Meander the moors and valleys of the Peak District
The stone walls criss crossing the hills bring about an image of a patchwork quilt made with velvety green fabric joined together by a thick grey thread. On a closer inspection of the seams you’ll begin to make out a pattern of delightful villages, stunning valleys, crystal clear streams and other magical places to visit in Peak District.
1.Explore the Upper Derwent Valley
Landscapes altered by the human hand rarely become aesthetically pleasing. However, whilst damming the Derwent was a practical decision, it has inadvertently created one of the most scenic areas of the Peak District the Upper Derwent Valley.
The vast water surface, clean as a mirror, reflects the surrounding rich woodlands and high peaks that frame Ladybower Reservoir. In and around the valley there is a myriad of walks, some will take you up the hills so that you can revel in the panorama underneath your feet, while others track the reservoir banks in the cooling shade of the basin.
We loved the walk to Derwent Edge, an interesting rock formation on the east side of the reservoir. It starts from the main car park, leading through a lovely woodland, followed by a fairly steep incline which opens to astounding views with every step you take.
Peak District has a real maze of footpaths that interconnect and almost every single one can eventually take you to the Upper Derwent Valley. However, for those who’d like to get as close as possible, the east bank of the reservoir has a number of free car parks as well as a paid one near the visitor centre.
2.Walk the banks of the River Dove
Visit the Dovedale Wood first thing in the morning and you could experience a mystical ambience as the sun rays creep slowly across the limestone formations that dominate this part of the River Dove.
Early in the morning when the mist rises off the river, the section between the Dovedale car park and Upper Taylor’s Wood is simply one of the best places in the Peak District. The river banks are forced apart here by the fast flowing river, gathering more and more strength. It winds its way through the valley in an uncompromising manner, leaving behind a charismatic scene sought after by film makers and artist alike.
Being there at 7am was fantastic, completely left alone with the charms of this place and a heron hunting for the plentiful trout.
A walk in Dovedale Wood is well sought after so a visit early or late in the day will give you a better chance of having the forest to yourself.
3.Stroll barefoot around a country estate
Whether you’ve spent hours driving or rambling the rugged countryside of Peak District, you may just welcome the sudden change of scenery offered by the tranquil grandeur of Ilam Park.
Kick your shoes off and revel in the cool soft quality of the well trim lawns surrounding Ilam Hall. The challenges of the undulated Peak District countryside won’t follow you here. The level walks of few inclines or steps, winding their way around the river Manifold and Hinckley woods, will utterly relax you and eventually lead your steps to the tea room and its home made food.
We loved feeling the morning dew in between our toes while wandering in complete freedom the extensive grounds of the manicured park.