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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Week in Peak District Part 3: Paddling, Cave Finding, Tram Riding and Fine Dining

We had two days left in the Peak District and today was some searing level heat. We decided we must find somewhere to be still and be cool for the middle of the day and continue to our sightseeing later. I did have a walk planned that ended at Thors Cave, then off to a pub as we were meeting more friends today. But the heat was just too hot for a big walk with the smalls. After some last minute googling we found what sounded like the most perfect place. Padley Gorge.

Padley Gorge has ancient oak and birch trees, twisting around moss covered rocks leading to a stream that winds its way through the gorge and over the rocks. Its a like some kind of fairy paradise with lots of shade and streams shallow enough to walk in. Perfect picnic spot for a hot summers day.

Once weather had cooled a bit we set of to the pub where I had a reservation for dinner at the Royal Oak in Wetton. I chose this pub as it has a fairly close proxmity to Thor's Cave, which was supposed to be the end of our long walk, instead we did a much shorter walk to Thors Cave and back. That said as walks go this was not disappointing. Taking the footpath towards Thor's Cave you notice the valley and what looks like a steep hill one side. It's only when you really start to look you see a black hole in it which must be Thor's Cave. As you descend nearer, it starts to feel a little Indiana Jones, adventure is surely awaiting as the limestone crag rises before you.

The path then descends to the cavern entrance, which requires.a bit of a jump up to get in. The limestone is slippery so decent shoes are a must but once you are in and you turn around, you can look over the whole of the Manifold Valley. When climbing into the cave you see it's much bigger than you think it is as it flattens out inside, there are more windows internal and external and a hole in the roof with some people descending from ropes. But the slight danger of climbing in added to the thrill of the adventure. A big win for children and adults alike. After larking about inside for a bit, we came back out and headed back to the pub for a lovely meal and catch up with friends. All in all a pretty decent day indeed!

The next day was our last day in the Peak District and I had a surprise in store. First stop thought was the Crich Tramway Village. This is where the national tram museum is held and you get to ride on the vintage trams, which I knew the boys would love. Also there are woodland walks and playgrounds to add to the fun.

After a day of children's fun we moved on towards more adult fun. We had a reservation at the Bull's Head in Chesterfiled, run by none other than Great British Menu's finalist Mark Aisthorpe. This excited me greatly but more so because I was treating my 9 year old eldest to a tasting menu for the first time. Now don't get me wrong we are not overheard in Waitrose people. My son loves to cook and eats quite sophisticated food for his age and has a real interest in cooking and flavours, it's in mine and his interest to foster this (plus its no hardship to me when it comes to food!).

The food was off the chart brilliant, very intricate and deeply tasty, plus we got to meet Mark himself. I think he was quite taken that my eldest had such and interest and suggested if he is serious he has contacts our neck of the woods. He was a real gent and elevated this experience to its highest level, we even got a photo of my children with him. Now my youngest did not have the tasting menu obviously, but I vouch he had the best fish and chips he would have ever eaten.

We had a tremendous finale to our last night in the Peak District, sad to leave indeed, but onwards to our second week of adventure.

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