Category Archives: #UniqueDistrict

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 

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 

Annie our local shinning light – not a candle in the wind!

We are proud to stock some fabulous #LoveLocal Peak District products, in our new little shop. Today we are featuring On A Wick and A Prayer, candle makers at Tissington village just over the hill from Hoe Grange.

Annie's candles

A spark of an idea

Our friend Annie Maudling had a flicker of an idea following a fishing trip to Ireland where she purchased some hand made candles from a small local business. This sparked a passion and found Annie experimenting with her daughter’s candle making kit in her kitchen (which is where all good small businesses start from, including ours!).

By adding natural scents and hand crafting unusual shaped candles Annie created a unique brand which proved to be popular at local craft fairs. She is completely self-taught, and over the last 18 years has continued to build up the business on a strong foundation of quality and buying British.

Lanterns light the way

hurricane candleThe business went from strength to strength with the unique hurricane lantern the star of the show (and my all time favourite too!). The hurricane lanterns are made from translucent wax with inlaid flowers & designs so that the tealight inside shines through the intricate patterns.

The business soon outgrew the kitchen and moved to the old pig sty in the garden. A sign was placed at the garden gate inviting people to have a look round and On a Wick & A Prayer was born.

Tissington village is a Peak District gem renowned for it’s ancient tradition of well dressings and quaint cottages. Today it is a hive of activity. It’s difficult to believe but going back 18 years there was little for the visiting public to do. There were no shops or tea rooms so Annie’s new venture soon became a popular attraction.

candle making A couple of Annie’s friends offered to help out making candles to keep up with demand. They soon outgrew the pig sty and production moved into the old village forge, which was larger. It also meant there was more space to open a small shop.

If you pop over to TIssington you will still find Annie and the team hand making candles. As you approach the workshop you will be able to smell the delightful fragrances drifting through the air.

Annie is passionate about using British suppliers and products in her manufacture. With an eye to sustainability and reducing waste On A Wick have a range of refillable containers including the beautifully glazed bathtub which houses scented wax.

Annie’s candle light shines bright

As the company grew it gained a reputation for high quality and unusual designs and soon secured larger contracts with national businesses such as The National Trust. This demand required more space so they moved some of their current production to premises based in nearby Dovedale.

Inspired by the Peak District Dovedale ceramicsNever one to stand still Annie has introduced a range of ceramics designed for every day use. The glaze on the pottery is called a “Frip” glaze because it bursts in the kiln, creating a beautiful finish, each piece being unique.

The colours are inspired by the Peak District #uniquedistrict landscape, Mermaid Blue of the River Dove, Dolomitic Grey of the stone walls, green lava of the lush pastures and the latest colour is red lava.

Exciting news – Annie has just launched the new Ezicandle kit. You can now make your own candles using empty containers from candles which you have loved and burnt, but don’t want to throw away. No need for specialist equipment and it couldn’t be easier!

And so we designed Eazi Candle! You can now recycle all your loved candle containers and bring your old favourites back to life. What’s more the Eazi Candle is self-contained, needs no other equipment and the container itself is fully recyclable.

#LoveLocal

Annie is an inspiration and a real shinning light. Her hand crafted scented candles are proving popular with our holiday guests as little gifts to take home. We have a small selection in our onsite shop – there’s nothing more romantic than #hygge candlelight. Here’s how to have a hygge holiday!

Felicity

24Hrs in Farming #Farm24

For the last few years herds of dairy farmers, flocks of shepherds and a whole coven of farmers wives have  Twitted, Blogged Inrtagramed and Facebooked about a whole 24 hrs of farming showing what they are all getting up to.

Today 9th August 2018 is this years #Farm24 day. What are we all doing this year?

Well for a start 2018 is turning out to be one of the most challenging years for decades in farmings never ending battle with the weather.  Following the wettest coldest spring in living memory, we jumped straight into the longest hottest dry spell ever. Some say farmers are never happy with the weather and there is a good reason for that. Every sector of agriculture needs different weather to the next,

From snow
From snow

Dairy farmers like a cold crisp winter to help keep animals health in the sheds as warm muggy damp conditions are only good for the spread disease such as pneumonia, but they like it to dry up in spring so the cows can get out to grass as early as possible, then they like a steady supply of rain in small doses with good sunshine to keep the grass growing all year.

Sheep farmers don’t like very cold snowy winters as the sheep live out doors and can get buried in snowdrifts and have difficulty accessing water if the pipes all freeze. Then they want a warm dry spring for lambing and a summer without too much sun and heat, and muggy thundery weather is a real bummer as this brings with it more cases of fly strike which I won’t horrify you with the details but its a very nasty thing to happen to a sheeps bottom!

to heat wave

Arable farmers like good snow in the Alps for their skiing holidays and warm beaches in the early summer for their beach holiday (only joking!!) but they need a wet warm spring to bring the good yields and to help swell the grain they then need a good long dry spell with strong sunshine to ripen the grain and let them harvest it all as dry as possible, moving on quickly to ploughing, re planting just before their next holiday!

