Exploring the Peak District by bicycle

What better way to explore the Peak District than by bicycle?

There are cycling routes for all abilities, from the easy-going gentle gradients along the trails following the old railway routes, to steep challenging off-road tracks for the more energetic and adventurous. You can cycle the quiet back roads passing through picturesque villages and trundle up the rolling hills and zoom down the delightful dales.

Cycling in the Peak District

Although you may whizz down the hills at speed, pedalling along on your bicycle is the best way to take in the breath-taking views of the Derbyshire countryside.

As you cycle along take time to delight in the wildflowers along the verges and spot the wonderful wildlife, from hares streaking across the fields, to birds of prey circling the skies. Farming is also very much in evidence across the Peak District and you will see lambs gambolling in the meadows, highland cattle munching on the moors, scurrying hares and maybe the odd deer in the distance.

New Cycle routes

The Pedal Peak Project have published an exciting new range of route maps for all abilities. Why not download the cycle routes so you can plan your days out before you arrive on holiday?

There are four cycling guides:

Hoe Grange circular cycle route

David and I have been making the most of the glorious May weather and have had fun creating a lovely circular cycle route which takes in cafes, a castle and Arbor Low stone circle, which is larger than Stonehenge!

Our “Carefree days, cycles, cafes and castles” route is approx. 28 miles long using minor roads and trails. That sounds like a long way to me, but I made it with comparative ease. Although not a regular cyclist I coped well with the few short steep hills, and it was a exhilarating day out.

Do follow our route map the same way round though as going the opposite way involves more steep uphill stretches! Start by cycling up to Parsley Hay along the High Peak Trail, then to Pilsbury, down to Hartington, to Arbor Low  and back along the High Peak Trail.

The Peak District also has a wealth of fabulous food stops including artisan ice creams parlours, tea shops and cosy cafes, cheese shops. real ales and pub grub. There is a wonderful choice in Hartington Village to keep hunger at bay!

Cycle hire

If you have your own bikes you can safely store them in our new secure cycle shed, where there is also a small work bench and wash down hose.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a bicycle, we can loan you one of our mountain bikes. Guests who haven’t been out cycling for many years find the High Peak Trail which is accessible from the farm fields and has a shallow gradient, a good place to start. The added bonus is that the views over the White Peak limestone landscape are stunning!

There are lots of ways to hire bikes in the area as well, basic E-bikes and normal bikes can be rented from the local cycle hire centres at Ashbourne, Parsley Hay and Middleton Top.

Let the e-bike take the strain!

You don’t have to be super fit to ride off-road trails. Our friends at MTB&B will rent you an  up to date E-mountain bike that takes the strain out of even the steepest hills.

They deliver direct to your log-cabin or glamping pod here at hoe Grange Holidays  and even do a great value family package too.

We hope we have inspired you to take to your bicycle and explore all the Peak District has to offer! There is more information on our cycling page.

Felicity 

Our favourite five Easter Egg Hunts

According to the Christian Bible Good Friday is the day that Christ died on the cross. Jesus then resurrected and came back to life on Easter Sunday, which is why Christians celebrate Easter and the birth of newlife.

Whist prayer and worship are very important to the Christian faith at this time, there are some modern traditions that have become universally popular, including Easter egg hunts, The Easter bunny and David’s favourite food, chocolate!

Why chocolate eggs at Easter?

For most of us Easter isn’t Easter without chocolate eggs! How did this tradition start? In years gone by church leaders forbade the eating of eggs during Holy week leading up to Easter.This meant that any eggs laid during the week were saved and decorated to make them “Holy Week eggs”. These were then given to children as gifts, and so the tradition of Easter eggs began.

Chicken hunting for chocolate eggs

Lucky has already started her Easter Egg Hunt!

easter eggsThe Victorians embellished the tradition creating satin-covered cardboard eggs filled with Easter gifts. Then as chocolate became more affordable and available the cardboards eggs were replaced by tasty chocolate eggs.

