4-Night Explore Nature in the Peak District

Dipper, Cinclus cinclus, single bird on rock, Powys, Wales, April 2012
Duration: 4 nights
Interests: Explore Nature

The Derbyshire Dales offer a range of natural environments and habitats which support a fabulous range of wildlife. Rivers provide a rich habitat which supports an array of fish, insects, birds and plant species. The area is home to a good population of dippers which can often be seen hunting for insects from atop boulders where there is a suitable current and water depth. Hartington Meadows Nature Reserve protects an area of wildflower meadow while Ilam Park is home to a variety of birds including curlew and snipe. At Chatsworth Park a river walk may reward with sand martins and common sandpipers while time spent in limestone valleys and on gritstone edges gives a great opportunity to view interesting geological formations. The area is home to several breeding pairs of peregrine falcons as well as goshawks and you might just be lucky enough to spot them!

Holiday Highlights

  • Spend your days with fellow nature enthusiasts
  • Discover the best local flora and fauna
  • Understand more about the world around you
  • Explore the area with your expert HF Holidays Leader

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays Leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • If applicable, all essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or another mode of transport, e.g. boat
  • If applicable, all entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.

In the morning we will travel by coach to Hartington Meadows Nature Reserve, a haven for a variety of wildflower species. The grassland here is managed as part of a working farm with the long grass being cut in mid-July to encourage meadow flowers to thrive. There is also a disused limestone quarry here where smaller plants flourish in their own habitat niches. A short, gentle-paced walk between the villages of Alstonfield and Milldale reveals some of the mosses and lichens which cling to the drystone walls while a walk along the River Dove gives the opportunity to spot heron and dippers. The area is also home to peregrine falcons and we might just be lucky enough to spot one!

Walks: 4.5 miles with 400 feet of ascent and 700 feet of descent

Today we’ll take in Froggat and Curbar Edges to find out how these gritstone features formed. We’ll also enjoy the views over the Derwent Valley and surrounding countryside and there’s the chance to spot moorland birds and perhaps even red deer. The afternoon is spent in and around the grounds of Chatsworth House. The river banks here are home to common sandpiper, sand martins, kingfisher and dipper while in the surrounding woods live all three of the UK’s woodpecker species, woodcock and hawfinch.

Walks: 3 miles with 300 feet of ascent

Today we will walk on foot directly from Peveril of the Peak along the Dove Valley taking in parts of the Dovedale National Nature Reserve. The area has internationally important stretches of ancient ash woodland, wildflowers and river species. The route passes Thorpe Cloud – a conical limestone hill which stands alone, looming above the River Dove. This is a good opportunity to learn more about the area’s interesting limestone geology and how some rivers flow part of their route underground. We’ll also walk alongside the Dove’s ‘sister river’ - the Manifold and carry on to walk through the woodlands of Ilam Park which are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We’ll look out for bird species such as dipper, curlew and snipe along the way as well as a variety of woodland and moorland species.

Walks: 6 miles with 750 feet of ascent

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.

The Peveril of the Peak

The Peveril of the Peak, named after Sir Walter Scott’s novel, stands proudly in the Peak District countryside, close to the village of Thorpe. Backed by the cone of Thorpe Cloud, which guards the entrance to Dovedale Gorge and the famous stepping stones at the entrance to the gorge, it’s an ideal base for people hoping to explore the Derbyshire countryside. Surrounded by extensive grounds and rolling countryside, it’s a picturesque retreat with 46 rooms, large shared spaces and a pleasant bar. Stride out from the house to find Dovedale’s wooded ravine, cave-like Dove Holes and of course stepping stones. Upstream lie the heights nicknamed the Dovedale Castle and the Twelve Apostles, best viewed from the grassy spur called Lovers’ Leap. While the Peak bit of the area name refers to small English hills rather than great summits, there’s superb walking to be had on the Roaches and the gritstone escarpment of Stanage Edge, while Chatsworth, Tissington and Bakewell make attractive places to explore too.



Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house. With 46 rooms, Peveril of the Peak has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic and Premium Rooms to choose from. Room 2 on the ground floor (accessible via 7 steps down from reception) is spacious and attractively styled with a door opening on to the grounds while the Chatsworth Room has a four-poster bed to recline on.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger televisions – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge, bar, ballroom, library and board games to borrow

After a day delving into the Dovedale Gorge or exploring the Peak District, return to the house. Relax on the patio with a coffee or cold drink and soak up the wide-ranging countryside views. Take a turn through the garden and look out for the small canon on one of the lawns. Make your way inside to sit comfortably in the lounge where there’s a stash of wood and a log burner for those colder days or snag a seat in the bar with your fellow guests and sip a great local ale by the large windows.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at the Peveril of the Peak is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for The Peveril of the Peak

10662_0065 - Peveril of the Peak - Exterior

Getting to The Peveril of the Peak

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

On Explore Nature holidays, you will be outdoors for the full day, so be sure to bring outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs. You will also need strong and comfortable footwear with good tread. If there's warm weather, a sun hat, suncream and sunglasses may be useful.

Please also bring binoculars to ensure you get the most from your Explore Nature holiday.

You may also wish to bring a telescope, camera, water bottle or a thermos flask.

Phil Apchin

Philippe’s enthusiasm for the natural world developed when working as a scuba-diving instructor and underwater naturalist all over the world.

Originally from France, he fell in love with the UK in 2004 and started exploring the country mountain biking, fell running, birdwatching and hill walking.

Now a full-time Mountain Leader, Philippe is leading walking holidays in the UK and in France and bespoke birdwatching tours in Provence. At home in Bath, he regularly guides country walks as a volunteer Cotswold Warden

Philippe is a generalist leader with a passion to share his wide range of interests in birdwatching, wildlife, wildflowers, geography and geology developed through his experience in the field and attending online university courses.

Guest Reviews

4 nights
Explore Nature

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