Category Archives: Local

Will you marry me? Ice cream yes!!

If you love to shop you’re in for a surprise!

After a long wait our new little on site shop is now open for business, situated next to our new reception near the farmhouse. We are proud to stock some fabulous #LoveLocal Peak District goodies, including Coldeaton Ice Cream. Over the next few posts we will be highlighting some of our amazing artisan suppliers.

Todays featured artisan product is Coldeaton Jersey Ice Cream made locally on a farm near Ashbourne. The Peak District isn’t the seaside, but who can resist ice cream when you’re on holiday and the sun is shining?

Jersey cows

As farmers ourselves we have known the Stubbs family for generations and Jo Stubbs (sorry – now Burrows!) and husband Alex, produce the most amazing ice cream churned from milk from their own prize winning herd of Jersey cows.

Coldeaton Ice CreamWe stock a wide range of flavors, my favourite is the white chocolate and raspberry, where as Felicity is a mint choc chip girl. Other popular flavours are the chocolate indulgence and you can’t beat the plain Just Jersey Gold. Sold in handy 120ml pots with its own little spoon, perfect for a little treat any time of the day!

Jo, Alex and family are well known in the farming world as their pedigree Jersey cows win many major prizes at local agricultural shows. However in 2015 they hit the national press when Alex proposed in a very romantic and unusual way!

Jersey cow proposalAlex made a red blanket for their prize winning Jersey cow with the words “Will you marry me?”on one side, so when the Champion cow came into the show ring for the Grand Parade everyone could see, before he dropped down on one knee to officially propose in front of the huge crowd. This fabulous photo was captured by Ruth Downing of Rural Pictures.

It’s one of the most unusual proposals I have heard of and luckily Jo said YES! The couple now apply as much passion to making their delicious ice cream. Why not try some when you come to stay?

Hoe Grange shop What’s in the Shop

In the shop we currently stock Peak District Dairy milk, butter, and cream in the fridge. From the freezer Coldeaton Jersey ice cream, bacon, sausage, burgers, black pudding and Derbyshire Oatcakes, all frozen in handy pack sizes. Some basics including ground coffee, porridge pots, rapeseed oils and our own eggs when the girls are laying.

You might also like to buy a small present or two to take home with you from our selection of crafts, cards and watercolour prints. We are always on the lookout for other things to add to our stock, and would love to hear if you have any suggestions of things you think we should add.

There’s only one problem with stocking such scrumptious ice cream in the shop – we keep eating it!

David

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

12 gifts of Christmas inspired by The Peak District

Christmas is coming so we thought you might like some help with gift ideas for your loved ones. Here is our own handpicked selection of the 12 gifts of Christmas inspired by our unique Peak District landscape.

We #LoveLocal and are sure you will be inspired by this years Christmas selection. As tomorrow is Small Business Saturday it is an ideal opportunity to support small independent businesses and shop local.

12 gifts of Christmas Inspired by The Peak District.

1. Those boots are made for walking…

Guided walks with Cath LeeGet your walking boots on and enjoy all the Peak District countryside has to offer by taking a guided walk with Cath Lee of Peak Walking Adventures, whose local knowledge and fascinating facts will bring the experience to life. Don’t worry  you won’t get lost as Cath will do the navigation so you don’t have to!

An ideal way to make the most of your holiday while staying at Hoe Grange as Cath caters for couples, friends, families, and small groups.Cath is as passionate about caring for our special landscape as we are and also holds the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark.

2. Woollen Knits

Hand knitted hats, gloves and bagsOn your walks wrap up warm with Sally’s range of hats, gloves, scarves and accessories, which are hand knitted and felted using soft luxurious wool from her pedigree flock of Icelandic sheep. Another amazing Peak District Environmental Quality Mark member.

knitted cushions Or brighten up your home with vibrant cushions, and throws in a rich palette of seasonal colours which reflect the very special character of the Peak District; calming greys, brought to life by rich purple blues and zingy Spring green. If you are crafty and creative Dewsnaps Woollens also sell knitting kits so you can knit and natter yourself at home.

3. Capture the countryside in a click

Photographer Guy BadhamMake the most of your walk and take home some special memories captured on camera. Guy Badham offers personalised training days to de-mystify your camera, giving you the confidence to use it more creatively.

Whether you’re a complete beginner keen to learn the basics, or a more experienced photographer, Guy can help you capture our stunning Peak District landscape and wildlife as you walk and talk. At just £100 per day for a single adult or £150 for up to three adults, it makes the perfect Christmas gift.