I wonder how many chocolate Easter eggs are made today? Cadbury’s alone produce over 50 million Easter eggs per year.

The chocolate Easter bunny is also very popular!

Our favourite five Easter egg hunts:
  1. Hop to it at Chatsworth House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  There is an ‘egg’citing Easter trail with willow and wicker animals hidden throughout the gardens. Luckily there is a free explorer’s map to help you find them. Join in the Easter themed activities including face painting, musical entertainment, crafts, Easter bunny trailer rides and Easter egg hunts.
  2. If you thought dinosaur eggs only existed in Jurassic Park, you’d be wrong! You might find some at the Heights of Abraham along the prehistoric themed trail. With lots of dinosaur themed activities to entertain the children and a panoramic view from the cable car you’ll all enjoy a fun day out.
  3. Dinosaurs seem to be popular in the Peak District this Easter. You can meet Tricksy the Dinosaur, the UK’s first female animatronic T-Rex at Matlock Farm Park on Easter Monday. At an incredible 6ft tall and over 10ft long, Tricksy the Dinosaur blinks, roars and walks like a real dinosaur.
  4. Join in the Great Egg Hunt at Cromford Mill and not only might you find an egg or two, but you will discover how Arkwright’s Mill, often called the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, changed the world we live in today. Plenty of ‘egg’citing Easter  activities for all the family, including The Great Egg Hunt, an Owl and Bird Display, family crafts, live music, and the popular Arkwright Artisan Market.
  5. Haddon Hall is often described as ‘the most perfect manor house to survive from the Middle Ages’. Home to the Manners family, the Manor abounds with original features including the medieval kitchens, a banqueting hall, and a 17th century long gallery often used in blockbuster films such as Mary Queen of Scots. You may find the Easter bunny too!
Get up lazy bones

Here on the farm Easter is a busy but wonderful time of year. Our suckler herd of cows are having calves and the new baby lambs are gamboling in the fields. But the most important thing is that the Easter Bunny leaves David some chocolate eggs on Sunday!

Felicity 

70th Anniversary of National Parks

It’s not often you get something for nothing, but thanks to the determination of group of countryside revolutionaries, exploring and enjoying our National Parks is indeed free! It’s 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament that established the family of National Parks in England and Wales.

The right to roam

Hard to believe today, but the rebellious ramblers of the 1932 Kinder Mass Trespass in the Peak District were imprisoned for protesting on the moors for the right to roam and have open access. However, their concerted efforts were eventually rewarded and led to legislation establishing the UK National Parks. It means that today our most beautiful countryside in England, Wales and Scotland has the strongest levels of protection.

Peak District landscape

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of National Parks

This year we celebrate 70 years since the 1949 Act of Parliament was passed which established the 15 National Parks that we know and love today. Ethel and Gerald Haythornthwaite were environmental campaigners and pioneers of the countryside movement and were instrumental in establishing the Peak District as Britain’s first National Park in 1951.

Friends of the Peak District logoAs campaigners they fought to protect the countryside, but realised the importance of the landscape as a living, working environment.

They also founded the charity Friends of The Peak District which we support and which continues to protect the precious countryside around us.

The Peak District National Park

The Peak District, founded in 1951, is the oldest National Park. with it’s breath-taking gritstone edges and moorland of the Dark Peak, contrasting with the steep limestone dales of the White Peak. It is also famed for its caverns and the precious and unique Blue John stone.

Growing up at Hoe Grange Farm David didn’t really comprehend the beauty of our special environment. It is only since diversifying into self-catering holidays that we truly appreciate where we live and work!

When guests arrive and get out of their car they often gasp at the stunning views and gamboling lambs! #uniquedistrict

Discover National Parks

Saturday 6th April 2019 is the start of Discover National Parks Fortnight. There are celebrations across the UK with events and experiences to inspire people of all ages and interests to venture outdoors, explore and learn more about these special places.  #DiscoverNationalParks

What is it like to work as a Ranger in the Peak District? As part of the English National Park Experience Collection you can get hands on and find out!

