Butterflies at Hoe Grange Quarry

We are excited to be supporting Derbyshire Wildlife who have a Butterfly Open Day  at Hoe Grange Quarry this weekend. The disused limestone quarry is owned by Longcliffe Quarries and is now a nature reserve for butterflies and wildlife. Why not walk across the fields to find out more about these amazing insects? The Open Day runs from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 17th June.

Comma butterflyButterflies conjure up images of sunshine, warmth, and meadows full of colourful wildflowers teaming with life. However butterflies are fragile which makes them quick to react to change so their struggle to survive is a serious warning about our environment.

Hoe Grange Quarry Nature Reserve

Having a butterfly reserve next door to us at Hoe Grange Holidays is wonderful news and we have certainly seen an increase in the number of butterflies around our farm and gardens.

The quarry is 4.75 hectares and has not been worked since the 1970s so a wonderfully diverse mix of habitats has developed, which are ideal for insects, butterflies and moths. It lies over the other side of the High Peak Trail near the sign for Hoe Grange Cutting and is just a short walk from our log cabins.

The quarry has areas of bare ground which provide the perfect place for insects to sunbathe, surrounded by beautiful flower rich short limestone grassland. The edges of the quarry are covered in taller grasses and woodland, and there is also a disused dew pond under restoration.

Red Admiral butterfly

The environment at Hoe Grange Quarry is so rich in food for the insects that a total of 26 different species of butterfly have been recorded. The site is now managed by Derbyshire Wildlife in conjunction with the Butterfly Conservation Trust, whose volunteers have been walking a weekly transect of the quarry and recording their findings.

Amongst the butterflies are some BAP species (Biodiversity Action Plan) which are conservation priorities because of their rarity and rate of decline, including the Dingy Skipper, the Wall Brown, and Small Heath.

Common Blue butterflyIt’s also fantastic to see that there are some local species including Dark Green Fritillary  and the Peak District version of Brown Argus. The most prevalent is a large colony of Common Blues due to its food plant, Bird’s-foot-trefoil, colonising the entire quarry floor when the site was abandoned to wildlife in the 1970’s.

Fifteen fascinating facts about Butterflies
  1. It is estimated that there are about 24,000 species of butterflies, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica.
  2. Butterflies are not just attractive colourful insects, but valuable pollinators of plants, fruit and vegetables.
  3. I love the fact that a group of butterflies is sometimes called a flutter.
  4. Butterflies vary in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to the largest species reaching a massive 12 inches across. Females are larger than males and also live longer!
  5. Butterflies eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light. They rely on their eyesight for vital tasks, like searching for mates of the same species and finding flowers to feed on.
  6. Butterfly wings move in a figure of 8 motion and the top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour, which is slow compared to some moths that can fly 25mph!
  7. Butterflies are cold blooded and air temperature has a big impact on their ability to function. They cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.
  8. Butterflies and insects have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, called the exoskeleton, to protect them and keep water inside their bodies so they don’t dry out.
  9. Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet so they can find out whether the leaf is good enough food for their caterpillars before they lay their eggs on the leaf with special glue.
  10. A butterfly’s life cycle is made up of four parts, egg, larva (caterpillars), pupa (chrysalis) and adult.The process by which a caterpillar magically transforms into a butterfly is completed in 10 to 15 days, depending on the species.
  11. The story of the Very Hungry Catarpillar is true to life as from hatching to pupation, a caterpillar increases its body size 30,000 times!
  12. Fully grown caterpillars attach themselves to a suitable twig or leaf before shedding their outside layer of skin to reveal a hard skin underneath known as a chrysalis.
  13. An adult butterfly will eventually emerge from the chrysalis where it will wait a few hours for its wings to fill with blood and dry, before flying for the first time.
  14. Adult butterflies only feed on liquids, usually nectar and can live from between just one week and a year, depending on the species.
  15. Despite popular belief, butterfly wings are clear – the colors and patterns we see are made by the reflection of the tiny scales covering them.The Painted Lady is the most commonly found butterfly in the world.

cut flowers for guestsWe hope you have enjoyed our fascinating facts about butterflies. Here at Hoe Grange Holidays we encourage the butterflies and bees by growing flowers in the gardens – it’s a win, win – butterflies thrive on the nectar before the flowers are cut, then our holiday guests can enjoy the vibrant scented blooms in their log cabins!

