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!
Inspired by Eroica Britannia 2016 and as rashly promised in our Eroica blog last year, David and I completed our challenge in style cycling the 25 mile route on our 1930’s tandem!
Having written my blog last year, recklessly thinking it would be fun to take part, even joking about cycling two up on a tandem, David got straight on ebay and within 2 days had purchased our vintage tandem – a real shock and surprise to me!
For those who haven’t heard of Eroica Britannia before it is billed as ‘The World’s Most Handsome Bike Ride’ and it certainly lived up to the claim, with over 4,500 riders taking part on vintage bicycles, many dressed in authentic costumes.
Luckily for me this non competitive cycle ride is not a race – it is as much about the fashion, the stunning Peak District scenery and the ice cream pit stops along the way, as it is about the cycling. As you can see we entered into the spirit of the occasion and donned our best bib and tucker!
A firm Festival favourite is the best in show competitions, from stylish outfits to the most impressive moustache – everyone entered into the spirit of the event.
To qualify for entry into Eroica Britannia all bikes have to be authentic, manufactured before 1986 and have shift gears on the bicycle frame, not the handlebars. These older bikes tend to have heavy frames and less gears than today’s modern bicycles, so therefore the hills are a little more challenging – one determined chap even completed the 25 mile route on a Penny Farthing which must have been a real bone shaker!
Riding a tandem is a little challenging to start with because you both have to synchronize movements as any wobbles from your partner can throw you off balance. Also the rear rider (often called the stoker!) has no control over speed or direction, which I found disconcerting to start with. David found that going downhill too fast hurt his ears – due to the loud squealing from behind!
Having got over the initial difficulties with many trips over the hill to the pub in Brassington, we soon mastered the tandem technique.
As you will see there were 3 routes to choose from. We thought with the steep Peak District hills that the 25 mile route was enough of a trial for us on our first official tandem outing. A good choice as ride day turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year!
As we live so close to the Friden venue we decided to cycle to and from the Eroica event adding another 8 miles to our total ride. The most challenging section of the whole ride was getting there, dodging the hundreds of cyclists who had already set off along the High Peak Trail on the 55 mile event, going in the opposite direction to us! We also nearly lost our voices as everyone shouted greetings and good morning as they cycled past.
We set off at 9am with a group of other 25 milers, full of enthusiasm, with the sun shining and my red polka dot skirt flapping in the breeze. The great thing about a tandem is that just when one of you is beginning to give up the other one urges you on to keep going. With determination we managed to ride the whole way without having to dismount for the steep hills. One of the toughest sections was pedaling up the long hill out of Monyash, which was made slightly harder as the climb came immediately after the lunch stop and we hadn’t got back into our rhythm.
It was so much fun riding the tandem as people waved and cheered you on. It was a fabulous feeling to cycle through the finish line to cheers and whistles from the gathered crowd.
The atmosphere was amazing with lots of Festival fun, from the fun fair for the children, to evening entertainment from ABC, and a fly past by a Hurricane Spitfire.
Would we do it again? YES – definitely a fantastic experience to complete the challenge.
However after our exhausting ride David was eagerly eyeing up an electric bike from Juicy Bikes – you would certainly breeze up the Peak District hills on one of their battery assisted bicycles.
Everyone was so friendly and the festival atmosphere was fabulous with everyone comparing bikes and chatting about their experiences late into the evening. Of course the weather helped – not sure it would be quite so much fun in the rain!
We were delighted to host two sets of guests for the weekend who were also taking part, which created a real Eroica spirit at Hoe Grange.
They were all more ambitious (and not riding tandems) so chose the longer 55 mile Eroica ride – a real challenge in the blistering heat.
If you fancy taking part next year why not book yourself a cabin here at Hoe Grange as a very handy base? I would suggest Daisybank or Pinder log cabins, as they both have hot tubs on the decking for soaking those aching limbs afterwards!
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 …
Hopton 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.
2. Red Roses
Say it with flowers – well Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete with some traditional red roses! Freedom Flowers at Ashbourne 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.
For the chocoholic in your life celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving some delicious handmade Holdsworth Chocolates?