There are 15 National Parks in the UK, all of which are unique – some have high mountains, some have rolling valleys, others meandering wetlands and dramatic coastline. They are home to our most precious wildlife, protect our beloved countryside landscapes and are a source of boundless pleasure for the millions who visit each year.

Millstone Edge

The wide-open spaces enable you to explore, experience the elements, learn, relax, and escape the pressures of the modern world. You can enjoy some quality family time, discover ancient traditions, or go on a more challenging, rugged adventure. There is something to appeal to all age groups and abilities.

10 Facts about the Peak District National Park
  1. The name ‘Peak’ does not relate to mountains (we only have large hills!) but is thought to be derived from the Pecsaetan, an Anglo-Saxon tribe who settled the area.
  2. The Peak District National Park covers an area of 555 sq miles, but is by no means the largest National Park – the Cairngorms in Scotland is the biggest. It reaches into five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester.
  3. Ramble along 1,600 miles of public rights of way, footpaths, bridleways and tracks, 64 miles of which are accessible to disabled people.
  4. Take a walk on the wild side! Around 520 sq km (202 sq miles) is open access land – open to walkers without having to stick to paths (more details: www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/crow).
  5. Cycle, walk or ride along 34 miles of disused railways, including The High Peak Trail next to Hoe Grange, Tissington Trail and Monsal Trail.
  6. Nearly 90 per cent of the National Park is farmland with around 1,800 farms. Incredibly there are 5,440 miles (8756 km) of dry stone walls!
  7. Not short of water there are 55 reservoirs supplying 450million litres of water a day.
  8. More than a third of the national park (35%) is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where important plants, wildlife and geological formations should be conserved.
  9. There are more than 450 scheduled historic monuments, including Nine Ladies Stone Circle (Bronze Age) on Stanton Moor, and Neolithic henge at Arbor Low.
  10. There are quite a few quirky and distinctive customs, but one of the most well know is well dressing. Originally a pagan ceremony to honour water gods, it is now a favourite tradition in many villages, including Tissington just a few miles from Hoe Grange. The wells are dressed  with flowers, petals, seeds, twigs, nuts and berries, pressed into soft clay held in wooden frames and often depict Biblical themes.

The Peak District and all the National Parks are a real treasure. They protect and steward our most valuable natural assets, whilst at the same time providing access to open country for all. Feel free to enjoy to your heart’s content whilst you stay at Hoe Grange!

Felicity 

Discover the starry skies of the Peak District

When planning holidays in the countryside we often only consider what we will do with our days, but what about the nights? With our big, open skies you’ll be amazed at the star studded skies as you sit on the decking outside your log cabin in the complete darkness. The Peak District is the perfect place for getting away from the bright city lights giving you an opportunity to view the sky at night in all it’s glory.

The sky at night

Over the past 100 years or so, our skies have become more difficult to view as man-made light pollution obscures the stars. However at Hoe Grange we are fortunate to be in one of the dark sky areas of the Peak District. Being so far away from towns and streetlights our night skies are truly dark, and you can still get a brilliant view of the twinkling stars above.

Burbage Edge

On a clear night there is nothing better than lying on the grass, gazing up at the starry sky and soaking in the peace and quiet or even better from the hot tub! If you are into astronomy and have a telescope, why not bring it along on your holiday?

Dark Sky Places

Don’t just take our word for it! The Peak District National Park Authority, Nottingham Trent University and the Science and Technology Facilities Council have collaborated to identify dark sky discovery sites where the conditions for stargazing are good.

One of the three designated dark sky sites is at Minninglow car park just a couple of miles along the High Peak Trail from Hoe Grange.