Why not make space in your garden for butterflies and bees by planting flowers to create a pollinators paradise?

Felicity 

garden flowers

Take a tour of the Peak District

Why not take a tour of our stunning Peak District countryside?

One of the best ways to explore our special Peak District is to get out and about on the country lanes. To make life easy we have been working with Ashbourne Community Transport to put together some mini bus tours of Derbyshire, including places of interest.

Instead of driving you can have a complete break, relax back, enjoy the view, and let someone else do the hard work for you!

Derbyshire Connect Bus

Mini bus tours

The Derbyshire Connect minibus can seat up to 16 people, has a wheelchair access tail lift and is spacious. The cost is extremely reasonable and includes the driver with local knowledge of the area. One of our favourite routes is the Southern villages, and moorlands, which includes short breaks at Tissington, Ilam, Butterton, Ecton and a two hour stop over in Buxton.

Monsal Head Peak District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other themed excursions include Denstone Farm Shop and Churnet Valley Railway, Dambusters tour and Castleton, Chatsworth House, Crich Tramway Village, Peak Rail and Cromford Trust, and Thornbridge Brewery and Bakewell. There are so many exciting places to visit that you could stay at Hoe Grange for a month and still not see everything!

Prices

The bus will pick you up directly from your cabin and prices range from £57 up to £143 – extremely reasonable, even if you don’t fill all the seats!

How to book

It’s quick and simple to book too, just call the booking line 01335 300670 to discuss the various options, where you would like to go and when, or e-mail info@ashbournect.org.uk.

Chatsworth house

We hope we have inspired you to explore a little further afield – you will be surprised how varied the landscape of the Peak District is from North to South!

Felicity 

Tissington Well Dressings 2018

One of my favourite #LoveLocal Peak District events near Hoe Grange is Tissington Well Dressings. The dressing or decorating of water wells as a thanksgiving is an unusual Derbyshire tradition. The Well Dressings at Tissington are spectacular.

hall well smallThe gift of life through water is so often taken for granted, so it’s an amazing testament to the villagers that this ancient art is still thriving today.

When did Tissington Well Dressings begin?

No one really knows! The ancient art of well dressing goes so far back that it’s origins are a bit of a mystery. One plausible theory is that the tradition began in Tissington village just after the Black Death of 1348. The villagers were lucky to be spared the ravages of the plague, and their immunity was attributed to the purity of the water.ducklingsOthers believe the custom started later in 1615, after severe droughts throughout the area led to loss of cattle and crops, except at Tissington where water flowed freely from the 5 wells in the village.

What we do know is that this curious custom has been carried on for hundreds of years and the traditional techniques are passed on from one generation to the next.

Coffin well Tissington

How are the well dressings created?

Well dressing is a lengthy process, starting several weeks before Ascension Day when the backing boards are soaked in the village pond. The boards are then covered with a clay/salt mix and the design is traced onto them.

Designs are often have a biblical theme or pick up on national anniversaries. This year designs include 100 years of Votes for Women and the formation of the RAF. You can find last years well dressing designs on another blog.

Hands Well Tissington

Well Dressing Peter RabbitThen comes the intricate process of creating the outlines with cones from the Alder trees and coffee beans, before pressing individual flower petals to complete the picture.

The delicate petals have to be carefully layered like roof tiles so that any rain flows off.

Yew Tree Well TissingtonOther natural materials are used to add texture and contrast, such as twigs, wool, feathers, and small stones. Usually everything is natural, but this years design of Yew Tree Well makes reference to the world wide concern about plastic waste.

Dressing the wells can’t be done too far ahead as the flowers need to stay fresh for the full week. Town Well TissingtonIt’s wonderful how the whole village comes together to keep this special tradition very much alive. Everyone takes part in this annual celebration; young and old working together, digging clay, picking flowers, decorating the boards, or erecting the dressings at the various wells throughout the village.

Childrens Well

Blessing the wells

The Tissington Well Dressings celebrations begin on Ascension Day (celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which is always a Thursday) with a procession blessing each well and a Church service at St.Mary`s.

