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Walking The Monsal Trail and Chee Dale
Walking The Monsal Trail and Chee Dale

 Where to Park We started our walk from the Miller's Dale car park. ///serves.vibrate.ribcage If you use the postcode you'll end up in the wrong place, so we always like to use what3words, a fabulously simple navigator that will take you to any spot on earth with...

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Cycling Near The Roaches in Staffordshire
Cycling Near The Roaches in Staffordshire

Most of our cycling routes are easily manageable, but this one is a bit more extreme. Suited mostly to those nutters that can cycle up 40 degree muddy slopes and down hills at serious speed. If that sounds like you. Read on! As per the ViewRanger map above, we parked...

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Cycling The Manifold Valley
Cycling The Manifold Valley

Where is the Manifold Way? If you have your own bikes, the best place to park is in the Peak District Waterhouses Car Park. This is just behind Ye Olde Crown Hotel on the A523. If you use the what3words app, you can't fail to find it, or anything else for that matter....

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David Walliams Gangsta Granny Ride
David Walliams Gangsta Granny Ride

2021 sees the long-awaited opening of the Gangsta Granny ride at Alton Towers. This ride is based on the best selling book by David Walliams, he of "I'm a lady!" fame, swimming down the Thames and a bunch of other stuff. Oh, I forgot X Factor. Yeah, that too. Here's a...

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Walking Staffordshire – The Churnet Valley
Walking Staffordshire – The Churnet Valley

In the mistaken belief that things would probably be a lot drier in the woods, we decided to venture up Cotton Dell – a delightful wooded valley between the mayhem of Alton Towers and the tranquillity of Oakamoor. We were probably still a week or two away from the...

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Staffordshire Walks – Oakamoor & Whiston
Staffordshire Walks – Oakamoor & Whiston

The beauty of living where we are is the ability to walk in any direction, from our front door, and find ourselves in fantastic countryside. If you use the brilliant (and usually free) ViewRanger phone app, you can follow the route from here.  Just across the road...

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A Visit to Carsington Water
A Visit to Carsington Water

In keeping with my unhealthy interest in the weather, it struck me today that I wasn't sure where the term "Indian Summer" came from. I'd always imagined it was something to do with India and the fact the weather improved in September after the monsoons. But no,...

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The JCB Story
The JCB Story

The JCB Story Some of you may know that JCB (of yellow digger fame) are based just up the road from us. If you’ve driven to Alton Towers via Rocester, the chances are you’ve passed their World Headquarters – a huge shed-like building with very picturesque lakes out...

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Drone Footage of The Roaches
Drone Footage of The Roaches

Given that absolutely nothing is happening at The Laurels, in respect of fixing things that is, and that the weather was dry and warmish, we decided to take a trip to The Roaches. This isn't, as you may suspect, some hideous place where six-legged insects inhabit the...

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Well Dressing
Well Dressing

When I was first told about well dressing, I imagined a group of immaculately groomed lovies in suits and frocks. As it turns out, well dressing is pretty much as it sounds - dressing up wells. Just up the road from us is the picture-postcard village of Tissington...

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Fantasy Wire Fairies – Wish Maker

Those of you who've stayed with us already will probably have noticed the beautiful sculpture that greets you, on your way to reception. What you won't have seen, of course, is how she's actually made. During lockdown, thanks to COVID-19 we've spent a lot of time...

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Kingfishers and the Caldon Canal
Kingfishers and the Caldon Canal

This sounds like a bit of a QI question, but did you know Kingfisher feathers are actually brown in colour and not blue? Their vivid colour is actually iridescence, not pigment – the pigment is brown. Interference between different wavelengths of light reflected from...

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Alton Towers Roller Coaster Restaurant Review
Alton Towers Roller Coaster Restaurant Review

Dining With a Twist You may well have been unfortunate enough to see the odd (in many ways) video of people trying to eat and drink on a roller coaster, or the Big Dipper as us oldies used to call it. These things rarely, if ever ended well, usually resulting in the...

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A History of Oakamoor & The Churnet Valley
A History of Oakamoor & The Churnet Valley

ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTEREST AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT The Churnet Valley has a long history of industrialisation and exploitation of local minerals. Local supplies of iron ore (mined from the area to the north-west of Oakamoor), charcoal (from the immediate wooded hills and...

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Why is There Money in Trees in Dovedale?
Why is There Money in Trees in Dovedale?

Money, they say, doesn't grow on trees.  I have to tell you, that it most certainly does. Well, around here it does anyway. Before you all jump in your cars and descend on our green and pleasant bit of the country, let us explain. The money, in this case, coins, are...

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A Walk Around Ilam (9 Miles)
A Walk Around Ilam (9 Miles)

For some reason, we decided it would be a good idea to do a 9-mile circular walk from the beautiful village of Ilam as our starting point. Ilam is pronounced 'Eye lamb' by the way and not 'Ill am' as I first thought. Such stupidity will get you in trouble with locals,...

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How to Run a Luxury B&B
How to Run a Luxury B&B

Four Tips for Running a Succesful B&B One of the reasons we decided to open a B&B in the first place, apart from a lack of knowing there are a lot of Idiot Builders around, was that we'd been to dozens of them over the years, so we knew how they worked from...

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Cycling the Tissington Trail
Cycling the Tissington Trail

The Tissington Trail is part of the National Cycle Network. It runs along a disused railway (as all the best do) built in 1899, that goes from Ashbourne to Buxton. We decided to hire a bike from Ashbourne Cycle hire. Our favourite mode of transport is the tandem. This...

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The Roaches and Luds Church
The Roaches and Luds Church

Unless you've never read this blog before, you'll have heard me bang on about how much fabulous countryside there is, just minutes from our front door. To continue in that vein then, let's have a look at The Roaches. (or Les Roches as our garlic eating friends would...

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Emma Bridgewater – A Rainy Day to Remember
Emma Bridgewater – A Rainy Day to Remember

If there's one thing you can rely on in the UK - it's the weather. Yep, you can always rely on it to mess up your plans on a regular basis. Especially when you're on holiday. I've always loved holiday-makers, in the 'hot spots' of England, wandering around in their...

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