Dark Sky Places in the Peak District

There are three dark sky sites in the Peak District with astronomy interpretation panels to help you explore the night skies. The panels are changed each season.

  • Minninglow, off the A515 at Pikehall (nearest postcode DE4 2PN)
  • Surprise View, off the A6187 near Hathersage
  • Parsley Hay, off the A515 near Hartington (nearest postcode SK17 0DG)

Explore the universe with the help of these BBC interactive Star Guides and Calendars 

The Wirksworth StarDisc

If you are interested in astronomy and stargazing why not visit The Star Disc, situated at the top of Stoney Wood, near Wirksworth. It is a stunning space created by local artist Aidan Shingler to celebrate the wonders of the night sky.

The stunning StarDisc spans 12 metres. Carved into black granite is a star chart that mirrors the northern hemisphere’s night sky. The stone circle is inscribed with the constellations, their names, and a depiction of the Milky Way. Contrasting with the dark stone star chart is a perimeter of silver granite with 12 seats which represent the months of the year. Best viewed y night, 72 lights illuminate the StarDisc, powered by our nearest star – the Sun.
In close proximity to the StarDisc are six Solar Calendar Stones, positioned by local engineer, Keith Hunter, to show precisely where the sun rises and sets at the solstices and the equinox.

Location: Stoney Wood, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4EN
Latitude: 53.0859 N Longitude: 1.5781 W
Grid Reference: SK 28356 54381

Wirksworth Stardisc

Did you switch off for Earth Hour?

Talking of dark skies did you show support for WWF Earth Hour on Saturday 30th March? Hundreds of landmarks across the UK switched off their lights as a visual display of their commitment to the future of our planet – The Shard, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and Edinburgh Castle to name a few.

The world’s most iconic landmarks also switched lights off to show support – such as the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.  And millions of you switched off too! #EarthHourUK

Growing support for Earth Hour has helped WWF find solutions for the environmental challenges faced the world over. This includes influencing national climate policies, planting new forests in Uganda, and banning plastic in the Galapago.

The problem is we think we have time. But for a future where people and nature thrive we need to act now! Make a start by calculating your environmental footprint.

Felicity 

We love our new loo, do you?

I have a thing about beautiful bathrooms, do you?

Here at Hoe Grange Holidays we are always striving to improve our facilities, and our latest project has been the refurbishment of Hipley log cabin wet room, with a super new Closomat loo. We love it and hope you do too!

Our aim is to provide a home from home relaxing holiday and we feel a beautiful bathroom is a must! Our updated luxurious facilities will leave you stress free, so you can truly relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our special countryside.

New stylish shower room

The wet room in our Hipley log cabin has had a stylish transformation.Gone are the dark walls, the stark, basic builders pack with tiny wash hand basin and functional unattractive toilet. DIY David has worked wonders and the shower room is now bright and attractive with many stylish features!

Accessible shower roomNo more wet feet!

Both the slope of the floor and the size of the shower drain have been increased. You are no longer sploshing around in half an inch of water after your shower, whilst trying to get yourself dry! The flooring is non-slip, yet not rough underfoot, and wheeling a shower chair across the space is a breeze.

A helping hand

Motionspot are specialists in accessible design and helped us with the contemporary styling by providing a shower riser that is also designed as a strong and sturdy corner grab rail. To make life easy there is a handy holder for your soap and shampoo.

The overall look of the shower room is now sleek and contemporary as we have removed the cumbersome separate grab rails and added a large Pressalit Care wash basin with integrated handrails.

Above the wash basin is a bright back lit mirror with demister and shaver point. We replaced the old radiator with a large heated towel rail, which will be much more useful.

A new super loo!

The star of the show is the super Closomat Shower toilet. It is ideal as it combines a conventional WC with integrated washing and drying, to give people independence.

The Closomat shower toilet is designed to properly support the user and position them correctly for effective washing and drying. What we liked about The Palma Vite is the fact that it looks like a typical toilet and you can choose whether to use it as a traditional toilet or activate the shower and drying function. This means it is suitable for all our holiday guests.