Things to do

There is plenty of activity in the village throughout the week, you can pop into Edward and Vintage Sweet Shop for some flavoursome fudge, pick up a plant from Tissington Nursery, which is housed in the estate’s walled kitchen gardens, treat yourself to a beautiful hurricane candle, or some unique Dovedale ceramics from On A Wick and A Prayer candle workshop, stop off for an ice cream at Herbert’s Tea Rooms, or a delicious cream tea with scones to die for at Bassettwood Farm. 

If you’re not from around Derbyshire you have probably never heard of well dressings, but quirky events such as well dressing is what makes the Peak District a #uniquedistrict. The well dressings are on from today Thursday 10th May to Wednesday 16th May, so why not pop along this weekend to see for yourself?

We hope you like our photos, however seeing the wells in real life is so much better, but don’t get stuck in the stocks like I did!

Felicity 

stocks

Reduce, Reuse and Recharge!!

With the world waging war on plastics since that wonderful David Attenborough programme, it made us think of what else we could do. Although we are really hot on the recycling, we are always looking for ways in which we can do more to help save the environment. Looking at the recycling boxes at the end of each week the main culprit is the mountain of plastic milk containers.

Reducing plastic

Waste plastic milk containers
Waste plastic milk containers

 

We contacted our wonderful suppliers Peak District Dairy and have now arranged to have our milk delivered in old fashioned glass milk bottles, all labeled up nicely to show how local the milk is.

Now we just rinse out and leave them out for collection and re-use. It’s funny how things in life often go full circle and we are going back to the old fashioned doorstep deliveries!

Glass milk bottles
Glass milk bottles

We cannot always send bottles back for re-use, especially beer bottles, so we have to be a little more inventive. We use David’s empties on the farm for feeding the kade lambs! I promise you it is milk in there not beer, (although that could be a whole new lamb market Wagyu lamb?). Lambs are so cute this could be a complete new avenue of sale for Thornbridge brewery?

Beer fed lamb?
Beer fed lamb?
Top 6 tips for cutting down on plastics
  1. Say NO to plastic straws and also swap disposable for reusable – refill water bottles or take a cup with you – did you know less than 0.5% of disposable cups are recycled properly?
  2. Do you really need to buy bottled water? Definitely not while you’re staying on holiday at Hoe Grange as our water comes from our own borehole – it is perfectly pure with natural minerals and nothing added.
  3. Avoid takeaways and cook at home – takeaways have lots of packaging which is often non-recyclable and fresh home cooked meals not only taste delicious but have far less calories! If you fancy going Italian you can hire our pizza oven and create and cook your own pizzas.
  4. Refill bottles – find out where your local stockist is and get your washing up and cleaning product bottles etc refilled, or use online companies like Splosh, who post out refills – you can return the packaging to them for recycling too!
  5. Plastic is used to seal tea bags closed during manufacture – why not go back to good old fashioned loose tea? Your cuppa will taste better and is quick and easy to brew once you get into the habit!
  6. Use our canvas bags for shopping and buy from our fabulous #LoveLocal independent businesses – you’ll find something extra special to take home from our Peak District Environmental Quality Mark members, whilst also supporting the Peak District environment.
Recharge your batteries

Exciting news! As well as reducing waste, we have just had fitted a new high speed car charging point. We can now charge our new plug in hybrid car too, so all those local journeys are made using electric power generated by our very own wind turbine and solar panels.

Car recharging point
Car charging point.

As well as recharging your own batteries with a relaxing holiday at Hoe Grange we’re happy for you to plug in and recharge your car too …..

David

All aboard the steam train

What is it about the sights and sound of a steam train? It is such a romantic image, viewed through rose tinted spectacles, which takes you back in time to a bygone era!

I think it’s the fact that it’s a multi sensory experience; your senses are brought alive as you watch the smoke swirling skywards, hear the sharp hissing of steam escaping and breathe in the unique evocative smells of a real steam engine.

FelicityPeakRailSmall (002)

A ticket to ride

You can experience all this at Peak Rail, watching the engine get up steam, before climbing on board and settling back in the beautifully restored carriages to enjoy a unique view of the Derwent Valley.

The Peak Rail line has been re-instated mostly by volunteers and was originally part of the old Midland Railway line between Manchester Central and London St Pancras which was closed in 1968. It currently operates both steam and diesel trains over a distance of 4 miles between Rowsley South Station and Matlock Platform 2.

Rowsleystation

Whilst the line is relatively short it is still an interesting experience. Peak Rail’s long term aim is to reopen the line between Buxton and Matlock, and extend the heritage train services.

