Jewel of the White Peak
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Our Covid policy - pay just seven days prior to the holiday start date- as we attempt to mitigate the uncertainties surrounding Governments policies.
Join us on this "Get Active" weekend break in the" Derbyshire Dales"- with our social relaxed approach
The Derbyshire Dales - lovely river valleys and lofty moorland scenery- walking paths are superb here. Add to this, the lovely villages.built in limestone, which abound all across the area, with its famous stone boundary walls criss crossing the fields
Two and half days walking in the dales of Derbyshire. The dales dazzle in the sunlight, clean water running over limestone ground, with trout swimming happily.
Great reasons to join us
- meet new friends in a relaxed walking and social atmosphere
- beautiful countryside to walk through and enjoy
- super value for money- no single supplement
- professional, friendly walk leaders who are passionate and knowledeable about this area
- owner managed hotel with lovely food
Accommodation and food
Our base for this holiday is in Dovedale in the heart of the Peak District.
We stay at the Newton House Hotel - situated on the main Ashbourne- Buxton road just above the delightful River Dove at Milldale.
Accommodation is single en suite rooms - no sharing. Rooms have flat screen TVs as well as tea / coffee making facilities.
We eat in the hotels restaurant - three courses.Dress code is smart casual
We have lunch at one of Derbyshire's lovely country pubs, Walking starts at 9.30 am, and we generally finish for that welcome cuppa at 4.30 pm. This will give you plenty of time to get ready for dinner.
We offer you the opportunity to stay additional nights, and many people extend their weekend as they wish. Just reserve what nights you need.
Getting to the Derbyshire Dales
By train - Buxton is the nearest station some 15 miles away. Taxis readily available.See www.nationalrail.co.uk
By car - the post code for your Sat Navs is DE6 1NJ- check out www.aarouteplanner.co.uk
Full detailed journey instruction will be sent with your Joining Details prior to the holiday.
Your "Get Active" weekend break- walking with a social relaxed approach
.Our first walk is on Friday afternoon starting at 2.30pm, a two hour "get to know you "walk, with a cuppa at the end. If you cannot make that walk, then we meet on Friday evenings, at 7.00 pm, for a three course dinner and a discussion on what we are doing during the weekend. Each weekend’s walking has a different theme, to fit into the time of year, or events going on in the area.
Saturday and Sunday - two walks of about 8-10 miles from the hotel.- selected fromm the walks shown below.
Ww walk at a steady pace, We don't rush, there's too much to see and admire..
The walks are chosen from the following keynote walks in the area.
The White Peak area to the east of Dovedale and its lovely villages – Alsop en le Dale, Parwich along the way. Sometimes a short stretch along the old Buxton to Ashbourne railway - the Tissington Trail.
Down into Dovedale and up Hall Dale into the lovely village of Alstonfield and views into the Dove and Manifold valleys. Moderate grade, little real climbing, good paths - 10 miles
Along the river Dove through Milldale and passed the historic sections of the river fished by Sir Isaac Walton to the junction of Wolfscote Dale. A nice steady climb up Biggin Dale for lunch in the village of Biggin and a section of the Tissington Trail back to the hotel. 10 miles
Walk Four -Tissington and Dovedale with views of Thorpe Cloud and the Nabs
A day walk from the hotel along the Tissington Trail to the beautiful village of Tissington and onwards past Thorpe Cloud into lower Dovedale. We then follow the River Dove past incredible Limestone formations to the Nabs and a short climb up to the farmland above. Moderate grade, little real climbing, good paths – 9 miles
Meet New Friends
This weekend break is all about meeting new friends. Each holiday is designed to be a friendly, relaxed and stress free occasion. Talking is as important as walking or discovering on Short Breaks for Single Travellers holidays. We don't go in for disco's, we may use an event that is taking place in the area we are in to boost the weekends activities - but its good, old fashioned chat that makes our short breaks successful.
"Make new friends that turn into old friends - that's our motto."
