All home stuff and admin done we couldn’t wait to get back in the van and hit the road again. We knew we would have to make a couple more trips home so decided not to go too far although too far for us though is probably someone else’s epic trip!
First stop then was Balmers at Tring, a site that has popped up a few times already and there’s nothing new to add about it. It’s close to home so ideal for making sure we had everything (trips home involve moving bags of “stuff” in either direction be it washing, bits we don’t need or new things we think we need) and we had made plans to walk this weekend with a friend from home. Despite the campsite being just off the Ridgeway footpath and Tring Park being across the road, we’ve never walked here so with a good weather forecast it was time to put that right.
Tring Park is a former Rothschild estate and an area of woodland and open grassland. Lots of footpaths cross the park and connect to other paths to explore the area beyond. There is also the Walter’s Wanders trail through the park which insights in the life of Walter Rothschild and the history of the park. The trail begins at the Natural History Museum at Tring and Walter bequeathed his zoological collection (one of the largest private collections ever assembled) to the public in 1892.
A bit random and for only the reason of having dinner with friends, we next headed towards Cropredy. The campsite was Bridge Meadow which, as the name suggests, is located next to the bridge over the Oxford Canal and on a large field between the canal and the River Cherwell. Given it’s a low lying field between two bodies of water, the ground was a little soft but we were directed to the best places to park and provided with mats to stop any sinking. The weather was still good when we arrived so we followed the Cropredy Circular Walk along the canal and cross country to pass a couple of hours.
The rain came in the following morning so a van day and a good day for visits – Bob’s old colleague Dave came by for coffee and then it was off to Waddy and Jo’s for dinner.
The hills were calling and we were desperate to get the boots on again so we made our way to the Derbyshire Peak district. Our first campsite was Heatherhill Farm, a new CL in the village of Bamford. It was a small field with a mix of motorhomes, caravans and tents (as well a permanent “glamping” tent) which might get a little overcrowded in the summer but the owner was keen for feedback to improve the site. The facilities are basic but clean and the campsite has easy access to public transport including the Hope Valley Sheffield to Manchester rail line.
We took the train into Sheffield to meet Chloe who was in town that week with the touring version of Heathers the Musical and after one false start in Liverpool, we finally got to see the show this time.
From the campsite we were able to pick up the footpath to the Ladybower Reservoir. After changing our route several times we extended the walk to also take us around the Derwent Reservoir and the Derwent Dam which would be familiar to anyone who has seen the film “The Dam Busters”. The site was used by pilots of the RAF 617 Squadron to practice low level flying to prepare for the dam busting raids on the Ruhr Valley dams in World War 2.
As well as the reservoirs we also had a cracking walk to Win Hill having come up to the ridge via Hope Cross. With the glorious weather we had stunning views across the Peak District in all directions.
We moved a few miles along the Hope Valley to the village of Edale and Newfold Farm campsite, a large mixed campsite for vans and tents. Glamping options were also available in a neighbouring field.
However before stopping at the campsite we paid a visit to Chatsworth House, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has a 105 acre garden both of which are open to the public and the estate hosts various events throughout the year. Various ticket combinations are available but we paid £14 each for garden access only deciding to leave the house for another day. The gardens alone were worth a visit!
One of our criteria for picking a campsite is easy access to a footpath and from Newfold we were able to go cross country and up the ridge to Hollins Cross. From there we followed the well trodden footpath to Mam Tor, down a small gap in the ridge and then back up again to the much less busy Lord’s Seat for another lunch with a view!
Balmers CL, Tring: £7 per night. No EHU but water and dumping facilities. All grass.
Bridge Meadow CL, Cropredy : £10 per night. No EHU but water and dumping facilities. All grass.
Heatherhill Farm CL, Bamford, Derbyshire: £20 per night. EHU, toilet but no shower, water, and dumping facilities. All grass.
Newfold Farm Campsite, Edale, Derbyshire: £22 per night plus £4 for EHU. Hard standing and grass pitches