PeakRailturntable

Rowley South Station has an impressive 60 ft working turntable and a steam engine/restoration shed (not open to the public) and is the main base of all Peak Rail’s operating activities.  There are many events throughout the summer including the popular 1940’s weekend on 4th & 5th August 2018.

All aboard

Good news for many of our holiday guests is that Peak Rail have thought about accessibility and have space for up to 3 wheelchairs in one of their carriages. Just ask the staff for help and to use the mobile ramp to board the train. Rowsley South Station has the easiest access up a wide ramp to the platform and the best disabled facilities.

PeakRailsteamengine

There is also a station buffet serving mouth watering bacon rolls, home-made meals and cakes, whilst the shop stocks a range of railway goodies for both visitors and railway enthusiasts alike.

Dine in style

PeakRailcarriageTo add to the authentic experience you can you can also enjoy the luxury of Pullman Style dining as the train leisurely travels along the line.

Make Sunday extra special with a delicious roast dinner, (£25 per head) or treat yourself to a sumptuous cream tea with a sparkling glass of Prosecco (from £15.50). Peak Rail believes in the old fashioned values of quality and customer service, so you are guaranteed a good time.

A link to the past

The Midland Railway route linking Derby and Manchester carved through Derbyshire’s great limestone hills, and has been described as the most scenic railway lines in Britain. The hilly terrain meant that numerous tunnels and other impressive civil engineering features had to be constructed, including the magnificent viaducts at Millers Dale and Monsal Dale. You can still take in these breath taking views today as The Monsal Trail is now a traffic free walking, cycle and horse riding route.

peakRaildieselThe railway was not just a passenger line, but freight traffic was also of great importance throughout its history.

Following the demise of the Lancashire coalfields during the inter-war years, much of the coal to power the industry of the north-west had to be transferred across the Peak District from the East Midlands.

Take a ride on the footplate

PeakRailstokerImagine yourself on the footplate, taking hold of the regulator, the heat of the roaring fire and steady beat of the loco under your control! You can gain an understanding of what it was like to be an engine driver by booking a Steam Experience Course (from £115).

My grandfather was a fireman on the Great Western Railway, which judging from the dirty face of today’s stoker must have been a very hot, grimy and tough job!

PeakRailsteamengine2

Ticket Prices for 2018

Peak Rail timetableDuring the summer months trains run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Adult – 8.00
Senior Citizens – £6.50
Children under 3 years (maximum of two per paying adult) – Free
Children 3 – 5 years – £2.30
Children 6 – 15 years – £4.30
Family Ticket (2 Adults and up to 3 Children) – £24.00

Fares allow unlimited travel on date of purchase.
(Fares may change on some special events)

David and I had a fun day out and I hope our blog will inspire you to take a trip on a steam train at Peak Rail during your stay with us at Hoe Grange Holidays!

Felicity

PeakRail junction box

4 Star Gold Awards for our luxury log cabins

VisitEngland 4 StarVisitEngland Gold AwardWe love our luxury log cabins and are delighted the VisitEngland assessor loved them too!

At our recent inspection we retained our 4 Star Gold Awards rating through the VisitEngland Quality Assessment Scheme.

4 Star Gold Award

Star ratings are not only awarded on the quality of our facilities, but also on the services provided and our hospitality. The inspection covers all aspects of the business and visitor journey, from initial enquiry and the website through to guest stay and departure. To gain the extra Gold Award in addition to the 4 Star rating shows that our standards and customer service are extremely high.

VisitEngland 4 Star Gold Awards

Like the Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi on the television the VisitEngland assessor is extremely thorough, checking everything from cleanliness, to pots and pans and ensuring mattresses are springy and comfortable. No stone is left unturned – tops of wardrobes, under beds, backs of cupboards, all the nooks and crannies are checked!

Top Team

Thanks to our amazing team of hardworking housekeepers I am delighted to say that the inspector reported “The underlying levels of cleanliness were found to be very high” and “sanitary ware is sparkling”! She also praised the wide selection of accessories and lovely personal touches.

National Accessible Scheme

The Inspector also assessed our disabled facilities and we are proud to have retained our National Accessibility Scheme ratings for Mobility, Visual and Hearing. The inspector was impressed with the excellent provision of mobility aids including an off road wheelchair. You can read more about this in our next blog, or view our disabled holiday accommodation.