Closomat shower toiletWe chose to have integrated drop down arm supports for flexibility for transferring from wheelchair to toilet from either side. They look neat and streamline and can easily be placed up out of the way. There is plenty of transfer space. The toilet seat and arm supports are in a contrast blue colour which is helpful for the visually impaired.

The Closomat is great because it looks like a typical WC, but you can choose to use it as a conventional loo, or trigger the douching and drying processes. It perfect for everyone, whether or not they are disabled.

Removing the old wet room walls and sorting out the floor levels was a mammoth task for David. We hope you agree that it was all worth it, and that the shower room is now better equipped yet sleek and stylish.

To complete the refurbishment we also put down new practical flooring in the wheelchair accessible twin bedroom and a warm cosy carpet in the master bedroom. We are really pleased with the new contemporary fresh look.

Hipley accessible bedroom

The Japanese use these sorts of wash and dry toilets all the time – what could be better than a waft of warm air!! We are hosting an Open Afternoon on Friday 15th March between 12.30 and 3.30pm in support of Disabled Access Day – why not pop  along and see our new toilet.

Boma peak district

In the spirit of Disabled Access Day you could be adventurous and try out something new too. You can test our robust Boma 7 off-road wheelchair over the farm fields. We now have both a joy stick control and a handlebar steering version. All welcome to join in a fun afternoon!

Felicity 

Everything you need to know about bringing your horse on holiday

Hoe Grange is a popular destination for those who want to bring their horse on holiday. Our stunning Peak District countryside is undulating and interesting to ride through. Trekking along you always want to discover what lies over the next hill or round the next bend.

You can stay in a cosy log cabin, a gorgeous glamping pod or even a vintage gypsy caravan – the choice is yours!

bring your horse on holiday

Riding holidays are a fabulous way of exploring the area, it’s amazing what you can see from the back of horse that you might miss when walking on foot or in a car.

10 reasons why bringing your horse to Hoe Grange is so popular!

  1. On arrival the tarmac  farmyard is large and ideal for unloading and there is plenty of space for manoeuvring. There’s no need to worry about reversing your trailer or parking your horse box.
  2. All 6 stables are sturdy and spacious with plenty of room for larger horses and are disinfected ready for your use.
  3. The farm is in a peaceful location and horses who arrive on holiday quickly settle in the grazing paddocks. There are two paddocks which can be split up into smaller areas with electric tape if you need to separate horses from one another.
  4. Your horse will love munching on our Hoe Grange hay – our meadows are sustainably managed and the grass is sweet.
  5. Tally ho! There is plenty of scope for a good gallop across the farm fields!
  6. As riders ourselves we know all the best riding routes and can help you make the most of your horsey holiday. We have some amazing off-road trails and bridleways. Unsurprisingly the most popular ride is over the hill to the pub for a pint!
  7. BHS Weclome HorsesHoe Grange Holidays is accredited with the British Horse Society Horses Welcome Scheme, which means you can book with confidence knowing that your horse will have 5 star accommodation! Also we only take one group of horses at a time which is better for infection control.
  8. After a long days riding you can relax back on the decking and watch your horses and ponies at play in the paddock – a real treat especially if your horse is at livery and not kept at home.
  9. FirepitHoe Grange is a great place for groups and we offer extra experiences for you all to enjoy. What better way to spend the evening than toasting marshmallows round the fire-pit, relaxing in the log-fired hot tub under the stars, or creating and cooking your own pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven?
  10. local produce delivered to your glamping podIf you want to self-cater you can order #LoveLocal Peak District groceries to be delivered to your log cabin or glamping pod ready for your arrival. Or if you fancy a complete break from the kitchen we know the best places to eat out. We can recommend some amazing local pubs – we’ve made it our mission to try them all out especially for you – it’s a hard life!

