Manifold Valley Peak District Camping Weekend
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Come and join us for a weekend of simple camping in the South West of the Peak District. Big Hillsdale Farm is situated in between the two lovely villages of Butterton and Grindon, over looking the Manifold Valley. It is a small family run campsite alongside a working farm.
The limestone rock that forms the geology of this area is the fossilised remains of sea creatures that lived in a shallow tropical sea over the area during the Carboniferous period, about 350 million years ago. During the two ice ages, the limestone rock (known as reef limestone) was cut into craggy shapes by glacial meltwater, and dry caves such as Thor's cave and Dove Holes were eventually formed.
The jumble of interlocking hills that tumble over one other to form the Manifold Valley is considered one of England's great natural wonders.
A basic campsite providing clean toilets, shower and washing up area.
For more information on the campsite facilities, please review the "What to Bring" section below.
Campervans, motorhomes and caravans:
Cannot be located on the tent camping field and will need to be pitched on a separate hard standing area. To enquire about availability, contact the OutdoorLads office on firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be an additional cost involved.
Well behaved dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a lead and are looked after by their owners at all times. A fee is payable for each dog on arrival directly to the campsite.
Day Walk Options
Several different walk options are available to us, with the possibility of exploring the Manifold Valley, Dove Dale, or both! Which we decide to explore will be decided nearer the time, or if sufficient leaders are available, we may be able to offer both options.
Manifold Valley and Dove Dale
An excellent walk would take us across along the Manifold Trail, which follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway, through the Manifold and Hamps Valleys.
A relatively easy, though long-ish walk of 22km (13.5 miles) would take us initially along the Manifold Valley and up to Thor's Cave.
From there across through Wetton and down into Dove Dale, before returning via Ilam and the Manifold Way along the River Hamps. This walk can be shortened somewhat if need be.
We would need to car-share and drive a short distance down to the Manifold River to shave about 5km off the total walk (and to avoid a hard up-hill slog at the end). We may nip up to Wetton after the walk for a pint.
A shorter option (14km / 9 miles) is to walk from the campsite down into and along the Manifold Valley, including a short visit up to Thor's Cave and past Beeston Tor, before returning across fields to the campsite.
What to bring
As ever, even though it’s summer, the weather may be unpredictable. Please ensure you have adequate layers to keep warm and waterproofs to keep you dry. Although the paths themselves mostly are well-trodden and maintained, it may be a little wet and muddy underfoot after rain, so you'll need decent boots.
Please review the information provided on the My First Walk Event page on the ODL website for more information on walking kit.
Note that this is only a guide and you will need to consider the weather forecast.
A tent is, of course, essential! You should make sure that you have pitched the tent previously, and have all parts, such as poles and pegs. The tent should also be able to stand up to the changeable weather. A 3-season tent is recommended to provide a minimum levels of protection.
Sleeping Bag / Mat:
You should look for a sleeping bag that provides adequate warmth, below the temperature that you may expect. A decent sleeping mat is also essential – a ‘thermarest’ inflatable mat or a thick rubber yoga-style mat is essential to insulate you from the cold of the ground.
Cooking / Eating Equipment:
Campers should bring some kind of cooking equipment so that they can cook hot meals and prepare a decent cuppa. Check you have fuel for your camp stove and you know how it works. The bare minimum for eating is a mug, bowl or plate and cutlery. Additional equipment such as chopping board, sharp knife, grater, wooden spoon, etc. depending on what you plan to cook.
Even if you plan to drive to the pub to eat, it’s worth having some cooking equipment to prepare breakfast and hot drinks.
Sponge / scourer, detergent and tea towel
Don't forget a torch, or better still, a head torch
If you're unsure about any of the items in the kit list, please contact the leader.
The campsite consists of one large camping fields protected by trees and a drystone wall all around.
Facilities on site include:
- Flush toilets
- Wash basins with hot water
- Shower facilities
- Washing up points with hot water
- Waste bins and recycling
- Drinking water is readily available
Campfires are allowed, but best to ensure that they are off the grass. Wood can be purchased from the owners.
Food & drink
As this is a camping event, please bring all your own food and drink for the weekend.
At the very least you will need food for two breakfasts at the campsite and also a packed lunch for Saturday’s walk.
You may choose to cook at your tent, alternatively you may wish to go as a group to a local pub. Note that no pubs are within easy walking distance from the campsite.
There is no shop close to the campsite. The closest shops of any consequence are in Ashbourne and Leek, several miles from Big Hillsdale Farm - although some villages such as Hartington have quite well-stocked small village shops.