Dining Out In Derbyshire

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The Horse & Jockey – Wessington

Thursday is ‘veg box’ day! Many months ago we embraced the spirit of the eco culture and decided that a weekly, organic veg box would be a great idea. The fridge and the larder were not at their usual ‘straining at the seams’ capacity and so it was with great bravado I announced that I […]

The Holly Bush – Marehay

The Holly Bush at Marehay has always been a favourite haunt for good pub food. David and Lorraine Hilton, veterans in the ‘pub running’ industry, have, since buying the Holly Bush in 2009, continued in their tradition of providing honest to goodness food and drink at very reasonable prices in a very friendly and homely […]

Eating at The Sea Fish Restaurant – Ripley

I just love it when somewhere that you visit regularly yields a hidden surprise. Having often called at the Sea Fish Restaurant, Cromford Road, Ripley on late nights of press week to enjoy the excellent fish served there I have never looked beyond the take away counter, so asked to visit and sample their lunch time […]

Dining at The Bulls Head

Set in the rural village of Denby, and on the doorstep of Derby and Ripley, The Bulls Head has been under private ownership for the past twelve months. During this time its reputation for serving good food at an affordable price has grown and grown. To the rear of the large car park is a […]

Dining at The Elaichi – Belper

Thinking back, it must have been 30 years ago when Susan and I, fresh with the knowledge of what a good curry should taste like, took our two young nephews on their first outing to an Indian restaurant for an evening meal. We parked our tangerine Datsun Sunny on piece of wasteland in a dodgy […]

Dining at The Marquis

One of the most dominant feelings I left The Marquis of Ormonde with was the relaxed, cheerful atmosphere of the place. Keli the owner has a welcoming and happy disposition that immediately makes you feel at home and easy listening music covers any hush as the restaurant fills. Whether you’re popping in for lunch, calling […]

Dining at Biggin Hall

Of all the seasons I think Spring is my favourite. It’s the fresh, green colours and lengthening, warmer days. With that extra daylight in the evening the drive to Biggin-by-Hartington was a tour of Derbyshire landscapes. From the wooded Derwent Valley, through the steep sided Via Gellia and on to the limestone dales every view […]


Walking In Derbyshire

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Walk from Ilam Hall down the Manifold

Tucked away on a tree shrouded bend of the River Manifold, Ilam village was built in the 1830s on the instructions of Jesse Watts-Russell. The original Victorian houses forming the village still echo the fairytale image of the settlement, built at a time when skilful labour was cheap. It was also a time when people […]

Walk around Ashover

Ashover and the upper reaches of the Amber Valley has always been one of my favourite walking areas. Surprisingly it is not all that well walked, maybe it gets overlooked by its proximity to the Peak District’s moors and dales, but it does deserve to be better known. As an indication of its lack of […]

Walk around Wirksworth

This is probably the shortest walk I have taken. Although only 2½ miles or thereabouts it is full of historical interest and if, like me you do a bit of exploring, then it can become an all- day walk. Directly from the start, the walk enters the realms of Wirksworth’s lead mining history.  The stubby […]

Walk Cutthroat Bridge

The rather macabre title of this walk across the Derwent Moors links back to a grim day in 1635 when a traveller was found with his throat slashed from ear to ear.  Amazingly he was still alive, but unable to speak and tell his rescuers who he was. Possibly he was a merchant making his […]

Walk around Tideswell Dale

The words sylvan, tranquility and arcadian easily come to mind when describing the beauties of Monsal Dale and its tributary, Cressbrook. Superb walking dales they might be, especially in fine weather, but unfortunately during spells of rain or during wintertime, the walking underfoot can be rather tiring.  Mud and an overflowing river can make life […]

Walk around Stoney Middleton

On the look-out for Black Harry In the eighteenth century the road from Stoney Middleton rather than follow the route of the present A623 to Peak Forest, climbed out of the narrow dale to cross the high limestone moors. It was here that a notorious highwayman called Black Harry waylaid innocent travellers, robbing them of […]


Derbyshire Lost houses

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Lost Houses – Hasland House

Hasland is one of the many outliers of the Manor of Chesterfield, and was long held by the ancient family of Linacre, under whom it was, in the 15th century, tenanted by a cadet branch of the Leakes of Sutton Scarsdale. Thomas Leake of Hasland, for instance, was Bess of Hardwick’s maternal grandfather. After the […]

Derwent Bank at Darley Abbey

Last month I wrote of an extraordinary house designed by the Derby amateur architect, banker, tax official and serial Mayor of Derby Alderman Richard Leaper (1759-1838), Mill Hill. Poor Leaper’s oeuvre has suffered rather badly from 20th century demolitions, however, so I thought we ought to look at another of his lost houses whilst the […]

Lost Houses – Barbrook Edensor

It is unfortunate that the first really substantial house that Sir Joseph Paxton built was knocked down in the early 1960s, for today, I suspect, it would be greatly valued as an early example of the architectural talents of this highly talented man. It was built for himself, was grade II listed, but, when it […]