4. Add a little sparkle

Horse pendentAs you trek through the countryside you might see a hare or a deer? Lucy creates unique and beautiful jewellery inspired by the Peak District landscape and wildlife, myths and folktales.  In her  Lucy Palmer Jewellery collection you will find a magical world of enchanted forests, mysterious creatures, and far away places.

Her beautifully intricate designs are cut in precious metals and often layered to give a three dimensional, miniature stage set effect. Decorative techniques embellish the surface, including ‘Keum Boo’, an ancient Korean technique of fusing 24ct (pure) gold foil to silver. My favourite is of course the beautiful horse pendent. If you’re looking for that extra special sparkle Lucy also takes on commission work.

5. Wonderful in wood

wooden bowlWhilst out in the woods you’ll see many a tree – the raw material for local wood turner Matthew, who creates beautiful bowls, plates, and objets d’art. It’s great to know that Matthew at Woodturning at Christmas Cottage uses mainly local woods from sustainable Peak District sources, and doesn’t waste a thing as he uses the off cuts to create smaller items such as light pulls, tops, wedges, and pendants.

Wood is so wonderfully tactile and we particularly love the new kitchen graters with a wooden bowl, which are both practical and pleasing to the eye. A perfect gift for any masterchefs in the making!

6. Tasty treats

After your wonderful walks why not give your dog a tasty treat and pamper your pooch with Marge and Mabel’s homemade dog treats? These healthy treats are created using fine human-grade ingredients (no added salt, sugar, preservatives, colourings or flavourings) and are a firm favourite with our chocolate Labradors Twix and Crunchy!

Dog treatsThe range of delicious doggy treats include a selection of sweet and savory muffins, biscuits and cakes and all of which come presented in beautiful packaging, an ideal Christmas present for your four-legged best friend! We love the fact that wherever possible ingredients are sourced locally, eg meat from the local butcher, flour from Caldwell’s Mill and organic fruit and vegetables from the local grocer.Treats can also be baked to order depending on any specific nutritional or health needs your dog may have.

7. More cheese Gromit

Once your dog is happily tucking into his treats you can tickle your taste buds with some delicious local Cow Close Farm Cheese. Farmers Sophie and James Summerlin, a husband and wife team, are passionate about cheese. All their artisan cheeses are produced by hand, from milk sourced from a single herd of local cows near Hathersage.

Cow Close Farm cheese

The cheese’s distinctive shape is definitely inspired by the Peak District and echos the many millstones found throughout the area . It is kept as simple and as natural as possible, and has the most delicious creamy taste. It can be purchased locally or online from The Old Cheese Shop in Hartington, (another Peak District EQM business) along with other local Derbyshire cheeses such as Dovedale Blue and Peakland White, or can be ordered in your holiday grocery pack from Sauced Here.

8. The perfect cuppa

grinding coffeeAfter romping through the Derbyshire hills you can then put your feet up with a cup of Full Moon Coffee. Coffee brings happiness and there’s nothing better than enjoying a mug whilst catching up with good friends, not to mention how it can round off that great meal perfectly.

Full Moon Coffee is carefully blended and roasted to perfection locally in Wirksworth, using 100% Fairtrade, Arabica goodness. The guys at Full Moon Coffee are passionate about getting your brew just right. They realise that the ritual of preparing your cup is an important part of getting everything spot on, and so have created tasting notes to help you select the right roast.

9. Do you crave chocolate?

What goes better with coffee than chocolate? David certainly wouldn’t let me create a Christmas gift list without including chocolate !

Holdsworths ChocolatesHoldsworth Chocolates made in Bakewell are a delicious treat. In 1988 Barbara Holdsworth started making chocolates to her own unique recipes, and expanded by training her own chocolatiers how to make her tempting treats. Truly scrumptious is the only way to describe these chocolates, which are created using sweet cream butter and Belgium couverture, before liqueurs, spirits, fruit purees or praline pastes are added to create a delicious flavoured centre. (not that I ever get a taste if there is a box around as David is a chocoholic!)

Now run by Barbara’s daughter Genevieve, Holdsworth Chocolates have become Britain’s best-selling entirely handmade chocolates, and are stocked at fine food halls throughout the country.

10. Vintage tours
Vintage Car Tours of the Peak District
Vintage Car Tours from the door

If walking is not your thing, then take a tour with a difference. Steve White offers tours of the Peak District in a vintage 1929 Ford model A. The only vintage car registered as a taxi in the UK.

Steve (dressed up not unlike Mr Toad) is geared up to guide you through the landscape in style. You can take in the scenery when stopping off for a picnic or a cream tea, or even a local ale or two if that is what you fancy. Our suggested tour is Train Tracks and Troglodytes as it covers our very local area and you could even pick up your cheese on route!

