A Week In The Derbyshire Sun

We’ve arrived back from our first camping trip of the year in one piece.  We had a really great time.  It’s getting a bit easier each time we go, but what made it so good this time was the weather.  It was warm, dry and sunny, so pitching the tent was easier as the boys and I could could play out on the field.  Almost all previous trips have seen us arrive in a downpour and my husband getting completely soaked pitching the tent, whilst I ‘supervise’ the boys in the car.

So a summary of our trip to Hayfield, Derbyshire:

Day 1 – We stopped at Hassop station on the way, just north of Bakewell.  It’s a really nice cafe and bookshop.  It’s one of the old stations of the former Midland Railway line.  It’s now called the Monsal Trail and is well worth a trip if you fancy a nice easy bike ride.  It passes through some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful scenery and what makes it really cool is all the old tunnels have been reopened and lit so you can cycle through all of them.

We arrived at the campsite in Hayfield.  We chose a Camping and Caravanning Club site as we know what we’re going to get and you know they’ll be well looked after. Since visiting the site 18months ago the since had a climbing frame installed, perfect for entertaining the boys whilst finishing setting up.

The site is nicely out of the way and there is a pub less than 10min walk, which you can walk to on footpaths away from the road almost all the way. So after dinner of (pre-prepared) chilli and pasta we went for a cheeky half.  I love cooking but, cooking whilst camping is very frustrating as I haven’t got all the utensils and ingredients around me that I’d like and that would also make life easier, so the more meals I can prepare before the trip the better.                    Both boys were asleep by 8pm and so we started the first bottle of wine.

Day 2 –  It was a chilly start, but it soon warmed up and weather was perfect.  We took our time leaving and on our way out we picked up some picnic stuff and headed towards Crowden where we stopped at a picnic site for lunch.

It wasn’t anywhere of particular interest or that pretty, but the boys loved it, there were sticks, everywhere and so they were content. After a bit of digging and den building we headed over the road to the Longdendale trail, another old rail line which is now a walking/cycling path.

The Fireman is a keen cyclist, takes after his dad.  The Farmer on the other hand likes to take his time and be carried. He’s quite a solid little fella so it can get quite back breaking! Again this trail had some lovely scenery.

Back at the campsite we had another pre-prepared meal of sausage casserole and smash and went for a pyjama walk along the footpath towards the village which runs alongside a stream and back along part of the Pennine Way.

Day 3 – Another nice slow start to the day and daddy got a gold star.  Oh look, daddy bought the fishing nets! Two very excited little boys headed down to the stream to catch fish.  No fish could be found but they happily caught sticks and leaves we threw in upstream.

We picked up some more picnic stuff on our way out and headed to the Chestnut Centre at Chapel-en-le-Frith.  A walk through the deer park is very nice which is where we stopped for our picnic. Then we continued down into the valley, where thankfully there was some shade as it was getting very hot!

The footpath winds through a lovely woodland with bridges running back and forth over the stream, it’s a beautiful setting. With the bridges and boardwalks the boys loved it.

The Farmer was most taken with the owls.  His excitement at seeing every owl was admirable, ‘ooo daddy, me see oooowl’. The giant otters were very cool and so playful and VERY loud, loud enough to make the boys go silent.  I like giant otters.                                                                                                                                 Back to the campsite and ice creams for the boys and a slice of Herman and a cup of tea for the parents and then some games and park time.  It was then time for another exciting meal of army rations style potato and bacon with green beans. It seems the boys would happily eat a meal of green beans alone. We then went for another pyjama walk up the hill to see cows and more ooowls.

Day 4 – More playing at the campsite in the morning. By this time there were more people arriving at the site.  The Fireman takes it upon himself to perform some sort of meet and greet ritual with each new visitor.  We take our eyes off him for a minute and he’s already introducing himself to our neighbours, telling them about his lucky stone, showing them his crocs or his bedtime story book or just standing in silence showing them a stick.  I shouldn’t be surprised, he’s a very sociable character at home.  There’s not a day goes by when he doesn’t invite someone to our house for a cup of tea, whether it’s his best friend from pre-school or some random person at the allotment.

Anyway once we’d dragged him away from his new friends, we again picked up some picnic stuff on our way out and headed from Glossop down the Snake Pass and parked at a lay-by and went for a walk into the woods.

This was my favourite walk by far. It was a stunning place to walk, we didn’t see another person for 2 hours.

This is the ideal walk to do with a toddler. A winding footpath in and out of trees alongside a stream which we could splash our feet in.  Some sheep spotting along the way kept The Farmer happy.

We had a few Dr. Seuss Lorax moments on various tree stumps (one of The Firemans favourite books) and sticks, sticks, STICKS!

We collected more ice creams on our way back and shortly after walked to the village of Hayfield for fish and chips.  It is great that we can walk almost a mile on less than 100metres of road.

Along the way we splashed in the stream, played in the sandpit, went on a giant slide and a zip wire. I was exhausted before we arrived! The chippy is great because they have a few tables so you can eat in and despite the heat outside it was surprisingly cool inside.

Day 5 –  We bought more picnic stuff and headed to New Mills to go for a walk along the Millenium Walkway.

We’ve been here before and usually go on the walkway as part of a circular walk, but we just walked across the bridge to Torrs Riverside Park for a picnic as The Fireman wouldn’t be able to walk that far and neither of us are prepared to carry him. When first arriving in New Mills it looks like your usual Derbyshire town, with gritstone terraces and a hint of it’s industrial past.  But as you get to the middle of the town you find an amazingly deep gorge along the top which the terraces have been built. Walking down into the gorge you can see the enormous scale of the road bridges and traces of old working mills all around.

The Millennium Walkway traverses the rocky wall suspended over the River Goyt, previous to this walkway I can only assume it was impassable.  It a bridge with running water underneath, it makes a noise when you jump and run on it, so it is obviously exciting to the boys (they were carrying sticks at the same time, double excitement).

Back to the campsite and the weather was hot,hot, hot! We emptied a couple of plastic boxes and filled them with some water it was exciting for a while but they were tired and started shouting at each other for unknown reasons. To distract from this grumpiness a had quick trip for a last cheeky half at The Sportsman up the road. We had a simple dinner of pasta and stir in sauce with added tuna and sweetcorn.   The boys could hardly eat they were so tired and were too tired for any sort of pyjama walk.

Day 6 – Time to pack away and head home.  I really do not like packing up, not because I’m sad to leave but because it is tedious stuffing sleeping bags back and finding homes for stuff that just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere.

We went to Outside in Hathersage for lunch.  Lots of memories of our climbing days came back as we’d often end up here buying shiny new gear and eating beanburgers and drinking pints of tea after a day out on the edges.

I’ve not told the Fireman much about when we used to climb but he’s picked up on enough bits that he wants to do some climbing so we stopped at Froggatt Edge after lunch and tried to find some boulders for him to climb on.  There are loads of boulder fields around, but we just couldn’t think of any in shade.

After walking for 30mins and approx an hour since lunch we found some boulders.  The Fireman sat down and announced ‘I’d like my lunch now’, he’s very keen on the picnics we’ve been having. It was very hot and the Farmer fell asleep whilst being carried by his daddy. It was definitely time to head home.

We got back had a nice BBQ and drank G&T’s.   Maybe it’s not quite the holiday we would have had before children but it’s the best kind of holiday now they’re here.