It’s Royal Wedding week so we are getting all lovey-dovey this week. We’ve picked just a few ideas for romantic things to do locally, to set hearts swooning.
Lover’s Leap in Dovedale and the stepping stones.
There are several Lover’s Leaps around the county, and indeed, the country. Probably the most famous in Derbyshire is Lover’s Leap in Dovedale where, the story goes, a young woman threw herself from the promontory believing that her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic Wars. Her skirts caught a branch and saved her. All ended well when it was discovered that her lover had not been killed after all. For all that, it’s not a particularly romantic spot so we’d recommend heading toward the stepping stones that cross the river Dove just a short distance away. You may need to get there reasonably early if you are also keen to avoid a crowd (which, let’s face it, is not very romantic either).
Be your own Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet
Both Lyme Park and Chatsworth have been used as Pemberley in film versions of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and both make wonderfully romantic backdrops. We wouldn’t recommend going into the lake at Lyme Park, however, you may upset the gardener!
The film version that Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen starred in also had a memorable scene set on the top of Stanage Edge, which is also a fabulous spot! Not a great place to be if the wind is howling though!
Love Locked in Bakewell
Bakewell has its very own ‘love lock’ bridge, across the River Wye, close to the town centre. Come prepared or visit the local locksmith on the high street to leave a special memory
Picnic by the river
Talking of rivers, we are not very blessed with rivers in the Peak District and Derbyshire. With so much limestone, most of the water disappears invisibly into the ground but there are some options! The River Wye through Bakewell is very pretty and there are several spots that you could stop for a lovely picnic within a short walk of the town centre. There are several delicatessens and bakeries in Bakewell that would sell you the makings of a delicious picnic – don’t forget the Bakewell Pudding!
On a beautiful day what could be more indulgent than having afternoon tea on the terrace of a lovely country house hotel overlooking their beautiful gardens. Scrummy! Try East Lodge in Rowsley
Our favourite and probably coolest option (no pun intended) would be to grab a blanket or two, a flask with a hot drink inside, go out after dark, look up and count the stars! We’re blessed here in Flagg with really dark night skies but there are other official ‘dark skies’ spots around the county; Parsley Hay, Minninglow and Surprise View, near Hathersage. Give us some notice and we can lay on the blankets and flask for you.
Many towns and villages celebrated the year 2000 by erecting a permanent memorial stone or creating some other landmark of time.
The parish of Middleton and Smerrill’s boundary stones
The Derbyshire parish of Middleton and Smerrill raised funds and commissioned from local artists, a permanent marker for each of the 17 places that it was possible to cross by path or road into the parish. Members of the parish choose the words for each boundary marker.
I was reminded of these markers on a recent walk by discovering marker number 6, the Clapper Bridge marker. The words on this marker stone are;
“Consult the Genius of the Place in all; That tells the Waters or to rise and fall”
It doesn’t say it on the bridge but these words are by Alexander Pope, one of our greatest poets. Pope was also an architect and was influenced in his writing by his interest in design and landscaping.
The Earl of Burlington, Richard Boyle
Pope’s words were written in the first half of the 18th century as part of an “Epistle to the Earl of Burlington”. The Earl of Burlington addressed in the Epistle was Richard Boyle, a renown architect of the time.
Earlier, Boyle had published a collection of “Palladio’s designs of the baths, arches, theatres etc of ancient Rome”. Pope, it seems, was moved to write the first of four moralistic poems in support of the ‘designs’. He was railing against what he saw as bad taste in some of the architecture of the day.
Pope was keen that nature formed the inspiration for design. He suggests that we ask what is special about the place (“Consult the genius of the place”) when we come to landscaping the countryside. He felt that planting should be sympathetic to the landscape and the way that the gradient of the land rises and falls (“that tells the waters or to rise and fall”).
The words were not written of the area specifically. When you stand on the clapper bridge in Bradford Dale, however, glancing up and down the unspoiled valley, you can appreciate what he was driving at.
The connection to Derbyshire and Chatsworth
Richard Boyle grew up in Yorkshire and did a lot of his work in London. At the time of the Epistle he had no connection with Derbyshire. (The use of Earl of Burlington as a courtesy title by the Dukes of Devonshire came late). A few years before his death, however, Boyle’s daughter, Charlotte, his only heir married the 4th Duke of Devonshire. The link to Derbyshire was made.