Lost Houses – Abbot’s Hill House

It is very difficult to imagine, when looking at Derby’s Babington Lane with its endless tail-backs of ’buses, that less than a century ago it was virtually rus in urbe: the countryside in town par excellence. Indeed, the last owner of Abbot’s Hill House, that stood for just on two centuries between Babington and Green […]

Lost Houses – Sutton Scarsdale

The Arkwright family always did things in a big way. After all, was not Richard Arkwright junior – the cotton entrepreneur Sir Richard’s only son – called the “Richest Commoner in England”? Young Richard had six sons and four had estates bestowed upon them, on which to put down roots, the exceptions being Richard, the […]

Lost Houses – Potlock House

Potlock – the name derives from Old English ‘potte’ (depression) and  ‘lacu’ (stream) has had a long history. The site is crossed E-W by one of Derbyshire’s two Neolithic cursus monuments, huge communal enterprises of unknown utility, which are today only visible as crop marks and, in the case of this one, as a geophysics […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested

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TIGI Catwalk Haircare Review

Look Good Enough for the Catwalk Your Highness Shampoo For body and movement Features: Sweet almond oil, glycerin, conditioning agent (polyquaternium-10) Benefits: Enhances volume and body whilst delivering weightless moisture. Helps defend against statics and flyways. Designed to be colour safe. Headshot Conditioner For chemically treated hair Features: This intense reconstructor, with ingredients that penetrate the hair fibre, […]

Lipomassage at Prestige Beauty

Prestige beauty is a very stylish and visually opulent salon that dominates the Market Place in the very historic and popular, up and coming town of Belper. The entrepreneurial owner of this fabulous establishment, Susan Basile, has spent over 16 years in the industry and has a wealth of valuable knowledge within her field of […]

Tried & Tested – Liz Earle

We are a Great British beauty brand founded in 1995. Passionate about all that we do, we create products that really work for all ages and skin types by harnessing the potent powers of the finest quality naturally active ingredients. Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash £12 200ml Containing uplifting citrus aromas, this gentle body wash […]

Tried & Tested – Clarins

Restoration Time with Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Lotion SPF15 £57 Helps to lift, firm and define Perfect for women in their 40s and above, this day lotion with sun protection offers an incredible feeling of comfort and gives a ‘lift’ effect upon application for immediate beauty results. Day after day, it helps to reinforce […]

Tried & Tested – Aveda

Vision Connecting beauty, environment and well-being. Mission Our mission at Aveda is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make, to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, […]

Tried & Tested – Weleda

Naturally nourished with Weleda. Citrus Hand and Nail Cream £9.95 50ml The new Citrus Hand and Nail Cream leaves your skin velvety soft and your nails beautifully strong. The rich, nourishing formulation with extracts of calendula and viola tricolor (wild pansy) keeps even chapped hands soothed and smoothed. Natural carnauba and wool wax protect fragile […]

Featured Articles

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Three Gardens in South Wales

The coal barons of South Wales made their wealth from the sweat of miners delving deep beneath the wild moors of the Rhondda and surrounding valleys.  The waste from their efforts was built into synthetic mountains of glistening slag that eventually snuffed out the lives of innocent children. Some of the mansions paid for by […]

Riber Castle Rebirth

For years Riber Castle, Smedley’s Folly has suffered from neglect and unless something was done to save it from oblivion, Matlock’s benevolent guardian could well have disappeared for ever.  That ‘something’, as Brian Spencer discovered is the work currently being carried out by Cross Tower Ventures who, without altering the appearance of Grade II Listed […]

Lady Arbella Stuart

Derbyshire’s would-be Queen of England Hardwick Hall – ‘More Window than Wall’ was four-times married Bess of Hardwick’s crowning masterpiece.  An ambitious woman whose successive marriages had left her the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. She planned her ‘New House’ at Hardwick to be a palace fit for the Queen of England; […]

Nottingham Galleries of Justice

In his third visit to Nottingham’s historical features, Brian Spencer finds that although the Galleries of Justice are not exactly suitable for anyone a touch squeamish, it gives a fascinating insight to the way crime and punishment were dealt with not all that long ago. In order to experience what it would have been for […]

Nottingham’s Caves

Brian Spencer goes below ground to find links with Nottingham’s subterranean past. During pre-history the land on which Nottingham is built was part of a huge desert stretching as far as Mansfield.  This desert was frequently washed by floodwaters that left the pebbles now featuring prominently where the weathered red sandstone is open to view. […]

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

Across from Birmingham’s New Street Station and past the city’s incongruous statue better known as the ‘Floozy in the Jacuzzi’ signposts point the way past the massive buildings housing the Council House and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The direction we were following was to the Jewellery Quarter. Until the rapid expansion brought about by […]