01/05/2007
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Site Selection - Rivendale Caravan and Leisure Park

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THE Peak District is blessed with dozens of campsites, but Rivendale is pretty much unique.

Ideally situated almost equidistant from the bustling tourist towns of Ashbourne, Matlock and Bakewell, this well-run site is unusual in that it sits in the bottom of a disused quarry.

Now that may not sound like a particularly attractive location for a site – until you learn that the crescent-shaped quarry has been extensively landscaped and is shielded on three sides from the breezes which otherwise buffet its elevated position within the White Peak.

The fact that the open side faces south makes it a warm and sheltered little hideaway when it would be fleece and thermals weather on more exposed sites upland sites.

At just 11 acres, it’s a pretty intimate site – made all the more so by judicious landscaping and planting which divides up the pitches into little clusters radiating out from a central amenities block like spokes in a wheel.

The facilities are clean and well-maintained, but can be busy when the site is full – as it often is. Three minutes down the tree-lined access road is the shop, reception and a lovely little bar (now non-smoking) with beer garden outside.

Here, you’ll find real ales from local brewers and simple but beautifully cooked meals. A further 26 acres adjoins the site and while some areas have been preserved solely for wildlife – helping Rivendale win five David Bellamy Gold conservation awards – the rest is ideal dog-walking territory.

The surrounding area is unspoiled Derbyshire upland dotted with tiny villages and criss-crossed by paths and cycleways such as the scenic Tissington Trail. For the reasonably fit – these little gems are best explored on foot or on two wheels rather than contributing further to the congestion that plagues the Peak District during the summer months.

Further afield lie the popular peak district towns of Buxton, Bakewell, Ashbourne and Matlock – all of which can be comfortably reached by car within 30 minutes.

Our advice is to check out the former, but unless amusement arcades, tacky gift shops and fish and chip shops are your scene, avoid the latter – especially in peak season.

Carsington Water, with its excellent recreational opportunities, is just a few miles away and Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall are not to be missed and if stately homes are your bag, it’s also worth checking with the local tourist information centre to see if nearby Tissington Hall will be open while your there. This is still a privately owned family house – complete with eccentric patriarch – and well worth a tour.

Finally, for the foodies, it’s worth seeking out a genuine Bakewell Pudding – not Tart as its often referred to – and nearby Hartington is home to one of the half dozen authentic Stilton cheese producers in the UK.




Factfile

Address Rivendale Caravan and Leisure Park, Buxton Road, Alsop en le Dale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1QU
Telephone 01335 310311
Website www.rivendalecaravanpark.co.uk
Open Feb to Jan
Directions Leave the M1 at J28 and head for Alfreton then Cromford before picking up the A5012 towards Buxton. The site is located Midway between Ashbourne and Buxton on the A515 about two miles from its junction with the A5012

To search for your perfect campsite from our large database simply click here: www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/pitchfinder/

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