We decided on an autumnal trip out to Crich in Derbyshire. Tim booked us into the Caravan Club Certified Location site at Standcliffe House, which is situated right next to Crich Tramway Village, which Jim and I had been to some 20 years before. We ignored the SatNav, which decided that whatever we did we WERE going to go through Sheffield, and followed our noses to Glossop and down along the A6, through Bakewell, Buxton and Matlock Bath. We arrived just after lunch to find Tim and Dave, along with Adrian, were already there. Adrian wasnâ€™t in the best of moods as that morning, his neighbour reversed into his six month old motorhome, damaging the rear corner. The site was on a slight slope, but there was a level(ish) hard-standing pitch for motorhomes. To one side of the site is the Crich Memorial Tower, dedicated to the Sherwood Foresters who have died in battle. We took a walk to the tower at the top of the hill, enjoying the unusually mild weather. As soon as we got to the top the heavens opened, resulting in 5 wet campers and 2 drenched dogs That evening we had, what has become a camping tradition, my home-made lasagne for tea and watched a film.
The next morning the good weather I had ordered arrived on cue and while we were enjoying bacon butties in the sun, we decided to go to Matlock Bath, which is just a couple of miles down the road. This picturesque Victorian Spa town lies alongside the River Derwent and became popular in the 19th century with the likes of Lord Byron and Josiah Wedgwood who sampled the spa baths fed by hot springs.
Adrian wanted to go on the cable car from the village to the Heights Of Abraham, which is a park set on top of Masson Hill. Not being a lover of heights I was not looking forward to the trip, although it wasnâ€™t as bad as I had expected. Once at the top we were pleasantly surprised at the park and its attractions, There was a modern licensed cafÃ©, two caverns with tour guides, exhibition spaces and shops â€“ all meticulously maintained.Â Later we took a walk down the main street. In more recent years Matlock Bath has become a popular destination for bikers and many of the shops now cater for their needs. There are many Fish and Chip shops offering â€˜miniâ€™ sized portions for Â£3, and I have to say they were some of the best Iâ€™ve had in years (and there was nothing mini about the portions). The hot spring fed baths are now home to an aquarium with the baths themselves housing a collection of Koi Carp. There was also an exhibition of holograms â€“ well worth the entrance fee of Â£2.90 (the dogs got in free).
After another outdoor breakfast (this one even cooked outside), the plan for Sunday was to call in at a large car boot sale, which was en-route to The Vintage Festival of Light in Ashover. This was organised by the South Wingfield and District Classic Tractor Group and showcased not only tractors but classic cars, traction engines, stationary engines, live entertainment, craft stalls and military vehicles.
From there we went back to the campsite and headed off to the Tramway Village, which houses the National Tramway Museum, set in a period village with shops, cafes and museums as well as educational exhibitions.
The site utilises the â€˜mineral railway at Cliff Quarry, which was constructed by George Stephenson. The entrance fee to the Tramway Village also gives free entry for 12 months, enough of an excuse to visit this area again soon!