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Oaker Farm

UK England East Midlands Derbyshire Hope

Oaker Farm, Lose Hill Lane, Off Edale Road, Hope, Derbyshire S33 6AF

A romantic hideaway in the heart of the Peak District National Park
To the north of the Hope valley a dramatic ridge runs, connecting mighty Mam Tor, known as ‘the shivering mountain’, to Lose Hill on it’s western end. It’s top has become a popular point for paragliders, launching softly into the air and gently gliding across the valleys below. The views, no doubt, are stunning. Even on ground level the snaking River Noe and the clustered villages of Castleton and Hope have a storybook charm about them, from above, the green, sheep speckled scenery must take on another life altogether. Sadly not all of us have the equipment (or the head for heights) to try it.

At the foot of Lose Hill only a keen-eyed aviator would spot Oaker Farm. Though there for centuries, the old stone buildings are diminutive against the backdrop of the climbing slopes, something only accentuated by the long no-through road you drive to reach it, crowded on it’s edges by trees and ever narrowing as you drive closer and closer to the farm. The effect is to give a slightly cut-off and isolated feel, perfect for a quiet holiday, yet in reality the farm still has easy access back out to the villages and towns of the Peaks.

It’s in the garden beyond Oaker Farm that our real attention is drawn; a traditionally styled shepherd’s hut, though one far larger than original huts of old, stands over looking the lower meadows of the valley. Inside the airy space has more of a refurbed farm cottage feel than that of humble shepherd origins. There’s under floor heating, a fully fitted kitchen and an en-suite shower room with towels and toiletries. Modern double glazed windows are yet another 21st-century feature, with large French window-style doors that let the outside in and still provide some sense of ‘camping’ in the great outdoors while still ensconced in modern comforts.

On winter evenings there’s nowhere better to shut yourself away, stoke the log burner and watch a sneaky bit of television – though the nearest pub, The Cheshire Cheese Inn, certainly gives the hut a real run for it’s money. The old brick building has a host of real ales on tap, hearty English grub and folk music sessions a couple of nights each month. It’s the kind of place real shepherd’s hang out of an evening, enjoying the community feel and the warmth of open fires. How ironic that now visitors head back to their huts while the sheep farmers head back to their homes – a quirky time warp in our modern world!

Walkers are the obvious winners in the area, with exceptional routes throughout this area, including climbs back up to Mam Tor and along the heather strewn top of Kinder Scout to Kinder Downfall. This beautiful, cascading waterfall is a popular route in the White Peak area and the highest waterfalls in the national park. Mountain and road cyclists too, have plenty of options here and the pretty local settlements leave more laid-back pursuits for culture seekers. Try a café stop in Castleton, guarded by cliff-top Peveril Castle, or drive to magnificent Chatsworth House for a day visit in the 18th-century manor and it’s expansive grounds.

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