Welcome Cyclists, Walkers and Families

In addition to the star rating we also have extra facilities and provisions to Welcome Families, such as highchairs and travel cots, toys and games. Hoe Grange is an ideal base for exploring the Peak District countryside so to Welcome Cyclists and Walkers we have route maps, washing facilities, puncture repair kits and secure cycle storage for guests to leave their bikes.

Why bother with inspections?

We value the inspection process as an excellent way for us to ensure we have everything in tip top condition ready for your arrival. We continually strive to improve our log cabins and gorgeous glamping pods so you can relax and enjoy your holiday to the full. It’s all the little things that make the difference, such as new Denby pottery mugs, our #LoveLocal welcome pack of Peak District goodies and up to date leaflets to inspire you to visit our amazing local attractions.

A good nights sleep

Hip;ley master bedroomAlthough the inspection is once a year we have a continual improvement plan in place to renew and improve our facilities on an ongoing basis . For example in January we refreshed Hipley master bedroom, which now has a sumptuous superking bed. With the new mattresses guests have the flexibility for the bed to be split into 2 singles if staying as a group of friends rather than a couple.

To add a contemporary touch I also bought a beautiful new print of Wirksworth skyline for the wall from a local artist.

New for 2018

Pizza ovenThere is nothing better than food with friends so why not treat yourself to a fun evening and hire the outdoor pizza oven. To make things easy we provide the oven and logs, together with the pizza dough and passata. All you have to do is provide the cheese, your favourite toppings and then get cooking.

Our new #LoveLocal shop and laundry room is also nearly complete – watch this space for further news!

guest reviewI believe that our guests appreciate the effort we go to to maintain our high standards. However don’t just take our word for it; we have some wonderful comments in the guest book or read what our guests say about us on TripAdvisor.

Every picture tells a story, so why not take a peek inside our gorgeous log cabins with our new 3D virtual tours!

We look forward to welcoming guests both old and new in 2018!

Felicity 

 

Things to do this Easter in the Peak District

The Peak District is the perfect location for some family fun this Easter. Whether you’re staying in the Peak District for the week and using Hoe Grange as a central base, or simply in need of the perfect family day out.

With so much on offer for the whole family, you’ll be torn between the fantastic events that are taking place across Derbyshire.We’ve also included our top recommendations for those who require accessible activities.

Carsington Water

Boma at Carsington

As the weather starts to brighten-up why not dive into your adventurous side at Carsington Water? There is a wide range of outdoor activities, and everyone can get in on the action. Why not get out on the water with Sailability on one of the accessible sailing dinghies? 

Take part in the Kayaking or windsurfing taster over the bank holiday weekend or hire a bike from just £11 for two hours and make the most of their excellent cycle routes, accessible bikes are available too. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.  

See our favourite cycle routes in the Peak District here.

Chatsworth House

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Image credit: Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House provides an excellent range of Easter activities and family fun from the 24th March – 8th April. Let the kids join in on the famous Easter Egg Hunt and chase after the Easter bunny, whilst you explore the breath-taking Chatsworth gardens. Chatsworth has something for everyone, book tickets online to avoid missing out.

Cromford Mills

cromford mills

Cromford Mills have an exciting Easter weekend planned for the whole family. Considered as the birthplace of the factory system, what happened at Sir Richard Arkwright’s first mill complex in the 1770’s changed the world we live in. Children can have fun on the Easter egg hunt trail and learn a little about our industrial heritage at the same time. You can meet the barn owls and there are also outdoor and indoor games (incase it rains!). There’s also a canal boat trip, barbeque and market stalls – something for all the family. The visitor centre is wheelchair accessible and there is a changing places toilet at Cromford Wharf.  

The good news is that the event is free, although some activities have a small charge, for more information click here.

Leawood Pumphouse

Leawood Pump HouseFor those interested in engineering if you wander further along the canal you will find Leawood Pumphouse built in 1849 to pump water from the River Derwent into Cromford Canal.

The unique 1849 Graham & Co. beam engine is powered by steam from two locomotive style boilers built by the Midland Railway around 1900, and is very impressive in action. Although over 150 years old it is in full working order and will be in steam on 1st and 2nd April. Read more about our stroll along the Cromford Canal and visit to Leawood Pumphouse.