You might be surprised by what fun you’ll have with people who are older or younger than you during a holiday with us, and that’s exactly the sort of atmosphere we encourage; people find it very rewarding.
It doesn’t matter what your reasons for traveling with us are, we’ve had people who are single, divorced or widowed, people who have partners that are unable to travel, and people who can’t holiday with their friends anymore as they’ve all got married themselves. There are people who want to make friends, see sights, and experience something completely new. Whatever your reason, we’ll welcome you with open arms and our friendly hosts will help you to get the most out of your holiday.
Don't worry if this is the first time you have ventured to join a group holiday - its always a bit daunting - but we will look after you, ensure that you get used to being amongst friends again - trust us to to get you back into the swing of things"
Oh - by the way - its not a dating agency - over the years we have had people meet and fall in love - but that's just chance. Our aim is that you make like minded friends - just relax and enjoy.
- a holiday right in the heart of Dovedale
- delightful, delectable, delicious, Dove walks
- superb white peak limestone dales and hills
- superb country house hotel
- no single supplement
-our relaxed social approach
- meet new friends that turn intio old friends
What you get on a Secret Hills break
- Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite
- Sole occupancy- no single supplement
- Three course dinner
- Personal service
- Expert guiding
- Transport to walks start if necessary
- A social, relaxed approach
- No single supplemen
- Joining details prior to the holiday
- Administration support from reservation to the date of your holiday
Great reasons to join us
Great reasons to join us
There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….
- We are a small friendly company
- We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
- We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
- Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
- You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
- Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
- We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
- We always use good hotels. Our hotel in beautiful Dovedale is set in lovely surroundings and the standard is really good.
- We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.
Hilary Clifford - Jewel of the White Peak, October 2020. Guided walking excellent. Organisation of holiday excellent. I love the weekend breaks – a very successful formula well done and thank you.
Colin Harrison - Jewel of the White Peak, October 2020. Extremely well organised, attention to detail and the customer service were outstanding. This was a new area to me, and it was very picturesque with lovely walking.
Mandy Hubert – Jewel of the White Peak October 2020. Extremely well organised holiday particularly in current circumstances. Hotel service excellent and friendly, coping with Covid very well. Very clean.
I did enjoy the guided walking. Keith is always very knowledgeable about the area.
Organisation I thought it was good. Quite a lot of choices of where to go.
Hotel very good. The staff were helpful. The food was good. Thanks Alan for another wonderful holiday.
This was my first secret hills experience and I loved every minute. What a wonderful group of inspiring women. Keith our guide was brilliant and did everything he could to make our stay enjoyable. The weather was lovely and walks fantastic/scenery amazing.
A brilliant experience in every way.
Derbyshire April 2019.
Keith and Christine were exceptional guides (as expected) and the walks were amazing. As usual they took very good care of all of us. The walks were interesting, sufficiently challenging and just great fun. They coped with the fact that four of us were old friends and encouraged us all to mix which we did. I cannot praise the quality of your walk leaders enough. As you can guess, I loved every moment of my holiday. As usual you did brilliantly.
Derbyshire April 2019.
Very happy with room and food. Keith was superb, lots of interesting information and looked after us well. Organisation excellent. Thank you to Secret Hills for a great get away.
Ann Wilton - April 2019
"Derbyshire Dales October 2018 I enjoyed all the walks and the leader Keith Oxby was very knowledgeable and good company. Everything organised well."
- Carol Kenny - October 2018
"Derbyshire Dales October 2018 Iloved all the guided walks, the leader was fantastic, helpful/informative/friendly, it was everything I hope it would be, I loved the experience, I didnâ€™t have to worry about anything, food included, "
- Alexandra Clifford - October 2018
Paul Russell Dovedale
- I have just got back from the Dovedale weekend and want to say a big thank you! Keith was great and the walking was fabulous – what amazing countryside. We had such fun that not even a massive downpour and some steady rain today, could dampen our enthusiasm or remove our smileKeith was excellent and very knowledgeable as well as extremely competent – we didn't get lost once.The routes which Keith chose were fabulou
Paul Gaskell Dovedale September 2017 - October 2017
- I thoroughly enjoyed the walking and the friendship from fellow guests walkers and walk leaders. Thank you for another very enjoyable walking holiday. Looking forward to the next one already!
