This week is half term, so I want to tell you all about my favourite places to go for days out in Derbyshire. There are so many lovely natural beauty spots to visit and breathe in the fresh air – and we all know how good that is for our children.
Lumsdale Falls, Matlock
The walk through Lumsdale takes you through a series of small waterfalls left behind in the ruins of an Industrial-era mill. Lumsdale is looked after by a historical society, but not in a way that you’d notice. Because of this, car parking is sparse, unless you park at the local school in the holidays, or else to the side of the road in the village. However, it means that Lumsdale is peaceful and calm A walk through the woods leading you out into the main waterfall among what’s left of the old building. This is a short walk, a perfect picnic spot.
Calke Abbey, Ticknall
Calke is a sprawling National Trust property, an old estate encompassing a house that you can explore, huge grounds with stables, greenhouses and fields, and a small church. My little boy loved going into the kitchens, but I found the eccentric son’s belongings being of particular interest. Grab a burger from the barbecue, sit on the grass while the kids run around and then go and play! The National Trust is amazing for days out with primary school aged children, as they approach to history through participation, so your children can play Victorian games and dress up if they like.
There’s an adventure playground, because what’s life without climbing frames? Throughout half term Calke is running some nature-based activities for kids to take part in.
When my husband and I moved to Derbyshire we chose to live in Belper. A quick drive around this beautiful county left us in no doubt that Belper is where we wanted to be. There are loads of independent shops to explore, pubs with local beers and well regarded cafes (I recommend breakfast at Fresh Basil). A short walk up to Strutt’s North Mill is a beautiful spot on a sunny day, where you can see the Derwent cascading down the weir. Belper forms part of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, which provides ample opportunity for walks and picnics.
Froggatt & Curbar Edge, Hope Valley
Between Chatsworth and Hathersage there’s a massive rocky outcrop that dominates the landscape. It’s absolutely stunning, a gentle walk through the eastern end of the Peak District.
Curbar Gap car park opens up right onto this superb vista, but it’s left to nature so there are no facilities. Serene and peaceful, this is a place to take breathtaking sunset landscape photos. Purple heather adorns many of the rocks, which creates a glorious lilac haze. In the summer you might even see rock climbers ascending the rock face itself. It’s high up and does get chilly. If you’re lucky, you might even spot RAF planes out in the early morning.
Carsington Water – near Ashbourne
You could spend the majority of the day at Carsington, and still only see part of the huge wetland surrounding the reservoir. Although the water itself is man-made, the walk around it takes you through gorgeous green spaces and is a thriving habitat for lots of different animals and plants.
The RSPB has put in some bird hides, and there’s a visitor centre to learn about the work that goes on in the area. Are you more adventurous than this? No problem. Take lessons in kite surfing! Sail a yacht! Or, as my kids prefer, run around like crazy for a couple of hours before demanding an ice cream at the huge playground. There are several car parks and walking trails to get stuck into, a watch tower and good facilities for baby changing. Oh, and I hear someone you might have heard of, Dame Ellen McArthur, learnt to sail here.