Walk the Charlotte Brontë Literature trail, taking in North Lees Manor featured in Jane Eyre, and visit the oversized grave of Robin Hood’s sidekick, Little John. YHA Hathersage makes for ideal Peak District accommodation for discovering everything the area has to offer.
Hathersage is continually buzzing with climbing, walking and cycling enthusiasts who cannot get enough of the likes of Stanage Edge, renowned for pushing climbers of all levels to their limits. For those wishing to explore elsewhere, they will find that the village is conveniently located.
The YHA Hathersage Hostel
YHA Hathersage can sleep up to 42 people in the main house and the annex. At YHA Hathersage there are 17 beds in the main house and 25 within the annex. Kitchen and cooking facilities are in the main house. The lounge, dining room and drying area are also within the main house. Within the main house there are two dorm rooms, both sleeping six; a single private room and one room that sleeps four. Showers and toilets within the main house are situated on the first floor. Within the main house there is a lounge with a television; a well equipped kitchen with two cookers and a hob, two fridges (one with a small freezer box), designated re-cycling boxes and an area to store food. The drying room is in the cellar and can be accessed from within the house or from outside. To the front of the main house there is a garden area with three picnic benches.
Situated just across the car park from the main hostel building is the annex. In the annex there are three six bed rooms, a four bed en-suite room and a two bed en-suite room which has disabled access and its own entrance. This room contains one single bed and one 3/4 size double. All rooms in the hostel have a sink within the room. There are two toilets and two showers available for use and all guests staying in the annex have access to the facilities in the main hostel building. There is 24 hour access to both buildings after check in.
One of the most varied national parks in the country is also its oldest. The 555 square miles of the Peak District are packed with things to do. Nature lovers, birdwatchers, school groups, and people interested in history can all find something fun to do there. We tried five different kinds of Peak District days out. Which ones do you like?
For people who like to watch wildlife Dovedale is known for its beauty, with its steep slopes, ash forests, and a river that is as clear as a vodka drink. When we went, which wasn’t during the school break, both banks were already full of people just strolling around for fun. But one great thing about Dovedale is that it gets quieter as you walk. There’s more wildlife to see when it’s quiet. We found a beautiful, quiet spot by the river near Sharplow Dale, put our feet in the water, and waited.
First came a pair of mallard ducks, then a family of six ducklings and their fussy mother. We saw a chaffinch and a naughty coal tit in the alder trees that provided shade for the river. On the ground, a grey wagtail flew back and forth along the edge of the water. There were fish and grayling in the river itself. The graylings were so well hidden that they looked like they disappeared in an instant. But what really got my attention was a little brown bird pelting quietly upriver. Its wings were beating just above the water, and you could tell it was a bird because it had white feathers on its chest.
Dippers are the birds that make Dovedale unique, but they aren’t always easy to see. We followed it upriver, and ten minutes later we saw it again, busying itself on the far bank. It flew back and forth, and at one point it submerged totally. Some people may not like Dovedale, but if you give it enough time, you can see the benefits.
For people who walk during the day There are ten YHAs in the Peak District, and each one has its own treats for walkers who want to spend the day in the Peak District. We stayed at YHA Edale, which is the park’s most northern hotel, as a base for a nice walk up to the edge of Kinder Scout. Hikers love the plateau for its part in the right-to-roam movement, but it’s particularly hard to get around on foot. This walk, however, stayed on the edges of the grassland. With a map and the basic knowledge to read it, getting lost was about as likely as running out of jelly beans (we had plenty).
The path we took took us from the hotel across to Edale and then up the long, fun, steep slope of Grindsbrook Clough. Once we got to the plateau, we went around Grindslow Knoll and kept going west on the well-marked trail. The most important thing to remember is to keep the steep part of the descent on your left. After a couple of miles of beautiful rim walking, we came across the Pennine Way, which went down Jacob’s Ladder and slowly wound its way back towards Edale. Along the way, we saw many of those crazy giant rock formations that seem to have bubbled out of the moor for no reason. A great walk. Give yourself four or five hours.
To food lovers This is the most important thing you should know about Bakewell puddings. Pies are what you call them, not tarts. They also don’t look much like the Mr. Kipling kind. Many people think of Bakewell as the “capital” of the Peak District, but the town has been known for its puddings since the 1860s, when a stressed-out cook tried to make a strawberry tart but poured the egg mixture over the fruit instead. These days, there are two restaurants that say they are the “original” ones. So that we could do study, we took samples of both. Which one should I pick? We started at Bloomers (“we have the original recipe,” the server said, “the other place has the original premises”) and then went to the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, which was much busier. What was the verdict? We love an outsider, but even though we thought Bloomers would win, the OOBPS did better: they had a better texture, flakier dough, a fresher taste, and a fuller flavour. Please give us more!
For the past One of Britain’s least-known ancient sites is just a ten-minute drive from YHA Youlgreave. It’s hidden away on high fields in the White Peak. Arbour Low is a circle of stones that has been called the “Stonehenge of the North.” It is thought to be about 4,500 years old. We got there early in the morning (bring a pound to put in a tin to get through the farmyard) and had the place all to ourselves, except for two other guests who left soon after. The stones are flat instead of standing up; the idea is that early Christians pushed them over because they thought the pagan symbols were too much. Regardless, it’s a very eerie place. The henge’s thick earth walls offer wide views of the hills, and the limestone slabs themselves whisper stories of people who lived in the past. We saw a gift of fruit, flowers, and feathers on the centre stone as we walked around. Few tourists take the time to see Arbour Low, but those who do remember it.
To help families There are many beautiful stately homes in the Peak District. Some of them, like YHA Hartington Hall and YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, are now hotels. But Chatsworth, the family home of the Duke of Devonshire, is the most beautiful, largest, and grandest of them all. There are acres of fields and lakes on the grounds alone, which are enough to make you fall in love. But besides the setting and history, it’s also family-friendly.
We didn’t know if we should spend more time exploring the house or just staying in the yard and grounds during our visit. The outdoors won. The Little Explorers’ garden path has a human sundial and a real hedge maze. There is also a working farmyard with donkeys, sheep, and even milking demonstrations, as well as a forest adventure playground that might or might not have trampolines, diggers, and zipwires. It’s not likely that kids will have a lot of energy to burn when they get home.