11. Friends of Peak District

Friends of the Peak District logoHelping protect all the stunning sights Steve will show you on your vintage tour is the wonderful charity Friends of the Peak District. What better way to support our special Peak District landscape than buying a gift membership?

This organisation will inspire your loved one to help keep our special place special, as well as helping to pay for all the good work being done behind the scenes. You even get a Peak District Calendar as well as discounted entry to some of the top local attractions. Have a look here to see what benefits your membership will give.

12. Wrap it with style

Personalised gift wrapping Snowflake wreathOnce you’ve bought your Christmas presents why not make a little extra effort to wrap them beautifully too? Lyn at Caltonberry helps you celebrate the little things in life as well as the milestones with a beautiful range of porcelain gift tags, decorations and personalised ribbons with a contemporary look. As an alternative to the traditional Christmas wreath we love the willow wreath with porcelain snowflakes – simply stunning!

If you’re still stuck for ideas you could always buy your loved one a Hoe Grange Holidays Voucher to come and stay next year and share our special place. Available from £50 upwards – just e-mail us at info@hoegrangeholidays.co.uk.

Hoe Grange Gift VoucherYou can relax in the hot tub, de-stress in the sauna. You could also visit all the fabulous businesses mentioned in this blog and perhaps get ahead by starting next years Christmas shopping early!

Derbyshire has a wealth of artisan producers, so for further inspiration you can read previous years Top 10 gifts inspired by The Peak District 2015 and Christmas Gifts 2016. For more interesting and unusual ideas visit Made in Derbyshire and Peak District Environmental Quality Mark businesses – happy shopping!

Felicity

Porsche tour of the Peak District – Part one

In celebration of English Tourism Week, #etw2017, we wanted to showcase some of our local Peak District area highlights and what better way to do it than touring in a powerful Porsche!

Porsche at CarsingtonThe soft purr of the 6 cylinder engine as we gently ease out of the farm yard followed by the deep throated roar as we accelerate down the drive – what a sound! Vroom and we are off in our Peak Performance Hire Porsche Boxster for an exciting tour of the scenic Peak District countryside.

Smoothly winding up the snaking hills, the top down, wind blowing through our hair, the feeling of freedom is exhilarating.The silver grey Porsche blended into the misty grey clouds as we approached Dovedale and drove down to Ilam village.

Porsche car

Ilam

Arriving at Ilam Park we didn’t have time to stop for long, but it is worth exploring the ancient semi-natural woodland — Hinkley Wood — designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), noted for its small-leaved and large-leaved limes. You can pack a picnic or there is an excellent tea room and you can leave the car and take a walk along the valley to the famous Stepping Stones at Dovedale.Ilam Our Porsche tour continues with slick speed it’s not long before we reach the picturesque village of Hartington.

Hartington Youth HostelThis magnificent 17th Century manor house, complete with oak paneling and enormous fire places is now an amazing youth hostel.

In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie, also known as The Young Pretender, is reputed to have stayed at Hartington Hall. He would have arrived using horsepower, but not a Porsche!! Having reached Derbyshire the lack of support Charles and his army had expected from English Jacobites forced them to turn back!

Hartington villageAlthough a dull day we were still able to tour with the top down, especially as the heated seats kept you warm!

Hartington is an iconic traditional Peak District village with stunning stone buildings and a duck pond.  Famous for its cheese production Hartington offers visitors the chance to discover a real taste of the Peak District with many of the shops, pubs and tea rooms serving local foods.We #LoveLocal and stopped off at The Village Stores for a freshly brewed coffee.

Hartington Village StoresHartington village fascinating facts:
  • Cheese, along with oatcakes and ale has been the staple diet of Derbyshire folk for centuries – and not only in the `snap-tins’ of the lead miners! Roman legions carried cheese to supplement them on their long marches across the county two thousand years ago.
  • Later, during the Middle Ages cheese was traded at local markets throughout the county, with Hartington being the first to be granted a Market Charter in 1203 by William De Ferres.
  • Almost every farmhouse in the Peak District would at one time have made it’s own cheese and sold it at the local market. However in 1870’s the Duke of Devonshire founded The Cheese Factory at Hartington. The Cremery was one of the three sources of Stilton, and also produced its own unique Dovedale cheese and others such as Buxton Blue cheese.
  • Whilst a market hasn’t been held for many years Hartington’s past wealth and importance is clearly visible in the form of impressive stone cottages and large houses around the village square. The many ancient roads and trackways that still meet in the village provide some fabulous walking routes.Old Cheese shop Hartington
  • The factory was closed in 2009 after being sold by Dairy Crest, but cheese production was restarted in the parish in 2012 with the traditional Peakland White, Peakland Blue, and Stilton now available from The Old Hartington Cheese Shop in the middle of the village by the duck pond. Plenty of space to pull up and park your Porsche!
  • Did you know  it takes 70 litres of milk to produce a traditional 16lb Stilton cheese? That is an average cows milk production for 2 days!