There are many more reasons to choose Hoe Grange Holidays if you want to bring your horse on holiday. If like Oliver and I you have joined the Your Horse #hack1000miles challenge you will definitely have the opportunity to clock up some extra miles during your holiday in the Derbyshire hills.

The Peak District is also quite hilly so your horse should go home really fit.

If you want to know more watch our video of Frequently Asked Questions on bringing your horse on holiday or contact us via email info@hoegrangeholidays.co.uk

Happy Hacking!

Felicity 

 

Save money on your holiday and book direct with us

Book Direct logoBooking your holiday direct with the owners is always the best way to make sure you get the cheapest deal and don’t pay over the odds. Most of our holiday guests book direct, but you may have found us on other websites such Trip Advisor or Air BnB.

Did you realise that by booking through these large OTAs, (Online Travel Agents), you could inadvertently be paying a lot more for your holiday?

7 Good reasons to book direct

Today 6th February 2019 is #BookDirect day – an international campaign to encourage guests to book directly with the owners of hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and glamping sites, because it is better for everyone!

We only have a relatively small marketing budget so many small businesses like ourselves have to advertise with the larger national and international accommodation websites to get our message out there.

1. The Best Price

It’s Simples! Our own website lists the best price for our log cabins and glamping pods – there is NO extra Booking Commission, NO Booking Fee and NO Service Fee Always book direct! Only this week a guest booked through one of the major OTAs and has unnecessarily paid 20% more for their holiday – they could have spent their money on a night out at our local pub!

Ye Olde Gate Inne Brassington

If you know the name of the accommodation, all it takes is a quick google search to find the website!!

2. Online Booking

Booking direct with us online only takes a few simple steps. It’s quick and easy and there are flexible payment options so you can pay by card or bank transfer.

3. Book with confidence

Your booking is immediately secured and you’ll get e-mail confirmation. We handle all of our booking details securely and will never pass your details on to third parties.

4. Cut the costs

As well as adding cost, booking with an Online Travel Agent adds an extra layer of complexity to your booking. Cutting out the middleman keeps everything simple and avoids any confusion. It also cuts down on the charges we have to pay so we can keep our prices competitive.

5. The little extras that make the difference

Our website is the only place you can find the full selection of offers, discounts, or extras to enhance your stay. You can book stabling for your horse, or treat yourself and book a log-fired hot tub, a pizza oven evening, or a firepit experience.

log-fired hot ub

6. Book with confidence

We have the best local knowledge of our special Peak District and can help you make the most of your stay in the Derbyshire hills. We can help you decide which log cabin best suits your needs, what specialist equipment is available, and organise a #LoveLocal delivery of delicious locally sourced groceries for when you arrive.

 

 

 

We want our guests to enjoy their stay and are happy to share the best dog-friendly places to visit, the most scenic horse routes, the best places to eat and the quirkiest local traditions such as Ashbourne Shrovetide. Communication is the key and something that you definitely don’t get when you book elsewhere!

7. No hidden charges

By booking direct you know exactly what is included, there are no hidden extras or nasty unexpected charges.

How Can You Help Spread the #BookDirect Word?
  1. Always book direct and encourage everyone you know to do the same
  2. When you get a great deal booking directly, TELL everyone about it
  3. Share our message using the #BookDirect hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms
Booking Direct with Hoe Grange Holidays

The good news is that most of our guests already book direct and therefore get the best deal! #BookDirect with us rather than through a third party and you can spend the money you save on enjoying yourself on your holiday!

We hope you find our online booking process easy, however you can email us at info@hoegrangeholidays.co.uk or if you prefer to chat in person just call us on 01629 540262.

Felicity 

How to be smart and save energy

Big Energy Saving Week starts today Monday 21 January 2019. This national campaign is designed to help people cut their energy bills and get the financial support they are entitled to.

