After the success of our trip last year, we’re heading back to Cumberland Cottage near Wildboarclough in the Cheshire Peak District, the weekend of 14 – 16 June.
The cottage is a wonderfully characterful 18th century stone hunting lodge set about half a mile from the road (and car park) in the unspoiled valley of the Cumberland Brook as it tumbles down from the high moors of Macclesfield Forest. Although it’s very basic, there’s a special feeling after walking up the track there of having reached somewhere special, a hidden refuge completely removed from civilization. After a day in the wild it’s lovely and cosy to sit in front of the log fire, and in the morning it’s glorious to wake up and find yourself surrounded by nature.
The cottage isn’t totally cut off; there are various pubs nearby, and last year we enjoyed eating at both the Crag Inn at Wildboarclough and the Stanley Arms at Bottom of the Oven (both with real ale, restaurant and log fires – which hopefully we won’t need in June as it’ll have warmed up by then… won’t it?); walking along the dark lanes beside the Clough Brook to the Crag Inn is another special experience.
Once you leave the cottage and head out into the Peak District there’s more to experience. Near the border of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire, the cottage gives good access by foot (or further afield by car) to some great walking country – and maybe we won’t encounter guard geese this time Leanne 🙂 Of course if it’s raining there’s plenty to do nearby in Buxton or other towns and villages of the Peak District.
The cottage does provide extremely basic accommodation, so you’ll need to be prepared – if you like the idea, it’s quite fun to go out and get water from the spring; if you want all (any) mod cons this isn’t the place for you. There’s no electricity, with the only light coming from (weak) gas lights. Water comes from a spring a short distance outside the cottage; the gas stove means we can get hot water for tea and coffee! The bunks upstairs are both basic and characterful – basic foam mattresses in very sturdy wooden structures that feel almost as old as the rest of the cottage. And the chemical toilet in the yard serves its purpose.
Depending on what people feel like we’ll probably head to one of the pubs for a meal on Friday evening after arriving and unpacking. On Saturday we’ll have a hearty breakfast then head out for a walk around the area, followed by the possibility of games around the cottage, a BBQ or a trip to another pub (why not all three?) On Sunday we’ll have a more relaxed breakfast, then possibly a more gentle walk or some sightseeing before heading back to Chester.
The cottage itself is great value at just £5.75 per person per night, so that’s a bargain at £11.50 for a weekend away in some glorious countryside. And it’s only 80 minutes’ drive from Chester, so no problem at all to get there.