This time last year I spent a weekend in the Peak District with Merry and my Mum. The Peak District was the first National Park to be created in the United Kingdom (1951) and it was also the site of the famous ‘mass trespass’ onto Kinder Scout which is largely credited as the start of the public rights of way movement. The Peak District is also home to many country houses and unusual field patterns (piecemeal enclosure), so my inner landscape history geek was bursting to get out and explore!
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the pretty Laurel Cottage in the village of Youlgreave. Laurel Cottage can be booked direct or through cottages.com – a handy tip for those of you who use Tesco Clubcard is that you can use your points to get up to £99 off your booking with cottages.com! The cottage was nicely decorated and had a large garden, woodburner, and complimentary dog treats on arrival which Merry loved! There was also lots of information about local walks and activities. Youlgreave is really well located if you want to get out and about – it’s about a 10 minute drive from Bakewell if you want to try an authentic Bakewell tart!
If you stay in Youlgreave and choose to eat out, I would definitely recommend the dog friendly Farmyard Inn. We came here on Pie Night and it was so good we came back on our second night! (Pie Night is Wednesday, or at least it was, if anyone else loves pies). It does seem very popular so I would recommend booking ahead.
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. There is plenty of space inside for a larger dog with a large enclosed garden. There are lots of soft furnishings inside so be careful if you’ve got a pooch that loves to jump on sofas!
We chose to walk at Curbar Edge purely because the car park was National Trust and therefore free to us as members. And what a lovely walk! This relatively easy circular route will provide panoramic views across the valley and you will see plenty of the wonderfully wonky rock formations associated with the Peak District. Make sure you look behind you as you head along White Edge for a glimpse of Chatsworth house in the distance (Chatsworth is definitely a must visit – but it deserves a post all to itself so I won’t write about it today!).
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. Merry absolutely loved this walk! Be careful of steep drops along White Edge and if there is livestock around make sure you keep your dog on a lead. The end of this walk passes through woodland which will offer plenty of exciting smells and opportunities for off lead running!
Where is more famous in the Peak District than Dovedale? Nowhere! This was perhaps reflected by the fact that Dovedale was by far the busiest place we visited, even on a Thursday morning. The landscape is not only postcard perfect, it is also a great example of certain types of rock formation, or so I heard when I was ear wigging on one of the many school geography trips we passed.
We walked from the car park (pay and display, toilets) to Lover’s Leap. This walk only goes as far as the stepping stones, but if you want to walk further like we did you can just carry on following the path. If you go in spring keep your eyes peeled for the adorable ducklings which we saw (luckily Merry was too busy paddling to spot them).
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. I think this was by far Merry’s favourite walk of the weekend! He is a water baby and you follow the river all the way on this walk. It is calm and shallow and perfect for swimming. There are also poo bins on this walk for you to dispose of bags before you go home. I’ve knocked off a point as this walk is busy so may not be suitable for nervous dogs.
On our way home we stopped at Ladybower reservoir (those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know how much I love a reservoir walk!). You can park along the busy roadside for free or pay to park in one of the near by car parks. This reservoir is popular with walkers but large enough that you probably won’t see too many people on your walk. It was very lush and green, with lots of wildflowers, a bit of a contrast to the slightly more bleak reservoirs back in North Yorkshire! We only stopped and walked down to the waterside to let Merry have one last holiday swim, but if you are looking to do a longer walk, Let’s Go Peak District have a 5 mile route which seems like a lovely walk.
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. This walk is great for pups who like to swim, however, I did keep Merry on a lead away from the water’s edge as there were sheep throughout this walk. You will see other dogs and walkers on this walk, even if it’s not busy like Dovedale, so remember your dog walking etiquette and put your dog on a lead if the dog coming towards you is on the lead.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the Peak District! We barely scratched the surface on our visit so we will definitely be heading back to explore the area more – let me know your recommendations in the comments!
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