#energysavingweek focuses on how you can save money on energy costs by switching energy supplier or tariff, and how to make your home more energy efficient. Whilst it’s really important to understand your energy bill so you can determine if you are getting the best deal, it’s the little things that can make a big difference to your energy consumption.

Smart Meters

Smart meterA good way to start is by having a Smart Meter which will tell you how much energy you’re using in near real time. It’s a really easy visual way of finding out what appliances, lighting and heating etc are using the most energy and the cost to you in pounds and pence (as well as kilowatt hours).

The Smart meter tracks trends over days, weeks or months so when you make changes you can see the results.

A Smart meter is a great incentive to make the effort to change lots of little habits that can make a big overall difference to your energy consumption.

Top 10 energy saving tips

Small changes can accumulate to make a big difference. Once you have made sure your house is well insulated and doors and windows are draught proof, you can make savings by following our top ten energy saving tips:

  1. Close doors, turn the central heating down a degree or two and wear a jumper!
  2. Close the bedroom curtains at dusk when it’s cold outside to stop heat escaping through windows – that way your room will be cosier come bedtime! Thermal curtains will minimise heat loss
  3. Bleed your radiators to make sure you’re getting the full amount of heat possible. If the top is colder than the bottom you should bleed your radiator.
  4. Turn off radiators in any rooms you’re not using. Why spend money on heating rooms you’re not in?
  5. Shut the front door – leaving the front door open whilst you bring in shopping or chit chat to a neighbour lets a lot of cold air in. Close the door in between bringing in the bags or invite people inside for a chat instead.
  6. Turn off the lights when you leave a room – saves around £14 per year
  7. Switch off electrical appliances when not in use. It’s amazing the amount of electricity used by the TV or computer monitor when left on standby. Also don’t forget to unplug your chargers and transformers. All those little power supplies to charge mobile phones, toothbrushes, and other personal gadgets are burning energy when they’re not in use.
  8. Only boil the amount of water you need – a full kettle uses a significant amount of energy costing around 2.5p. Another little saver is to put the lid on saucepans when bringing up to the boil. It not only saves energy, but also time!
  9. Be water wise – use a bowl instead of running the tap when washing up and see around a £25 saving per year. Knock one minute off your shower time and you could save £19 on energy and water bills!
  10. On bright days open the curtains to let the sunshine warm the house. Even in winter sunlight streaming through a window can increase the room temperature by several degrees. All that sunshine and looking out of our log cabins or glamping pods over the farm fields will cheer you up too!

Solar panels and wind turbine

Although we generate our own electricity using wind and solar technology we are still mindful of our energy usage. We hope you have found this blog useful and that our top ten energy tips will inspire you to make a few little extra changes – the devil is in the detail!

Green Tourism Gold AwardAt Hoe Grange Holidays we are proud to be Green Tourism and support their #energysaving campaign. As a Gold Award holder the sustainable measures we have in place ensure that when you stay with us in our spectacular #peakdistrict you will leave a lighter carbon footprint.

Felicity 

Four Shires Bloodhounds meet at Hoe Grange 2019

January weather is usually cold and frosty, but this winter has been extremely mild and dry. However, the weather last Sunday for The Four Shires Bloodhounds meet here at Hoe Grange was extremely wild and windy!

Four Shires Bloodhounds

The Four Shires Bloodhound Hunt is so called as it covers the shires of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire. It attracts riders of all abilities and ages who enjoy cross country riding whilst tracking the scent of a human runner. Welcoming all, the hunt have a second field for novices and less confident riders who prefer to take the course gently or avoid the jumps.

The Hounds

Did you know that Bloodhounds have a highly developed sense of smell, up to 800 times great than other dogs? That is why they make such superb hunting animals. Bloodhounds were originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar, and since the Middle Ages for tracking people. This breed is famed for its ability to distinguish human scent over great distances, even days later.