Hartington CheeseOur Peak District Tour to be continued…

In the meantime why not hire a Porsche from Peak Performance Hire and take your own tour? It’s not as expensive as you think and Liam can suggest suitable Peak District routes.

Felicity

A taste of the Peak District delivered to your door

As from previous blog posts you know that at Hoe Grange we #LoveLocal and support other local businesses where ever we can. David and I relish discovering local artisan producers so that as our guests you can enjoy all the Peak District has to offer whilst on your holiday.

Why do we #LoveLocal?

#LoveLocal enables our guests to

  • experience the real Peak District traditions, flavours and produce
  • discover artisan producers, who often create unique products
  • save food miles, which reduces your carbon footprint
  • have confidence in field to fork trace-ability – local farmers can tell you how animals are reared and crops are grown and harvested
  • eat seasonal produce which is packed full of flavour as nature intended
  • support local producers, which in turn helps protect our distinctive Peak District landscape
  • boosts the local economy, which helps sustain artisan businesses
Holiday shopping delivered to your door

Our latest #LoveLocal find is Sauced Here – an ethical online shopping service – all the advantages of a supermarket delivery right to your cabin door ready for your self-catering holiday, but all the benefits of locally produced artisan quality goods.

groceries from Sauced HereWee Dram WhiskeyBeef from New Close FarmSauced Here will deliver your groceries in one flexible delivery from carefully selected top purveyors in the area. Luke of Sauced Here has done the hard work sourcing high quality artisan products for you and they have everything covered from the basics such as Bloomers Bakery and Peak District Dairy, to luxury items such as Holdsworth Chocolates and Wee Dram Whiskey.

Cheese from Cow Close FarmWhere a suitable local product is unavailable an alternative is sourced through the network of independent retailers rather than major supermarkets.

Ready Meals
Ready meals
Luke photographing Stella’s ready meals

Everyone deserves to relax and take time out whilst on holiday. If you want to have a break from the kitchen Sauced Here also offers homemade prepared meals, created from locally sourced produce. The meals are delicious and free from artificial preservatives and extra sugar and salt.

Book a delivery slot to your cabin now.

About Sauced Here

The early inspiration for Sauced Here, like all good ideas arose out of need. Luke Osborne went on a self-catering weekend with a group of friends. They booked a cottage in the countryside and organised for an online supermarket delivery for when they arrived.

Luke and friends then spent the next day kicking themselves as they discovered all the amazing shops in the local village and wished they had waited to buy the local produce on offer. The group felt they had missed out due to lack of local knowledge and a need for convenience.

butchers shop

From that day on Luke started to notice how many great local businesses in his home town of Bakewell were closing down and wondered whether they were being passed by for similar reasons. Thus Sauced Here was born, and we are delighted to support this new innovative enterprise.

Sauced Here logo Luke’s ethos fits in beautifully with our own Eco philosophy. Luke’s mission is to source only the best of the local Peak District area – the best being defined by great taste, traceable origins and products created with passion.

So now you can start shopping for your holiday safe in the knowledge that you are helping to care for the stunning Peak District landscape which you enjoy during your stay at Hoe Grange.

Bon Appétit!

Felicity

14 things to do for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

Hoe Grange is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a “mini-moon”. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in style in one of our cosy log cabins or gorgeous glamping pods, where you are never far from the romance of nature’s beauty.

Here are 14 romantic things for couples to do in our stunning Peak District …

1. Stroll through the snowdrops

Stroll hand in hand through a white carpet of snowdrops at Hopton Hall gardens.

snowdrops at Hopton HallHopton Hall can trace its roots back to the 1400’s when it boasted an estate of 3,700 acres, some of which now stands under the Carsington Reservoir.

The beautiful gardens and woodland walks have been restored over the last 10 years resulting in stunning displays of snowdrops and aconites. On your wonderful Valentine’s Day walk you’ll be able to see the first signs of Spring peeping through. Then warm up with a tasty bowl of hearty soup or hot chocolate – we can highly recommend the delicious cakes.

Valentine's Day flowers2. Red Roses

Say it with flowers – well Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete with some traditional red roses! Freedom Flowers at Wirksworth have a fabulous selection of roses, and beautiful blooms, with added extras such as Salt Kiss beer, local chocolates and more –  you can also order online.