Having Charlotte’s inheritance and wealth allowed the 4th Duke to make great changes at Chatsworth, both to the house and gardens. I’d like to think that he had read Alexander Pope’s ‘Epistle’ to his father-in-law. I’d also like to think that he considered “The Genius of the Place” in appointing Capability Brown to redesign a more natural and ‘tasteful’ landscape at Chatsworth, a legacy that survives today.
During September and October, our local tourist board, Visit Peak District will be running a photo competition on Twitter and Instagram
We’d like you to share what you feel makes the Peak District unique, not just the things that are unique to the area but every experience, landscape or great meal that is unique to you.
This could be anything that inspires you and will maybe inspire someone else to visit the area; breathtaking scenery; taking part in an activity such as rock climbing, walking, caving etc; a selfie at one of the areas many wonderful attractions; relaxing over a meal with friends or at their accommodation; anything at all that best depicts your unique experience in the area!!
It’s easy to enter;
1) upload your picture to either Twitter or Instagram
2) tag with @vpdd for Twitter or @visitpeakdistrict for Instagram
3) include the hashtag #UniqueDistrict in your post
The best entries will be shared and a winner chosen at random. The winner will receive 2 nights stay in Haddy’s Hut, a beautiful and well-equipped shepherds’ hut in the Hope Valley.
Are you in the Peak District for this coming Bank Holiday weekend. There’s more going on than you’ll have time for!
Crich Tramway Village
If you have come to Derbyshire (one of the most inland counties) but are missing the seaside then head to Crich Tramway Village. The village will be turned into a seaside resort with a beach deckchairs, buckets and spades, a fun fair and lots of lots of icecream! With temperatures set to rise for the weekend, it’s going to be a hit with all. Crich is also dog-friendly and accessible for the less able.
Buxton Pavilion Gardens
Despite the repair works currently going on, Buxton Pavilion Gardens will still be hosting its annual Bank Holiday Spring Spectacular. There’ll be stalls, food and drink, face painting, music, dancing and children’s entertainment
If you fancy a smaller, more ‘country’ affair then head to Monyash on Monday for their village green market. Stalls and activities to raise money for several good causes.
Tissington Well Dressing
Tissington village traditionally kicks off well-dressing season. Six wells around the village will be ‘dressed’ and blessed on 25th May. They will then remain in place for about a week afterward. We’d recommend taking time out to see this Derbyshire custom. Read more about well-dressing.
Hartington Festival of Talents
If having a go is more your thing then Hartington Festival of Talents is the place to go at the weekend; bell ring, clog dancing, cheese making, dry stone walling, patchwork, to name a few
Lyme Park as Pemberley
Lyme Park has become synonymous with Pemberley, the family home of The Darcys, as depicted in the BBCs adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As well as seeing for yourself that amazing view of the house across the lake, there is so much more to see and do at Lyme Park.
For 2017, the story of Lyme Park is being told through the eyes of Thomas Legh who lived at Lyme in the first half of the 19th century, the Regency period. Although born illegitimate, Thomas inherited the estate aged just 5.
The wealth he inherited allowed him to travel and he became one of the first Europeans to travel on the Nile. He visited many parts of the middle East and returned with lots of souvenirs of his travels.
He also used his wealth to comprehensively renovate and restore Lyme to what we see, largely, today
It appears that he was also a bit of romantic hero, saving the reputation of a local heiress by marrying her. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end happily as she later died in childbirth.
Lyme Park in 2017
With strong associations between Lyme Park and Jane Austen’s hero, Mr Darcy, it seems only right to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death in 2017 and celebrate all things Regency!
You are able to dress up in the costume of the time, tour the house and gardens and really imagine what it might have been like to live in that period of history.
During the summer holidays, Thomas Legh’s travels will be brought to life in Lego. There’ll be models of the places that he visited such as Petra and the Egyptian pyramids as well as space and Lego in the gardens to build your own creations.
If you fancy a run or jog in beautiful parkland then Lyme have regular events where you can meet up with other like-minded individuals. There are also have a number of cycle routes that cross the park.
As well as the Lego during the summer, there is also a great children’s play area, a stream running through the park that they can splash in (take wellies) and a children’s trail available.
Lyme Park is just 20 miles from Hayloft and Byre Cottages, 16 miles from Cliffe Cottage and 30 miles from Jasmine Cottage.