Four Shires Bloodhounds

However the forceful cross winds on Sunday meant the scent of the runners drifted and the hounds were working quite wide of the trail. Things were a little chaotic at times as the hounds couldn’t hear the huntsmen calling them either!

On the top fields of our farm it was quite difficult to stay upright on your feet – I don’t know how the riders stayed on their horses – horses tails, hounds ears, riders jackets and hat covers were flapping and flying about!

Master Huntsman Chris Kane had trouble gathering the pack together on the tops but was ably assisted by his wife Deb and the other Whipper-Ins.

Four Shires hunt

 

The Quarry

The human runner or “quarry” was Paddy Wright who is a Derbyshire Cross Country Champion and fitness instructor. Being a runner over our hilly Peak District terrain is not for the faint hearted and you certainly need to be extremely fit to keep ahead of the hounds!

This year Paddy was joined by Tom Ough, a journalist from the Daily Telegraph, who drew the short straw; his editors wanted an article on what it is really liked to be chased by a pack of hounds!

Tom’s experience is to be featured in The Telegraph next Sunday – I wonder if he will mention losing his trainer – the mud in Derbyshire can be extremely sticky!Runner

 

Hunting with bloodhounds is often referred to as hunting the “clean boot”, although the runners shoes are definitely far from clean by the end of the day!

Tom was nervous about being caught by the pack, but he needn’t have worried. Bloodhounds are large but very gentle-natured and despite their name the runner suffers nothing more than a few licks!

bloodhounds catch runner

The cross country course

The course averages 12 or 15 miles and is a pre-planned route so that the hunt can avoid worrying sheep and cattle or damaging crops. The runner can also adapt the route if he spots any unforeseen dangers. The route is split up into shorter sections called lines to allow the huntsmen to collect the hounds and the runner to get ahead.

People often think that Bloodhounds started being used after the ban on fox hunting. This is certainly not the case. The Bloodhounds have been hunting across the Derbyshire countryside for many years. The famous Mitford sisters enjoyed hunting and it is only fitting that Duchess of Devonshire is the current President of the Four Shires Bloodhounds.

I didn’t ride Oliver this year as he gets over excited with so many horses and the baying hounds – hounds, horses and humans all love a good day out in the countryside as you can see from the photos on our Facebook page.

The video below explains more about the Four Shires Bloodhounds and how Ellie from Countryfile also found being the human quarry a tough job!

Felicity 

I don’t function without coffee!!!

Anyone who knows me well will be aware that I run on coffee and chocolate. In fact coffee is so important we have even had our own blend created for us by artisan producers Andrew and Deirdre from Peak Bean.Peak Bean Coffee logo

I first met Deirdre on a fact finding tour of Scandinavia a few years ago, during which we toured a local coffee roasting house. She said then that it was something she and Andrew were looking to do in Derbyshire. A couple of years later they launched Peak Bean and began to produce high quality fresh coffee. We met with them and after a few samples and experimental blends hit upon what we have called “Rich Rainster Roast”, a blend of Arabica beans sourced from Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica as unfortunately no one has yet started to grow coffee beans in Derbyshire!!Hoe Grange Coffee in your welcome pack

We leave sachets of our Rich Rainster Roast in the cabins, pods and gypsy caravan as part of our welcome pack and have further supplies available to purchase in our little shop, all in handy 42 gram sachets, I myself have a bean to cup machine with an IV line for direct infusion and so buy the same beans, unground, in handy 1kg bags, which don’t last very long at all!.

Birdhouse Tea Blue John blend

 

If Coffee is not you drink of choice we also stock Birdhouse Tea blended in Sheffield. They produce such delights as “Blue John” a blend of Assam and Darjeeling with cornflower petals, Part of their Peak District collection inspired by Britain’s first national park. ” home to wild and wonderful landscapes, impressive peaks and picture postcard English villages. Blue John is a celebration of the underground wonderlands of Castleton and the semi-precious mineral mined only in the Peak District”

David