For holidays in the Peak District, why not base yourself in the South East Region? It has loads to offer. From Darley Dale in the north to Belper in the south this area has a fascinating heritage – from a steam railway and a lead mining museum, to the 15-mile long Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Cable Cars and hill climbs
It was here in the 18th century that the great inventors and builders of the era started the Industrial Revolution, changing the face of textile production forever and leaving a legacy of impressive mills and attractive workers cottages behind. Enjoy walks alongside the Cromford Canal , a ride in a state-of-the-art cable car across the Derwent Valley to the Heights of Abraham, or cycle along the High Peak Trail. Carsington Water and Ogston Reservoir are tranquil stretches of water surrounded by woods and fields, boast sailing clubs and water sports facilities.
If you’re visiting in autumn don’t miss the Matlock Bath Illuminations when weekends offer the spectacle of decorated boats gliding along the River Derwent once dusk has fallen.
Discover Darley Dale
Darley Dale is one of the highlights of the south-east region of the Peak District. If you love the outdoors this is a great place to enjoy nature and to admire the impact famous industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth, who lived at Stancliffe Hall, had on the architecture. His legacy includes the Whitworth Centre, which incorporates a hotel, council offices, sports and leisure facilities and adjoining parkland. In the churchyard is the famous old yew tree; with a girth of 33ft. it is one of the thickest in the country. A great walk in Darwin Country Park has to be included on any itinerary.
Walk or cycle the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail
The Derwent Valley Heritage Trail is a 55-mile walk stretching from Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District National Park via the stately Chatsworth Estate. Other sights along the way, as you take in the breathtaking scenery around the Derbyshire Dales include the impressive Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. You also encounter the Trent Mersey Canal as you follow the Riverside Path through the city of Derby and continue onwards to the historic inland port of Shardlow. Journey's end is at Derwent Mouth where the Derwent flows into the River Trent. You can both cycle and walk the full length or do it in modest chunks. Public transport is good in the area and serves the trail well so no need for circular walks.
Since the 18th century the Heights of Abraham have been a major sightseeing spot for visitors to the area. High above Matlock you could spend days exploring. The cable cars take you up the hill or you can walk from pavilion to pavilion up the face. It’s well shaded most of the way cloaking the amazing heights until the big reveal. Other points of great interest are the show caverns, Masson and Rutland. Prospect Tower and Tinker’s Shaft are great for photo opportunities, so makes sure the Heights of Abraham are on your Peak District holiday itinerary.
Deep in the Amber Valley, Belper is a historic market town that was at the centre of the industrial revolution, you can still see remnants of the mills in and around the town. It is listed as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Belper was once famous for nail making, however it was the genius of the Strutt family who changed the face of the town. Jedediah Strutt built one of the world's earliest water-powered cotton mills. Later a fireproof mill was built by his son William and this had a significant impact on future development. An apprentice called Samuel Slater worked at the mill and after he emigrated to America, he became known as the Father of American Manufacturers. Near to the mill complex the beautiful River Gardens offer a tranquil place to relax and have a picnic.
Fans of British history will draw much enjoyment from a trip to the south east region of the Peak District. The industrial revolution made a visible mark on the area and you can’t journey far with seeing remnants from the period. Make at least one trip to the area during a stay in the Peak District (although you’ll need more than one).
We offer some great cottages in the Carsington Water and Belper area of the Peak District.