Travel Jottings

Celebrating the best bits and bobs to be found while exploring Britain, Ireland and beyond. Much is inspired by real outings, whether they were walking, cycling or photographic in nature, while virtual blundering in the name of planning them has turned up some gems too. Regardless of how they were found, I hope that they keep coming so I can continue to share new things with you.

Derbyshire: Not Just a Home to the Peak District

Serpentine, Pavillion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire, England

Though I have been to outlying places like Buxton and Chesterfield, it has been its portion of the Peak District National Park that has drawn me to exploring Derbyshire's countryside. Its proximity to my home in Macclesfield has meant that it has been where I furthered my experiences of hill walking before my excursions expanded their reach to other parts of the north of England.

In some ways, the location is a curious one since it almost bridges the England's northwest and its eastern midlands. That allows for a bit of variety at its various ends so there should be room for expansion of what I have collected here to tell you more about the place.

The National Park extends into Yorkshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire but Derbyshire is the main focus. After all, it does host most of the area protected by the National Park. Of course, other counties like Cheshire and Staffordshire are getting in on the act too and the Boundary Walk route created by Friends of the Peak District goes through all of them.

Moving away from the matter of geography, these website press all the right buttons when it comes to planning a visit from afar. It makes me wonder how different things might be for me if it wasn't on my doorstep here in Macclesfield. As things stand, I am but one of the hoards of day trippers that pour into the place from time to time. It might be worth staying longer.

These three are bundled together for the reason that they are part of the same visitor information website network. Among them is a city that seems to get overlooked: Derby. Then again, that's not hard to fathom with the countryside that lies to its north.

Here are three interesting towns lying only just outside of the national park. Buxton is a former spa town with the architecture and landscaping to match. While I have frequented Buxton many times, Chesterfield is a place that I have only passed through on an indirect journey home but the website does the place justice; a proper visit might be in order. Ashbourne too has seen summary visits from myself, first on a spot of walking reconnaissance and then at the end of a long walk along the Hight Peak and Tissington trails. Like Chesterfield, I reckon that another visit is needed.

Visit Tideswell & District

Tideswell is famous for its church, which has earned the name "the Cathedral of the Peak" on account of its grand architecture. Surrounding it is a pretty village as well as some equally attractive countryside. Because this website is maintained by local accommodation providers so a listing of places to stay should come as no surprise but there's history and suggestions regarding things to do around the place.

Crich Tramway Village

This is the home of the National Tramway Museum and there seems to be an air of a heritage park to the place too as well as a woodland area. All in all, there looks to be a lot to see and it does sound varied.

Visit Amber Valley

It seems to be me that the Amber Valley lies between the southern reaches of the Peak District National Park and the city of Derby. While it takes its name from the river Amber, the Derwent also passes through the area. There's a World Heritage Site in the form of the Derwent Valley Mills to go with other heritage attractions (such as the Crich Tramway Village above) and any pleasing countryside that is there to be savoured.

Both of these websites appear to be maintained by the same people so I have gone and grouped them together. As it happens, these were places that I frequented a few times, especially near the start of my explorations of the English countryside on foot. Now that I think of it, maybe it's high time that I revisited their respective charms. For that, these websites may have a role.


The name of Youlgrave (Youlgreave on Ordnance Survey maps) is being misspelt on has two main derivatives nowadays but there have been far more during the history of the place and there is a list of these on the website. Personally, I prefer the one with the extra "e" in there but the locals are expert on these kinds of things so I'll defer to them on the matter. Also this is a parish website so nearby villages like Middleton and Alport also are featured. Of these, only Alport has seen my footfall thus far but I also fancy seeing how the others nestle by the River Bradford too. There may be time for that yet...

The Pavilion Gardens

These are one of Buxton's special places with a pleasing pleasure garden and a splendidly maintained complex featuring an opera house, a concert hall and much more. Naturally, their website lets you in on all of these delights so it's well worth a look.

The idea of a National Forest covering an area of around 200 square miles must have seemed outlandish when it was suggested more than twenty five years ago but it is maturing nicely now with parts of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire coming under its writ, Much of the land was industrial so it is good to see what regeneration can achieve and it clearly has become an amenity for many with even a dedicated long distance trail passing through it.

The first of these country houses needs so little introduction that it can trade on a one word name, Chatsworth. It also is the only one of the two that I have seen in person while on a walk from Baslow to Matlock that shadowed the Derbyshire River Derwent. Both host their share of events so it is not solely their intrinsic charms that are there to attract visitors though there are plenty of those too.