Jayne Thompson Dovedale September 2017 - October 2017
- The organization was brilliant. Lovely couple [leaders] who did a fantastic job. Great hosts who took time to get everyone involved without pressure. They understood the group dynamics and made sure everyone got something out of the weekend
- "Dr Helen Liebling Dovedale - August 2017
- I liked the hotel very much and was pleased to stay in the main building. I thought the hotel was great with fabulous original features and a very comfortable double bed with good decorations and a kettle which was handy. I arrived on Friday evening and did the walks on Saturday and Sunday. They were both great with fantastic views and at a good pace with lovely lunches. The guide told us interesting facts about the places we passed. The group was also good and everyone got on well.
- Thanks for a great weekend and thanks to Alan our guide he went out of his way to help take my car so I could return with others on the Sunday a bit earlier
Janet Farrant- Dovedale - June 2017
- Thank you yet again for a super weekend! I really did have a great time - excellent walking and a most congenial group. It felt like being with old friends rather than folks one had just met. You did a first class job of making everything gel. My evening with Alan and the strollers was very pleasant, and it was nice not to have to eat alone. I will definitely sign up for another walk when the opportunity next presents, so I hope our paths will cross again. Very best wishes, Janet "
Nadine Jenkins- Dovedale June 2017
- Exceeded my expectations. The walking pace was good and the guide (Keith) was very entertaining with his stories
Mike Keats- Dovedale June 2017
- Just to say how much I enjoyed the weekend walking in Derbyshire.
- Despite the weather, we had two superb walks on the Saturday and Sunday taking in a good mix of the beautiful countryside.
- I particularly enjoyed the fact that we kept off the main tourist spots and were able to enjoy the open space, views and peace of the area.
- Particular thanks to Keith for leading our group. His friendliness, knowledge and being attentive to our needs was excellent - well done!
- I shall certainly be booking another weekend walking in the UK with Secret Hills!
- Mike Keats
How to book your Secret Hills Walking holiday
How to book a UK guided walking holiday
To reserve a place on any of our holidays, please follow these simple instructions.
Reserve online - once you have chosen your holiday, click on the booking button and complete the online form
OR contact us by phone or email, and we will send by post or email, a booking form to you
OR you can call us direct on 01694 723600, and we will take your reservation over the phone. Please note we cannot take credit/debit card details over the phone; you can, however, post us a cheque. Alternatively, you can pay via the Pay Pal system attached to our website, which allows you to pay either by debit/credit card, or by using your Paypal account if you have one.
We will also accept a Bank Transfer and on request we will supply our bank details to you.
It is important that you read the terms and conditions before you sign the booking form.
Note - if you are reserving a holiday within a month of the start date then the full amount is due immediately and no deposit should be paid.
Secret Hills Walking, 35, Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6BH
The Derbyshire Dales area
Derbyshire and Peak District Dales- Water on Stone
The limestone dales found in Derbyshire and the Peak District are cut by crystal clear rivers and flanked by precipitous cliffs or pinnacles. Some like Dovedale and Lathkill are extremely popular and busy, especially on fine weekends. This is hardly surprising as they are both beautiful and very accessible. Queues form at the stepping stones near the southern end of Dovedale at peak times. Others are not so well known and others, perhaps not so accessible. Many of them are now 'dry', without rippling trout streams, but nevertheless still a delight to explore.
Dovedale in Derbyshire and the Peak District, is owned by the National Trust and is farmed with many sheep on the rocky slopes and in the woods. It is little more than 3 miles distance between Thorpe and Milldale in the north and the famous part is the wooded ravine between the stepping stones,a short distance from the car park at the front of Thorpe Cloud and the cave like dove-holes. Dovedale`s stepping stones appear on thousands of post cards and the area attracts a million visitors a year. Keep away on sunny weekend afternoons. Read more Dovedale
Beresford Dale is a beautiful part of the Dove valley. It is narrow and leafy, a charming miniture of the Derbyshire 'gem' Dovedale.