3. Chocolates

For the chocoholic in your life celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving some delicious handmade Holdsworth Chocolates?

handmade chocolatesBarbara Holdsworth began making chocolates to her own unique recipes in 1988, and expanded by training her own chocolatiers how to make her tempting treats. These scrumptious chocolates are created using sweet cream butter and Belgium couverture, before liqueurs, spirits, fruit purees or praline pastes are added to create a delicious flavoured centre.

Situated in Bakewell and now run by Barbara’s daughter Genevieve, Holdsworth Chocolates are stocked at fine food halls throughout the country and have become Britain’s best-selling entirely handmade chocolates.

4. Watch the sunset

Relax in the pure warm water of our Swedish log-fired hot tub and watch as the sunsets over the hill. Discover complete peace, tranquillity, and togetherness with this truly #Hygge experience. For that extra special touch for Valentine’s Day you will find scented rose petals scattered in the warm water.

5. Wow! what a view
Just the 2 of you!
Just the 2 of you!

Wake up in one of our gorgeous glamping pods to a stunning view of the undulating Peak District landscape from your pillow – what could be more romantic than that! Take time out and reconnect to nature by watching the hens, sheep, cows and wonderful wildlife as they scamper around.

6. Relaxing spa day

My Personal Sanctuary treatmentsLife is about sharing experiences – what better way to say “I love you” than to pamper your partner with a relaxing spa day whilst on holiday in your cosy log cabin or gorgeous glamping pod? The professional and friendly My Personal Sanctuary therapists use only the very best techniques and bring everything to your cabin, including wonderful organic products to nurture your body, mind and soul.

The added benefit is that you can make the most of your Valentine’s treatment by simply continuing to relax without having to get up and drive anywhere.

7. Discover Dovedale

Put a spring back in your step and skip across the famous stepping stones at Dovedale. Put in place in the middle of the 19th century, the stepping stones have long been a romantic attraction for visitors to the Peak District. See if you can spot the fossils in the stones as you cross over them.

stepping stones at DovedaleDovedale is the section of the Dove valley between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud. The River Dove flows through this remarkable limestone gorge and is flanked by steep cliffs, with numerous caves and rock pillars, including the spectacular Ilam Rock. The best view of the valley is from the top of the iconic Thorpe Cloud. Why not follow this circular Dovedale walk and take a picnic with you?

8. Capture the moment

Capture those special moments with a professional photo shoot with Ruth Downing of Rural Pictures – as you can see from this montage the stunning scenery in Dovedale really does make a fantastic romantic backdrop.

Dovedale photo shoot9. Take a trip on our tandem

tandem bicycleDo you look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two? Why not give it a go and hire our vintage tandem to cycle along the High Peak Trail?

You get some fabulous views from the trail; cycling with two takes a little getting used to but it’s great fun once you get the hang of it – you definitely have to work together in harmony!

10. View Vintage Adventure Tour

If you want to take things easy, sit back and experience the Peak District National Park in real style. Discover new places and fabulous views from the majestic 1929 vintage tourer. Take a tour straight from your cabin door and try out the Winter Warmer run, with hot water bottles and warm blankets at the ready, stopping off at local pubs to toast yourselves in front of roaring fires with a beer in hand.

Vintage Car Tours of the Peak District
Vintage Car Tours from the door

Your friendly Vintage Adventure Tours driver Steven will share his local knowledge of our wonderful Peak District to give you an unforgettable experience.

11. Porsche and picnic

If the man in your life is more into modern sports cars then you can hire a Porche Boxster to tour the many delights that Derbyshire has to offer. You can have the perfect pit stop as Peak Performance Hire are now offering a Valentine’s Day hamper packed full of flavours of the Peak District from #LoveLocal artisan producers and put together by Sauced Here.

Porsche picnic hearts

12. Romantic dinner for two

For the ultimate fine dinning experience to celebrate Valentine’s Day whisk your loved one away to Fischer’s at Baslow. This beautiful old Derbyshire manor house has a tranquil feel and you can cosy up in front of a log fire before indulging in the Kitchen Tasting Bench experience.

Fischer's restaurantThis is the ultimate front-row seat in a busy, Michelin Star kitchen, where you can observe the chefs creating their award winning Taste of Britain dishes from local and homegrown seasonal ingredients before your very eyes.

