Ashbourne around midday and so set about finding somewhere for lunch. Ashbourne is a pretty market town, its roots dating back to Anglo-Saxon times (around the years 500-1000, before King Harold met his death near Hastings in 1066). Today it looks like a prosperous settlement, with classy boutiques and lovely cafes and shops.

We ate lunch in a sunny courtyard at a Mediterranean restaurant called Jack Rabbits. Mark enjoyed melted Brie on toast with a fig chutney, while I went for the home made sweet potato and tomato soup. Delicious.

Did I forget to mention the sweet potato fries? Naughty but oh so nice!
A very good soup. My only criticism is their menu is a bit heavy on the dairy products!

After a good feed we jumped back on the bikes and headed back on the trail. As it was uphill on the way back we had to make use of the motors on our eBikes – but still had to do plenty of work. It’s a pedal assist motor, so unless your legs are moving, it will not work.

Mr A passing a perfectly mowed field
Endless possibilities for walking here, with public footpaths criss-crossing the dales
Flowers galore along the path – daffodils, celandine, violets, daisies and more
I swear the buds on the trees were bursting with new leaves as we rode

This is definitely one of the loveliest cycles we have done. The scenery was spectacular and the Peak District National Park carefully manages the land through clearing to ensure there is a year round corridor of wildflowers.

The temperature climbed to 16 degrees centigrade – the warmest we’ve been in about three weeks, and we saw our first bees and butterflies along the track.

Bright yellow buttercups light up the side of this cutting
Plenty of old bridges to cycle under, built in the 1800s
Reaching Parsley Hay we saw the track continued north…we could go on and on forever!

We continued on past Parsley Hay to the next ‘station’ where we went to a local pub garden for a refreshing drink.

Our legs were aching by the time we reached Truffy, having clocked up 56km in the saddles (35 miles), and we were pleased to say we had plenty of battery left on the bikes.

This was a fabulous taster of the Derbyshire Peak District and we definitely would like to come back. There is so much to do here. Big tick from us!

2 Replies to “15-17 April: A brief dalliance with Derbyshire”

  1. Sounds marvelous. We went and stayed in the Peak District after we’d had our Minster screens done as well, over in Castleton! Still got the scars on the LHS mirror from the bushes!

    I’d like to recommend the Co-Pilot App as an alternative to Google Maps for your small roads problems. It’s a paid app (£20 per year, an offer that’s on at the moment – usually £25 I think). You can put in your van dimensions and it’s made sensible decisions for us (we match it against Waze). You get a twenty day free trial when you install it so you can see how you get on before spending any cash. It does feel a bit clunky compared to some modern GPS apps and it has crashed for me before now but we find it has been useful.

    Funnily enough I grew up in Dronfield, small world!

    Happy trails.

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