Cottage in the Peak District

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A well dressing- designer Tricia Donnison

Youlgrave is off the A6 between Matlock and Bakewell. It’s an ancient ridge village with old lead miners’ cottages set off paths leading down to Bradford Dale, one of the most beautiful in the Peaks.

Bankside is at the top end of the village past the Farmyard Inn, a cobbled path that leads all the way down to the river. Parking is on the street or in the village car park. The cottage is an 80 yard walk down the hill. Once here, you are never disturbed by traffic or street noise. In fact you never need to use your car again. Beautiful walks set off in all directions to places like Robin Hood's Stride, Haddon Hall, Monyash or Lathkill Dale. The Limestone Way goes through the Dale for serious walkers. For strollers, there are short round walks taking in local villages and spectacular countryside. You could take your car for the short drive to Chatsworth - perhaps Britain's finest stately home - Monsal Head, the Longshawe Estate or Eyam and start your walk from there. Children may like the Heights of Abraham or Gulliver's Kingdom. But they may be just as happy down the dale in the river's swimming area or paddling by the packhorse bridge. Or hiring a bike and riding along the beautiful Tissington Trail.

Youlgrave is one of the Peaks’ ‘arty villages’.  It has a preponderance of musicians, artists, writers, actors and film directors. It has a thriving Film Club, Music Festivals, French Ceramic Exhibition, and a very active Sustainable Youlgrave Association. It is twinned with a village in Sierra Leone for which funds are constantly being raised by villagers providing refreshments for walkers and visitors. People are friendly, outgoing and generally good fun!

It has the best well dressings in Derbyshire – five in all -  which are up for the week which includes midsummer’s day every June. You can watch the villagers puddling the clay, pricking out the design and dressing it with petals, moss and other natural things. You may even be roped in to help.

There are three pubs in the village, each serving good food and with their very own characters. The lovely church has a 12th century font and a stained glass window by Byrne Jones. There are two food shops and a Post Office and the Youth Hostel serves refreshments to allcomers.

Bakewell is a 10 minute drive away and is one of the most attractive towns in the area. The Farmers' Market is splendid. The golf course is on the hill above the town with exquisite views (and very tricky terrain!)

Matlock is also about 10 minutes away - a lovely town for children with its large park with boating lake. And another tricky golf course.

Both towns have interesting shops. Matlock has a new Sainsbury's and Bakewell a reasonable Co-op supermarket.

Buxton is about 20 minutes up the road, with all its antique shops and impressive old buildings. And of course the Gilbert and Sullivan festival at the Opera House at the beginning of August.

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