Peak District part 1: Chee Dale and the Chatsworth Estate
Updated: Feb 25
The first week away of our Family Summer Fun is in the Peak District. Another beautiful part of Britain that we haven't seen before and we are also joined this week with some family friends which made it all the more fun, especially at our awesome campsite Beech Croft Farm Campsite. I chose this campsite due to the proximity of the areas I wanted to explore, however the views each morning to wake up to were awesome. The campsite also had a trio of goats that the kids enjoyed feeding on a daily basis and two playgrounds for small children and big children so we felt fully catered for there. There was also a cafe and shop on site which also is extremely convenient. The only thing i would add is get here early as its first come first serve on the pitch front and much to our annoyance we got the worst pitch in the whole place direct to the exit. They allowed us to pitch on grass for one night but we needed to get up early and pack up again to get a better hard standing pitch the next morning, which is something we had not planned, but thems are the breaks. A warning to you now! Due to the morning kerfuffle of getting a new pitch set up we decided that afternoon we would do Chee Dale Walk. The Chee Dale is a nature reserve that is adjacent to the Monsal Trail and tracks beneath the trail into the limestone ravine below to some wonderful stepping stones that kids and adults enjoy alike. Along the trail we saw abseilers from the bridge to the ravine and rock climbers in the ravine itself, alongside lot of cyclists riding the Monsal Trail itself. So much activity to be had in this place alone! The end of the walk takes you up the Nature reserve a top of the limestone cliffs to afford wonderful views of the peaks and the nearby limestone quarry. The end of the walk takes you back along the limestone way, where we got the chance to see a farmer and sheepdog rounding up the cows. All in all the walk is about 4 miles and there is a lot of exciting things to see along the way.
That night we went back to camp watched the moon rise and cooked s'mores on our campfire. It felt good to be back out in nature again. The following day we went for a bit of culture and lots of play at the Chatsworth Estate. Chatsworth House is very interesting in as much as it holds a lot of varied art and sculptures and a lot of bling and speaks a lot about the personality of the owners. Granted the kids struggled with this bit but we did it first to get it out of the way. The grounds were far more interesting.
Not only is there beautiful sculpted gardens with a rockery (more like a mini canyon) and a maze; there are two amazing water features. One being the tallest fountain in Europe, the next is meant to sound like different notes of water falling when you walk up it (I think you need a quiet day to appreciate that). There is also a farm where you can feed the animals, a petting farm with chicks and guinea pigs but also a really great adventure playground with a splash park so lots and lots of fun for children.
There is a lovely courtyard with several cafes and bars offering local produce plus a few gift shops too, this really is a day out for all ages.
The Chee Dale walk I took from my trusty OS Pathfinder book, for avid walkers there was also a walk around the wider Chatsworth Estate too, but we didn't do that as today was more about the children having some fun.