13. Rekindle romance

Don’t let the light dim – rekindle your romance by candlelight with a beautiful wax hurricane candle. These distinctive handmade candles created locally in Tissington by Annie at On A Wick and a Prayer will light up your life, and let your love glow.

hurricane canldles
14. Precious jewellery

Love is a precious thing to be treasured just like the rare Blue John stone that is unique to the Derbyshire Peak District. Blue John is Britain’s rarest mineral, first discovered at Castleton by the Romans almost 2000 years ago.

Blue John necklaceThe distinctive Blue John Stone is the most prized ornamental variety of Flurospa (Calcium Fluoride).  The definite banded veins of colour running through it creates unique and beautiful light reflecting patterns. It is so delicate that it is mined by hand to avoid damaging the structure of the stone.

C.W. Sellors of Ashbourne use Blue John to handcraft the most amazingly beautiful jewellery using this unique precious stone – who wouldn’t melt if they were given a Blue John heart on 14th February for Valentine’s Day?

The Peak District is full of fun, exciting things to do and see. I had a tough job picking just 14 ideas and could easily have added many more to my list! If you stay in our award winning log cabins we can share more of our #LoveLocal knowledge with you to make your holiday truly memorable.

Felicity  

Christmas Gifts inspired by The Peak District

Christmas is just round the corner so to help you get Christmas all wrapped up we have handpicked some gorgeous gift ideas inspired by our beautiful Peak District – things that are produced locally here in the Derbyshire hills, some of which are utterly unique!

We #LoveLocal and are sure you will be inspired by our Christmas selection

Top 10 Christmas gifts

1. Pet Pawtraits

Rural Pictures pet portraitOur pets hold a special place in our hearts. Why not capture your pet to perfection with a “pawtrait” from local photographer Ruth Downing? Ruth of Rural Pictures is used to working with animals, and has a wealth of experience in producing fabulous pet portraits and action shots. You can even arrange for Ruth to come to Hoe Grange during your holiday stay so you can take some special memories home with you.

2. Dovedale Ceramics

Beautiful handcrafted ceramics from On a Wick and a Prayer at Tissington uses clear water from the Dovedale River over the glaze. The minerals in the water react when the pottery is fired in the kiln giving each piece a unique distinctive pattern.

Dovedale ceramics
3. Upcycled lights and furniture

upcycled lampLet a little light brighten up your home! Upcycled Creative specialise in making funky, functional, upcycled lights and furniture. Upcycling is the art of transforming unwanted items into something better and more beautiful, it’s kinder to the environment than recycling, and the only limitation is imagination! These bright sparks don’t just recycle, and reuse, they go one step further and relove, renew, and repurpose.

 4. Landscape art
Peak District landscape in felt
Higger Tor from Stanage Edge

Carrie of English Tilly creates gorgeous felt art decorations and accessories, using naturally-dyed, rare-breed fleece from Whitefaced Woodland sheep. Much of her inspiration comes from the ever changing colours and textures of the Derbyshire Peak District. Living and working in the Peak District, Carrie is as passionate about caring for our special landscape as we are and also holds the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark.

 

5. Beautiful bespoke wooden pieces

wooden candle holder

If you are looking for something unusual Ingrained create beautiful bespoke wooden pieces for the home, from quirky, simple designs, such as their fun, frosty snowmen and Christmas decorations, to unusual candle holders, lamps, and stunning statement pieces. The starting point and inspiration for each piece is the natural shape of the tree.

wooden light
6. Natural handmade soaps and bath products

handmade soapGet all scrubbed up with some gorgeous soaps from Coconuct Blush, handmade with natural olive oil, and mositurising shea butter and scented with pure essential oils. Jane sources sustainable ingredients and particularly avoids using palm oil from felled rainforest. If you’ve stayed with us you will have received our Coconut Blush lavender gift pack. For the avid gardener why not give the Gardener’s Tea Tree exfoliating soap & hand balm set? There is free delivery on orders over £20 until 31st December.

7. Drive the Peak in a Porsche

Finding the right Christmas gift for the man in your life can be challenging – however if that certain person is a car enthusiast, and over the age of 25, why not consider hiring a Porsche Boxster from Peak Performance Hire? What could be better than fresh country air and the wind through your hair!

Porsche car hireEnjoy complete freedom of planning your own tour, or take a recommended route with historic towns, independent coffee shops and restaurants, picturesque roads and vantage point stops for photos. Daily hire starts from £210, including fully comprehensive insurance.

8. Silver jewellery

More imaginative upcycling and renewing from Dandelion Silver, just a couple of miles up the road in Brassington village. Gorgeous jewellery for the woman in your life; from pendents, earrings, rings and bracelets to bespoke commissions.

silver jewelleryDandelion Silver love nothing more than taking forgotten and neglected vintage and antique cutlery and giving them a new lease of life as stunning pieces of designer jewellery.