 Crich Tramway Village

 

 

 

Crich Tramway Village has two events over the Easter period. For family fun with the little ones, take part in the Make-do-and-mend activity days, open from Monday 26th to 29th March.

Or turn back the clocks on Easter Sunday and Monday for World War II Home Front event and step into 1945. There will be a mix of live music, wartime road and military vehicles and vintage trams. Enter into the spirit of the event and dress up in 1940’s clothes, and you’ll pay a reduced admission charge!

The Heights of Abraham

heightsabraham
image credit: Visit Peak District

One of the Peak District’s most popular destination, The Heights of Abraham is perfect for a Family day trip. Step onto one of the cable cars and be prepared to be wowed by the fantastic views. Head underground to experience a day in the life of a 17th Century lead mining family. Or, if you fancy a walk, take the woodland path of the heritage walk, known as the ‘savage garden,’ famous for its natural beauty and zig-zag paths. And if that doesn’t tire out the kids, let them take part in the dinosaur egg hunt or burn off all their energy at the adventure playground. 

There’s so much to do this Easter in the Peak District, from Kayaking to Easter Egg hunts, get ready to explore with the whole family. We hope you’ve found our ideas helpful! 

Felicity 

TB, or not TB, that is the question!

A few days ago our herd of suckler cows underwent its annual routine TB (Bovine Tuberculosis) test. This is an anxious time for any livestock farmer, as it can have devastating consequenses.

The TB test involved shaving two small sites on the cows neck, then measuring and recording the skin thickness at both sites.The vet then injects tiny amounts of deactivated TB virus of 2 types, 1 is bovine TB and the other is Avian TB.

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The cows are then left for 72 hours and the skin in the 2 sites is measured again. If there is a thickening of the skin greater on the bottom site (bovine TB) by a specified amount, then this is a positive reaction, which is not good news!Skin measuring

 

Finding Tuberculosis present, even in just one cow has massive implications on the next year or more of our farming practices, let alone our income!

A positive reactor cow is taken away and slaughtered and a full examination of the lungs is made post mortem to confirm the infection is present. The farm is immediately placed under movement restriction, which  means that no cattle may leave the farm unless going direct to slaughter. These restrictions are the same if you have one reactor or 100! Some local farms have lost 50 or more cows in one test, which is soul destroying when your whole life is dedicated to raising and caring for your herd.

If a farm has a positive test then all animals have to be retested every 60 days until 2 clear tests have been achieved, only then are cattle movement restrictions lifted. These extra tests place great strain on both man and beast; there is always a high risk of another failure, and the cows get to know what is coming and don’t like to cooperate!

A great deal is said in the press by all sides about the cause of the spread of TB from wildlife and the possible control of such. Each person must make up their own mind as to the facts and I will not get into that debate here.

Fortunately our test last week was clear, with no cows reacting so our business can carry on as usual. When we sell stock to another farm it must have been tested for TB in the 60 days prior to moving house. Sometimes this means an extra test for any cattle we need to sell, but we usually take advantage of a regular clear test result to  sell our stock.IMG_1459

In June 2015 we bought our pedigree bull, Gawsworth Phil 28th, to be the new husband to our ladies (if you know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink!) He has done his job wonderfully well since then, but as time passes his daughters are now old enough to enter the herd as breeding animals.

This means Phil has to go (while we have a clear test window). We will miss him as he has been a well mannered chap who has produced some lovely calves. Fear not, he hasn’t gone to the great pie factory in the sky, but has moved on to a whole new herd of ladies!

beef cow Over the 3 years here he has fathered around 75 calves, many of which can be seen in the fields around the farm, and there are another 20 or so are still to be born this spring.

Shortly I will start looking for a new husband for my ladies, but not until July as a cow is pregnant for just over 9 months and we don’t want any calves born until April when the grass is growing again.

Watch this post for news of the new bull later in the year, as well as the calves when they start arriving in April.

David

Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football 2018

On Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the town of Ashbourne takes on a strange appearance with shops and houses boarded up. If you are not a local you will be wondering what on earth is going on!

Shrovetide footballIt’s all in preparation for the ancient game of Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football. As 2 o’clock draws near the town springs to life and crowds start gathering on Shaw Croft car park in anticipation of the start of the game.