The weather has played havoc with feed stocks already. Crop are yielding much lower and livestock are already munching their way through the winter feed as the the grass just stopped growing weeks ago. This has forced many beef and sheep farmers to sell stock early at lighter weights and as so many more are coming to the market prices have slumped so income from stock sales will be hit very hard and could be as much as 30% down.

Many farmers like ourselves have diversified into other activities and some of these demand different weather again. For us in tourism this year has been great as our guests have basked in Mediterranean heat with wall to wall sunshine. But spare us a thought on changeover days, running up and down that hill in 30 + degrees getting ready for the next guests, one constant job is checking the quality of the Ice cream sold in the shop. I need to sample a pot every few hours personally just to be sure!

So why not log on to all your social media today and see first hand what your farmers are upto.

Here are a few bits from us!

David

#Farm24 #Farmstayuk

A lot of time is spent in the office
working very hard!
Unloading lorry loads of straw by hand – better than going to the gym!
Checking on the sheep, who seem to have the right idea
Lovely weather to be a baby calf
The jobs are wide and varied, from PR to cleaning the bogs!

 

Saving water in a sizzling summer

Farming always has its ups and downs but this year has been particularly challenging. The winter snows were severe with the Beast from the East which meant a late spring, followed on by the current heatwave which is causing havoc with the harvests.

cows and sheepSunshine and heat is wonderful for our holiday guests staying in our log cabins and glamping pods, but not so great for the farm animals. June 2018 has been the driest on record. I can’t recall when I last saw the farm fields so brown and the grass is so dry it scrunches underneath your feet.

Making hay while the sun shines

hay making We usually make silage for winter forage for the cows and sheep and around 900 small bales of hay.  Hay making was interesting as the cut grass was so light and dry that half of it blew away! Whilst the sizzling sunshine has produced excellent quality hay, the excessive dry weather has meant the quantity is about half the usual yield at just 430 bales.

We are not alone and there will be a shortage of winter feed, compounded by the fact that farmers are having to feed their cattle and sheep now in midsummer as there is so little grass growing. It also means reduced income as the price of lamb has fallen due to an increase in supply as many farmers are having to sell their lambs early due to the lack of feed.

1967 Massey Ferguson 135 tractor
1967 Massey Ferguson 135 tractor

Whilst the scorching heat continues here in the Peak District with temperatures over 30 degrees we carry on farming with animal well fare a top priority.

Mike wrestles with a sheep

The sheep have been shorn and shed their winter woolly jumpers and we are keeping a special eye on the troughs to make sure the cattle have sufficient water to drink.

We also have a new member of the team. This week also saw the arrival of Havenfield Lotus, a new pedigree Hereford bull, who seemed right at home with his new ladies!

Use water wisely

water glas by RawpixelDid you know that only 3% of the world’s water is fresh and less than 1% of this fresh water is available for human use? The rest being frozen or located too deep within the earth for us to reach it.

Our Derbyshire ancestors have always celebrated the importance of fresh water by dressing the village wells and giving thanks.

Saving water is always important, but especially so whilst the sizzling summer continues.

Top ten tips for saving water
  1. When you wash your dishes by hand, remember to turn the tap off in-between rinsing. And don’t rinse dishes before you put them in a dishwasher – that’s what the machine is designed to do – just scrape all the excess food off the dishes and let the machine do the rest.
  2. Stop! Before pulling the plug out the kitchen sink, use the washing up water to rinse out bottles, food cartons and cans before putting them in the recycle bin.
  3. Switch off the tap whilst brushing your teeth – you can waste at least half a pint of water per minute if you leave the tap on!
  4. Keeping a large bottle of tap water in the fridge ensures you can have chilled water all the time. Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste more than 10 litres of water a day.
  5. A shower uses 2/3 the amount of water as a bath – keep it short and turn off the shower head while soaping! Every minute you spend in a power shower uses up to 17 litres of water .
  6. Switch to an efficient shower head which will allow you to lather up in less water
  7. Washing a full machine load of clothes uses less water and energy than 2 half-loads
  8. Modern dual-flush systems save huge amounts of water. They use just 6 litres – or 4 with a reduced flush – much less than the 13 litres for each old-style single flush.
  9. Or fit your toilet with a ‘hippo’, a bag (available free from your water company, usually) that could help you save up to 3.5 litres of water per flush.
  10. Drive round in a dirty car – you don’t need to wash it every week! A hose with the tap turned on full can use up to 320 litres of water in half an hour!