9. Fresh Roasted Coffee

There’s nothing like the fresh smell of coffee. Peak Bean was born out of a love for coffee. Coffee that brings a smile to someone’s face. Like first brew in the morning that helps start the day on the right foot. And enjoying a mug whilst catching up with good friends, not to mention how it can round off that great meal perfectly. Coffee brings happiness.

roasted coffee

Deidra and Andrew of Peak Bean are artisan producers, roasting small batches of ethically sourced coffee beans and creating blends that burst with freshness, flavour and really hit the spot. You can order direct from the Peak Bean, straight to your door, or sample our smooth Hoe Grange blend on your next stay with us!

10. Holiday Voucher

And last but by no means least, buy your loved one a Hoe Grange Holidays Voucher to come and stay next year and share our special place. Available from £50 upwards – just e-mail us at info@hoegrangeholidays.co.uk.

Hoe Grange Gift VoucherYou can relax in the hot tub, de-stress in the sauna. You could also visit all the fabulous businesses mentioned in this blog and perhaps get ahead by starting next years Christmas shopping early!

Derbyshire has a wealth of artisan producers, so for further inspiration you can read last years Top 10 gifts inspired by The Peak District, or there are lots more interesting and unusual ideas from Made in Derbyshire and Peak District Environmental Quality Mark businesses – happy shopping!

Felicity

A trip to Hartington Village

Hartington Village

The quaint village of Hartington is just a 15-20 minute car journey through the rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales. Alternatively you can cycle along the High Peak Trail, cross over the A515 and drop downhill to the village.

We spent a lazy afternoon wandering around Hartington to help you to plan a day out whilst you stay at Hoe Grange Holidays – the things we have to do for our guests!.

The first thing we discovered; Hartington was the first village in Derbyshire to be granted permission to hold a weekly market in 1203, selling locally made goods and farm animals, and we certainly got a sense of that as we walked around the village.

Hartington Village signpostAs it was a weekday, we parked in the Market Place for free, although on a weekend it may be pretty busy, so there’s a larger car park (chargable) too.

Hartington tea roomWe made a beeline for the Beresford Tearooms and Post Office (next to The Devonshire Arms pub) because we’d heard they have home-cooked traditional food. The Pumpkin & Spice soup accompanied with a ½ baguette (£6.50), and the Country Vegetable soup with a cheese scone (£4.95) were hearty and filling. Somehow we resisted the tempting scones with clotted cream and jam!

We took a circular, anti-clockwise route around Hartington, noting the village newsagents, St Giles Church (which dates back to the 1200s) and the Village Hall.

Village stores at HartingtonThe next shop to take our fancy was The Village Stores an old building packed to the rafters with local produce. We always #LoveLocal, and this store sells an amazing selection of local meats, fruit, vegetables, beers, wines and spirits, hot pies and hot drinks to take away.

To make your holiday hassle free you can even pre-order a basket of goodies, or a BBQ pack, from The Village Stores before your stay at Hoe Grange Holidays, and pick them up when convenient.

Hartington Village StoresThe next shop along our trail was Hart of the Country, a real countryside shop with walking sticks, sheepskin rugs, handbags, postcards, sweets, you name it they probably sell it! Ideal for all those little gifts to take home for family and friends.

You simply can’t visit Hartington without calling into The Old Cheese Shop. The cheese factory in the village used to make ¼ of the World’s Stilton cheese until 2009 – luckily this shop still exists, selling English artisan cheeses, including Dovedale Blue and Peakland White which is made at Pikehall, just a few miles from Hoe Grange. You have to cross the threshold and take a big sniff, the aroma is wonderful!

Hartington cheese shopMatilda Bay was calling us from the other side of the village, so we had to obey, and what a lovely shop of treasures, cards, coasters, gifts, jewellery all displayed with care and precision. Next door is the Antique Shop, which on this occasion we didn’t venture into, so we hot footed it down to the Farm Shop around the corner (Public Toilets available here).

Hartington farm shopvisitor informationThere’s a warm welcome at The Farm Shop, plenty of great produce, gifts, handmade crafts and a very sweet tearoom in the rear. There’s also a wall of Tourist Information leaflets by the cafe counter – which was the perfect place to plan our next Peak District National Park adventures!

How can I get to Hartington?

The village lies within a triangle of Buxton (to the north), Leek (to the West) and Ashbourne (to the South East.) You can drive, or catch a bus from Buxton, Ashbourne, Bakewell or Chesterfield. Or you can cycle along the High Peak Trail from Hoe Grange.