It is basically a frantic football game played through the streets with hundreds of people and few rules. The painted leather ball can be carried, kicked or thrown, but not transported by car! A goal is scored by banging thrice upon the millstones at the goals at Sturston Mill and Clifton, which are 3 miles apart .

It is regarded as a great honour to be chosen to throw up the ball to start the game. The honoured guest is carried shoulder high from the town centre to the “plinth” carrying the painted leather ball. The noise and tension rise as the crowd sings Auld Langs Syne followed by God Save The Queen, before the ball is thrown sky high into the jostling sea of people.

Down'ardsFrom there on it is a scramble as the die-hard players form a “hug” round the ball trying to gain control for their team – either Up’ards born North of the River Henmore, or Down’ards born to the South.

It’s like a huge rugby scrum with tens of players on each side, and many more onlookers, shouting encouragement. There is a lot of jostling, shoving and pushing and you rarely see the ball – often the only way to work out where it is from the steam rising from the hug!

shrovetide3

Due to the sheer number of players the ball often gets stuck in one place for a long time, before suddenly and very briefly emerging into the air above the crowd, where it can move very quickly indeed – you need to be on your toes not to get caught up in the action by mistake!

Shrovetide football in Ashbourne was first recorded as long ago as 1682, and hasn’t changed much over the centuries, except that it is now watched by hoards of people from all over the UK, not just the locals!

More photos and videos of todays #Shrovetidefootball action on our Facebook page. It’s a fabulous friendly atmosphere, so why not catch more of the action tomorrow on Ash Wednesday?

Felicity

It’s time for a 3D virtual tour!

Exciting news! Join us – you can now step right in and take a magical 3D virtual tour of all our log cabins and glamping pods holidays.

Leighton Morris 3D-PiWow – this new virtual reality technology is simply amazing and Leighton of 3D-Pi has made a fantastic job of capturing our self-catering holiday accommodation. Standing admiring the view you can almost feel the wind in your hair!

We can guarantee that once you taken the tour you’ll want to book a holiday with us in the stunning Derbyshire Peak District countryside.

3D Virtual Tour

These 3D virtual tours even show a dollshouse view so you can see the layout and floor plan of the each cabin, before zooming into each room for a closer look. It’s so easy to explore all the spaces and even take in the view from the decking.

The process uses cutting edge 3D infra-red camera technology to scan each room in 360 degrees. Leighton worked progressively through each log cabin strategically placing the camera in the right spots to enable the images to be stitched together, a bit like piecing a jigsaw together.

Once each cabin was completely scanned, all of the images were uploaded to Matterport and pulled together to enable the 3D model to be created. It’s a little mind boggling and you might even say magical, but I am sure you’ll agree the result is a seamless, immersive and fun experience.

It’s such fun that I have to keep going back and looking round the cabins. The 3D tours show so much more than a flat photograph and are even more intuitive on a mobile phone. You can clearly see for yourself exactly what our facilities are like before you book – go on take a peek! and if you’re a real techy, and have VR googles for your phone, it’s mind blowing!

With Access in Mind

We hope these new interactive 3D tours will be of great benefit for guests with disabilities, who will be able to see how spacious our accessible log cabins are.There is also a 360 view of the wet rooms, showing the various shower chairs we can provide.

It is often said that a picture paints a thousand words and hopefully this will give guests confidence to select the right cabin for their accessible holiday, and will answer many of the frequently asked questions that you need to know before arrival.

Go glamping

Taking a step inside has particularly worked well in the glamping pods, where it can be difficult to get a good photo as the space is relatively small. We have shown the day time layout with the sofa in Swallow and the night time layout with the bed pulled out in Skylark, to give you an idea of how the space works when you stay.

As you take your 3D virtual tour you will notice all the little extras that we provide so you don’t need to overload the car with unnecessary extra equipment.

In Swallow glamping pod you can also see that you can bring your dog on holiday to enjoy the many wonderful walkies through the Peak District countryside and up onto the High Peak Trail.

The tours are linked so you can jump from one virtual tour to another by clicking on the coloured pins and choosing where to go next. You can journey through all the log cabins and glamping pods before deciding which view you like best and which to book!

It is such a realistic interactive 3D experience that you can easily imagine yourself on holiday here at Hoe Grange, relaxing on the decking, sipping your glass of wine and watching the world go by.

Felicity