As one approaches Beresford Dale from the Hartington end, a scene of indescribeable beauty enfolds as one is led beside the glistering waters which break over little weirs. It is well wooded and wildflowers grow in profusion down to the waters edge. The air is full of bird song. Beresford Dale is associated with Izzak Walton and his friend, though 40 years his junior, Charles Cotton, and the 17th century classic 'The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man's Recreation'. Read more Beresford Dale
Bradford Dale is quite short and like other Derbyshire dales has picturesque stretches of crystal clear water over hung by trees. The River Bradford runs from Middleton by Yougrave to Alport where it meets the river Lathkill. A tract from Middleton leads to the upper reaches of Bradford Dale through woodland and past the moss covered remains of a mill and an old pumping station where at first there is little sign of a river. The path, sign posted the Limestone Way, leads past Fulwood Rocks, an historic landmark, where during the Civil War Christopher Fulwood, who had been trying to muster the men of Tideswell to the Stuart cause, attempted to hide in a cave but was discovered by the Roundheads and mortally wounded. Read more Bradford Dale
Chee Dale is a splendid winding gorge, flanked by limestone cliffs sometimes towering 300ft above the path, sometimes overhanging it. You get the feeling that they are leaning on you and pushing you off the path, and indeed at times they do, with the path being forced out onto stepping stones. If the river Wye is in flood the path can be impassable. The feeling is of dampness with the water dripping down from the mossy walls. Read more Chee Dale
The river Lathkill must be one of Derbyshires smallest rivers, but its interest and beauty easily make it one of the most impressive. Much of the valley is part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve. Read more Lathkill Dale
Miller's Dale is a lovely limestone dale, along the section of the River Wye from Chee Dale, to Water cum Jolly Dale. It has a village bearing the same name, old quarry works, several mills and an abundance of flora. A long distance footpath, the Monsal Trail runs the length of the dale allowing access to the mill yards. Read more Millers Dale
From its source on the gritstone moorlands west of Buxton, the River Wye cuts a southerly course through limestone country to Rowsley where it meets the River Derwent. It is not many miles long but it passes through some superb scenery, and a few dales. Monsal Dale is that part of the Wye valley between Water cum Jolly dale and the foot of Taddington dale, where it meets the A6 road. Read more Monsal Dale
Wolfscote Dale is caught between the leafy charm of Beresford Dale and the Derbyshire gem of Dovedale.
Leaving Beresford Dale, the valley opens up into low lying meadow, permitting wider views before resuming its progress through the limestone canyon. Here by a ford, legend has it that the last wolf that roamed the area was killed. The boundary between Beresford and Wolfscote dales is marked by a footbridge. Read more Wolfscote Dale
Charming villages and bustling market towns
Within the Derbyshire Dales are several superb villages - Tissington with its well dressings and hall, Hartington - plenty of tea shops and a lovely village green, Youlgreave - stone and lead mining were original trades, now tourists flock.
Then there is Cromford where cotton spinning was invented, Baslow- part of the Chatsworth estate, Beeley, with its imposing moor behind.
Ashbourne at the southern end of the Derbyshire Dales simply delights with its quaint streets and bustling market place. Buxton - take the waters - a spa town high up on the moors, Bakewell, famous for puddings, not tarts you know, with the lovely River Wye running through its centre, Matlock on the Derwent -a place of historic industrial significance along with Matlock Bath.
Tideswell - the Cathedral of the Peak - a long street of a town.
Don't forget the well dressings - a unique Derbyshire Dales custom described here.
The true origins of Well Dressing are lost in the mists of time. According to many sources, it developed from a pagan custom of making sacrifice to the gods of wells and springs to ensure a continued supply of fresh water. Like many folk traditions, it was later adopted by the Christian Church as a way of giving thanks to God for His gift to us of water. Tradition has it that it took on a special significance in 17th