What’s on?

Hartington is known for special events, such as the unusual art of Well Dressings, the Hartington Wakes (traditional agricultural show), the Oddfellows March (a local friendly society) Hartington Sports Day (family fun for all ages), a Secret Garden Trail and the Royal British Legion hold annual events too.

So much to do in the Derbyshire Peak District you’ll need to stay with us for at least a week!

Felicity

A day out at Bakewell Market

To market, to market to buy a fat pig, home again from Bakewell market, jiggety-jig!

cows with calfOur holiday guests love to see the calves running around the farm fields with their mothers in the Spring, but let’s not forget the farm animals are here for a reason. Ours is a beef herd and the calves grow up to be 500kg of glorious Derbyshire prime beef.

As the “suckler” cows graze freely in open fields we sell our young animals at about 16 -20 months old before they are fully grown. They then go onto specialist finishing units who feed them up and put the meat on them ready for slaughter. This is the most cost effective way for us to farm in the Derbyshire hills as it is too rocky and high up to grow corn or other fodder crops.

Selling cows at Market

Our animals are sold at auction in Bakewell Market just 9 miles down the road. The livestock market was redeveloped in the late 1990’s and is now one of England’s largest. Incredibly the market dates back earlier than 1330, at which time the people of Bakewell claimed to have had a market from time immemorial!

Bakewell town’s name comes from Badecanwylla, mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, which can be translated as Badeca’s Well after the town’s springs and an Anglo-Saxon chieftain.

To slim down our herd so we have fewer cattle to keep over the winter we recently sold 10 youngsters in one sale and 10 more a couple of weeks later. The cows get sorted into small groups of matching sizes so they stay with their friends, which is less stressful. The price the purchaser bids is per head, and as an inducement to attract the best price it is traditional to offer a little luck money with the cattle – which is why you can see me waving money about!

Watching the auction is fascinating and Bakewell Market is open to the public so you can also go in and watch the action. But be careful to keep your hands still and don’t catch the auctioneers eye, or you may be going home with a pet cow or two!

A day out in Bakewell

Bakewell also has a thriving outdoor market with stalls selling everything from locally grown fruit and veg to socks, sweets and exotic Indian foods. A trip to Bakewell makes an excellent day out for the whole family, as there are also lots of independent shops and cafes. Don’t forget to try the famous Bakewell pudding, the recipe for which dates back to at least 1837.

Before you leave wander down to the river to see the famous five-arched bridge across the River Wye, which is one of the best-known landmarks in the Peak District. It dates from around 1200, is among the oldest in the country, and now designated as an Ancient Monument. Contrast this with the new bridge which links the town centre and the livestock market, and here you can see a strange phenomena going on!

Bridge at Bakewell marketA few years ago couples started to fasten engraved padlocks to the bridge, now there are hundreds of all shapes and sizes – I wonder how may of theses couples are still locked together??

If you want to add your own lock there is an enterprising stall holder in the market who will sell you a lock and even engrave it for you.

David

Apple Day Celebrations

Apple Day was first launched in 1990 on 21st October, by Common Ground. The vision was to create a calendar custom, an annual autumn holiday.

apple dayApple Day was introduced not just as a celebration of all things apple, but also as a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too.

Over the years Apple Day has also helped raise awareness of the provenance and traceability of food, which can only be a good thing. At Hoe Grange we #LoveLocal and Apple Day events have definitely fostered local pride, celebrated and deepened interest in local distinctiveness.

Family Fun!

Here in the Peak District  fellow EQM (Environmental Quality Mark) award holders Elspeth, Paul & Sarah Walker are celebrating Apple Day by hosting a FREE event at the Dove Valley Centre this Sunday 16th October from 12 noon to 4pm.

Why not join in the fun and take along your apple recipes and apple dishes to share and taste.

crushing apples on Apple DayAutumn Apple Activities:

  •  Apple tasting & identification
  •  Orchard wildlife
  •  Apple juicing with Leek Food group (bring own apples & bottles)
  •  Story telling with Creeping Toad
  •  Appley fun activities for children
  •  Art activities & story telling with Creeping Toad
  •  Bake apples in the fire
  •  Bring jars of jam and chutney to swap
  •  Barn owls in the Moorlands- slide show

Pack a picnic and stay for the day – don’t forget warm clothes and wellies!

All donations to Staffs Barn Owl Action Group

Where to Find Dove Valley Centre

Under Whitle, nr. Longnor, 7m. South of Buxton. SK17 OPR
Tel: 01298 83282

Crunchy apples and Autumn leaves – it’s a wonderful time to get outdoors and have fun!
Felicity