We hope you found our top ten water saving tips useful and would love to hear if you have some more ideas to share.

Felicity 

Introducing Rose Hip, could this Gypsy caravan be our lucky charm?

At a recent local farm auction our heads ruled our hearts when we purchased this traditional Romany horse drawn caravan, which we have christened Rose hip!

This horseshoe top Gypsy caravan is known as an “open lock” which means it has no front door but a detachable canvas cover which zips open like a tent and can be completely removed in seconds.

At the time it needed a bit of work to bring it up to the high standards that our guests are used to, so I have been busy landscaping the area where it will sit. Meanwhile Felicity has been very busy adding some very intricate art work in a traditional style, making new soft furnishings and adding the finishing touches. 

The traditional layout has a raised double bed which slides out when required, with a large storage cupboard underneath. There are bench seats on each side with a small set of draws, which double up as a bedside shelf. There is a small foldable table and other little nooks and crannies are used for storage.

Two outdoor seats on the very front provide the perfect spot for sitting in the evening with a G&T or glass of wine whilst enjoying the uninterrupted views down the valley.

 

 

 

 

 

Although there are no cooking facilities in the caravan there is a fire pit/BBQ for authentic outdoor cooking. However if the weather is unkind or you just can’t be bothered there is a toaster, kettle and microwave in the new reception block in the yard. There is also a spacious shower room with underfloor heating, and we even provide a torch so you won’t trip up in the dark!

Don’t worry you are not completely without modern comforts as we have installed a 12 volt LED lighting system, phone charging point and the WI-FI reaches down to the site – although many of you may wish to be disconnected from the hustle and bustle of the digital world!

 

 

 

 

Be one of the first to experience this romantic bolt hole with views to die for!

See more details here

Book now Click here to see prices and availability.

Sorry no children or pets

David

 

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

Share our #UniqueDistrict – photo competition

Have you visited the Peak District?

Have you stayed at Hoe Grange Holidays or visited the Peak District? If so, what’s your all time favourite place or activity?

By simply sharing your #UniqueDistrict experience of our stunning region on social media you could win some fabulous prizes, one of which is a short break in our gorgeous glamping pods!

It’s quick and easy to get involved. During September and October share inspirational photos of your experiences and what you think makes the Peak District unique using #UniqueDistrict on Twitter and tag @vpdd or Instagram and tag @visitpeakdistrict.

What inspires you?

It could be anything from stunning scenery, wicked wildlife, getting active outdoors rock climbing, walking, caving, canoeing or rock climbing, a selfie at one of the amazing attractions, meandering through the market towns and villages, finding #LoveLocal products at the artisan markets, or perhaps relaxing with friends over the best brewed pint of local beer.Artisan marketYou can post as many photos as you like. Anything which best depicts your unique experience here in the Peak District, that will hopefully inspire someone else to visit the area!DogWalk Millstone EdgeThe Peak District was designated the first National Park back in 1951. If you have visited our stunning region you will know it consists of two distinct areas; The southern White Peak with its steep limestone valleys including Lathkill Dale and Dovedale, with its famous stepping stones, and The northern Dark Peak with its dramatic gritstone ridges and heather covered moorlands including Kinder Scout.Hands Well featuring Beatrix Potter animalsDid you know that Castleton is the only place in the world where the semi-precious stone Blue John can be found? That definitely counts as #UniqueDistrict, as does the ancient art of Well Dressing, where plants and petals are pressed onto clay boards to create amazing pictures in celebration of pure water from the wells!

Chatsworth House is another #UniqueDistrict jewel of the Derbyshire Peak District, home of the Dukes of Devonshire, with amazing gardens designed by Capability Brown and set in over 35,000 acres of stunning parkland.Chatsworth Cascade #UniqueDistrict Hardwick Hall, now run by the National Trust, was built by the formidable Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury or “Bess of Hardwick”. This lavish house, often said to be more glass than wall, was a reflection of the wealth that Bess accumulated by marring four times, so that she became the wealthiness woman in the country!

Other famous people with links to Derbyshire include Izaak Walton, author of ‘The Compleat Angler’, who fished along the Rover Dove. The book was first published in 1653 and is one of the most reprinted books in the history of English literature.

Visit Peak District and Derbyshire are running the #UniqueDistrict competition until 1st November, so get snapping and sharing using #UniqueDistrict. Anything memorable, exciting or unusual counts.dog-friendly glampingDon’t forget to tag @vpdd on Twitter or @visitpeakdistrict on Instagram to be in with a chance to win a short break in our gorgeous glamping pods!#UniqueDistrict competitionGood luck!

Felicity