Author: Mrs A
Location: Bakewell, Derbyshire & Hatton, Nottinghamshire, UK
It was a finger-numbingly cold morning as we packed up and left the Chatsworth Estate and drove the short way back to Bakewell, Truffy’s thermometer reading a mere 3° centigrade. We’ve not seen temperatures that low since central Australia last year.
The forecast was for no rain, so we decided to enjoy a last cycle ride before we lock Truffy and our bikes up for the winter. Starting in Bakewell is the Monsal Trail, 14.5 km (9 miles) of traffic-free cycleway, following part of the old Midland railway between Bakewell and Chee Dale.
Parts of the UK have their half-term school holidays at present, so it was fairly busy with cyclists, despite the chilly temperatures. We can only imagine how crowded it would get on a warm summer’s day.
The original train line ran from Manchester to London, and was closed in 1968. The railway passed into the hands of the Peak District National Park in 1980 and the trail developed.
The trail follows the River Wye valley, cutting through some lovely scenery. At one point we looked down on a collection of buildings, learning these were the sites of textile mills in the 1700s. Cressbrook Mill, set up in 1782 was notorious for unsavoury work practices, specifically bringing orphaned children up from London and forcing them to work as ‘apprentices’ for little or no wages.
Showing that everything in life is somehow linked, in 1860 the owner of Cressbrook Mill, David Cannon McConnell emigrated to Queensland, Australia, and the settlement of Cressbrook is named after this area.
We continued to the end of the trail, tagging on a little extra ride along a quiet road along the River Wye, before turning and retracing our steps back to Bakewell.
Back in Bakewell we treated ourselves to fish and chips. It is getting to that point in our trip where we are relishing the ‘last’ of everything – this being the last authentic chips and curry sauce this year! Mr A had mushy peas and a pickled egg too…we didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day!
We left Derbyshire and drove across the country, picking up a few storage bags at Ikea in Nottingham, before driving to Hawton Waters near Newark in Nottinghamshire.
Hawton Waters has a small number of camp sites near a lake, as well as being a gold accredited storage area for caravans and motorhomes. It Is here we have booked Truffy into for the winter, so in addition to staying the night, it was a good opportunity to have a look at where he would be living for the next four months. They’ve just extended their storage facility, so if you’re looking for somewhere secure to put your van or truck, this could be an option for you.
There’s plenty of security, with two gates to get through and many 24/7 CCTV cameras as well as lots of people around. We feel very comfortable with our choice.
We found a hard standing spot to spend the night, and settled down to our last sleep in Truffy this year.