… not that the Duke and Duchess knew we were there of course! We had booked in at the Caravan Club’s Chatsworth Park site for a couple of nights. Considering the weather so far this year it was kind of a gamble as to what we were going to get. Friday 31st Jan started off dry although another front was forecast to arrive hitting the south-west and west coast up to the Scottish borders with strong winds and rain. As you can’t arrive before 1:00pm at the site due to the limited access road, we didn’t leave home till around 11:30 to pick up the caravan from storage, and we had just coupled up as it started to rain. The drive out of Stockport along the A6 heading out past Lyme Park and on to Chapel-en-le-Frith wasn’t too bad and by the time we turned onto the A623 just through Chapel we lost most of the traffic and with nothing behind us is was a pleasant run even if it was raining over the hills towards Stony Middleton. As we passed through Baslow, we turned left onto the A619 for around 400 yards before the right turn into the private road that leads through the Chatsworth Estate to the site.
(NOTE: DO NOT follow your sat-nav for the post code of the Caravan Club site… you will end up in the car park for Chatsworth House…. and no we didn’t before you ask!)
We timed the arrival perfectly pulling into the access road at 1:06 and followed it for about three-quarters of a mile. Just before you enter the site you have to cross a stone bridge which can at first appearance look tight, but in fact there is plenty of room. Just be careful as you swing through the old farmyard though. By the time we pulled up is was fair piddling down… the kind of rain that makes you really wet and drips off the end of your nose. One of the wardens, who was well prepared for the rain sporting a rather effective Tilly hat, marshalled us up to the stop line and pointed us in the direction of reception where we could check in. We had booked one of the super pitches and I had already downloaded a copy of the site plan, so we knew where to head. (Being able to download site plans from the Caravan Club website is very handy as you can check where types of pitches are and the direction that the sun may appear from… Ha!). Once you are pitched you go back to reception and tell them which pitch number you are on. You then get issued a key. The camp site is actually in the old walled Chatsworth House gardens and the key lets you into to the estate… so effectively you get your own key to Chatsworth!
Saturday 1st February
The rain that had lasted all Friday had blown through overnight and Saturday morning was windy with mainly blue sky. We set off through the gate into the Chatsworth Estate using our ‘own’ key and walked up towards Chatsworth House. The path follows the River Derwent which was high and flowing quite fast. We were walking into a head wind that definitely had a chill factor about it. A lot of the dips in the ground were full of water, a sign of just how much rain we have had in the past few weeks. The main house is closed this time of year and we wandered round to the stable block for morning coffee in the restaurant. When we checked in at the site, we were given vouchers for 10% discount in the farm shop and restaurant so after finishing our morning coffee decided that the farm shop would be our next stop. We strolled round some of the grounds before heading back to the caravan to pick up the car and drive to the farm shop. If the weather had been a little more favourable to walking, we probably would have gone on foot, but by now the clouds were blowing in and the bit of blue sky seen early on had disappeared.
Chatsworth Farm Shop and Restaurant is in Pilsey a couple of miles from the main house. By the time we arrived it was approaching lunch time so it seemed only right to have a spot of lunch in the restaurant. Sue chose the Three Cheese Flan and I could not turn down the Steak & Ale pie. All I can say is if you go to Chatsworth you must have lunch at the Farm Shop Restaurant… its 5 star food and good value.
Shopping basket in hand we toured the farm shop… and inevitably started filling the basket… Most of the produce comes from Chatsworth Estate or local companies around the area. It’s not as cheap as your local supermarket but like anything, you get what you pay for in terms of quality… and we like to support local producers when we can. By now it was raining again so we headed off back to the van to catch up on a bit of Six Nations rugby.
If you are staying at Chatsworth Park CC site or any of the other local caravan sites in the Peak District, it’s well worth a visit to the Farm Shop and Restaurant. Do check the opening times….
Sunday 2nd Feb
Isn’t it always the way… the day you are leaving, the wind dies down, the skies clear and the sun shines… ho hum. The drive back was easy as there was very little traffic and coming over the hills on the A623 we had some great views of the Peak District in the mid morning sunshine.
Well our first trip of 2014 was over, the caravan was fine and no problems to report except a major one with our Omnivent. The last couple of time we used it, if is was set to anything other than the lowest speed, it would cut out after a couple of minutes. This time, when I turned it on it would only go to full power on extract. I could not adjust the speed or switch it to intake mode. Doing a bit of research, it would seem that there is a problem with the circuit boards and some people have had them replaced under warranty. I’ve posted about it on Swift Talk.
This was our 31st trip out in the caravan and we already have a few more booked and in the planning stage. A return visit in the summer to Chatsworth Park CC is one of them.
While we were at Chatsworth we had chance to tryout some new (to us) products from OLPRO… the toilet fluid, drain & pipe cleaner and inside out caravan cleaner. A full report on them coming soon!
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