Barbara 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
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
Life 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 Glo Pamper 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.
Dovedale 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.
9. Take a trip on our tandem
Do 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.
Your friendly Vintage Adventure Tours driver Steven will share his local knowledge of our wonderful Peak District to give you an unforgettable experience.
11. Toasting marshmallows round the firepit
It may be crisp and cold outside but keep yourselves warm snuggling by the firepit toasting marshmallows.and supping homemade mulled wine. Enjoy the peace and quiet of our special countryside with this romantic treat for two for just £25, including logs, fireside blankets, mulled wine, toasting forks and marshmallows.
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.
This 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.
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.
The 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.
David and I spent another brilliant day out at Eroica Britannia – a cycling race with a difference, where fashion and style count for more than stamina and speed.
Eroica is non competitive and the “race” is as much about the fashion, the stunning Peak District views and the coffee and ice cream stops along the way, as it is about the cycling.
Eroica is much more than a cycle ride, it’s more a way of life, where vintage is the order of the day. L’Eroica which translates as ‘heroic’, was started in Italy in 1997 when 92 riders banded together to campaign to prevent the asphalting over of the famous Tuscan white gravel roads – the strade bianchi. The event honoured the strength and stamina of the cycling heroes of years gone by.
Since then, the annual event in the village of Gaiole in the Chianti region has grown with over 5,000 riders. The “race” is governed by strict rules: the bikes must be from 1987 or earlier – so no indexed gears, and gear changers must be on the downtube, not the handlebars. In addition style is the order of the day and clothing must be of an appropriate era to the bike.Eroica is now hosted in many other countries and Bakewell, which is just 8 miles from Hoe Grange, hosts the UK event with over 4,000 riders. We loved the style and panache and the carnival atmosphere and hope you enjoy our photos.
The L’Eroica Britannia is an amazing celebration of cycling combined with vintage lifestyle, and what better place to cycle than the stunning hills of the Peak District National Park!
The 3 day cycling festival is held in Bakewell from 19th to 21st June and is based on the original L’Eroica cycle ride held every year in Gaiole, Tuscany, since 1997: a celebration of the “heroic” days of good old-fashioned cycling before carbon fibre, power meters and energy gels.No electric bikes allowed!
Do you have a pre 1987 steel road bike? Then dust it off, dig out some vintage clothing and join in the race along with 3,000 other cyclists. Race is perhaps a strong word, the atmosphere is wonderfully relaxed and it’s more of a grand social occasion where riders take time out to sip espressos, chat and joke and most of all admire each others vintage attire.
If you haven’t got an old bike don’t worry, you can just join in the festival fun, with live music, entertainment, shopping and the world’s biggest bike jumble. Families can enjoy a ‘vintage sports day’, a beach area and a traditional fairground featuring a helter skelter and a steam-powered carousel.
A taste of what to expect!
The Peak District hills are quite challenging so there are 3 race routes according to your fitness level.
Short – 30 miles
A great choice for riders of all levels of fitness. It is fairly undulating but definitely enough of a stretch to give you a challenge.
Ascent: 2528ft (771m)
Refreshment Stops: Tideswell 14 miles, Eyam Hall 21 miles
Start Times: 9:15am – 10:30am
Off Road: 25% GPS route guide
Medium – 55 miles
A bit more adventurous and does require reasonably fitness. Several long climbs will give you a stern work out – but the descents are glorious!
This route passes Hoe Grange farm, so we will be cheering on!
Ascent: 6113ft (1864m)
Refreshment Stops: Hartington 20 miles, High Peak Junction 37 miles, Chatsworth 52 miles
Start Times: 7:15am – 9:15am
Off Road: 30% GPS route guide
Long – 100 miles
For the really fit – rather you than me! A real challenge but it covers all the very best of the Peak District National Park.
Ascent: 9252ft (2821m)
Refreshment Stops: Tideswell 10 miles, Goyt Valley 32 miles, Hartington 51 miles, Ilam Hall 63 miles, High Peak Junction 78 miles, Chatsworth 94 miles
Start Times: 6:00am – 7:15am
Off Road: 25% GPS route guide
If you’re not cycling find some bells and whistles and cheer the riders on!