Sheriff Lodge - Former Edwardian Gentleman's Residence

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About Us

Kate, a former Nursing Sister (of 25 years standing), Alan, a serving Fire Officer, and Gemma, their daughter, bought Sheriff Lodge in 2001 and since then have worked hard to improve every aspect of the service, decor and little extras that have resulted in year on year improvements, to push this little slice of guesthouse luxury into Gold Award Territory.

Click here to meet your hosts - Kate & Alan - doing what they love to do

 All of our rooms now have beds that are seven feet long - The Dray - when zipped and locked together makes a bed that is seven feet long by six feet six inches wide!

Alan, Kate & Gemma - your hosts

Our Breakfast(s)
The improvements that we have made also include changes to the good old full English.
When Kate, Alan & Gemma took over at Sheriff Lodge that is just exactly what you got - the full English. 

This has now developed into a restaurant style menu from which you can now order just exactly what you'd like on your plate - from a croissant to a full Derbyshire breakfast - which includes local, free-range eggs, Derbyshire oatcakes (a flat soft pancake made, naturally, with oats) and fresh, homemade bread with flour from Caudwells Mill

Alan also has a penchant for 'Eggs Benedict' - just ask!

Extra long - seven foot - beds
The Nest

Clcik here to visit the 'Gluten Free On The Go' Website

Click the above logo to see our entry on the Coeliac - Gluten Free-on-the-Go Website - something we take pride in

In addition we also pride ourselves on providing breakfast for those that have other dietary requirements - with meat free sausages, and, if you let us know in advance, gluten free fresh loaf and gluten free sausages - produced by our local butcher. 

Our vegetarian breakfast has more on the plate than a 'carnivore's' breakfast

The Entrance to an Unforgettable Stay
We have been mentioned in the Guardian - a little tentative maybe - but it is nice to be mentioned in a National Newspaper without having to pay for it

Guardian article (28/02/04): Oops, there goes another bit of Britain
by Paul M on Sunday, 29 February 2004

Driving along the A6, it's not immediately obvious that the Peak District might well be England's most important national park. In fact, it's easy to forget you're in a park at all - there are plenty of pretty towns and old farms lining the river valleys, and old mills and stone-walled inns worthy of an urbanite's cosiest drinking dream - but the dramatic, bleakly beautiful heights of the southern Pennines are most often obscured by steep dales or low mists.

The Peak (as locals call it) is about leisure as much as landscape. The 555 square-mile national park is a lung for the people of Manchester, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke. The first national park, it was created in 1951 precisely to put a green belt between these sprawling conurbations. It's visited by some 22m people each year (only Japan's Mount Fuji's national park tops it). And, if it lacks Cumbria's photogenic lakes, the Peak's landscape of gritstone outcrops, limestone crags, heather and peat moorland - Daniel Defoe called it "a waste and howling wilderness" - has a rugged, romantic appeal.

Among the Peak's many secrets are vestiges of the bronze age: cairns, burial mounds, stone circles and hillforts. Outstanding among these is the Nine Ladies stone circle at Stanton Lees, between Bakewell and Matlock. Between 3,000 and 4,000 years old, these nine stumpy stones, probably built for rituals honouring the sun and moon, stand in a small circle like old teeth, surrounded by silver birch, ash and beech trees and, beyond these, a beautiful stretch of moorland dotted with further Neolithic remnants and ruins.

No wonder then that any attempt to make any inroads into this landscape that are not destined for boot-clad backpackers is resisted so fiercely by locals and tourists alike. Just beneath the Nine Ladies site is where Stancliffe Stone wants to quarry 3.2m tons of millstone grit for the building trade. While the development rights to this dormant quarry - on land owned by Lord Edward Manners, who lives in Haddon Hall, just a few minutes' drive from the site - are legally binding, villagers, townsmen and scores of eco-minded travellers have come together to protect the ancient heritage and the tourism that is the region's lifeblood.

Walking up to the site from the village of Rowsley (also owned by Lord Manners), I spoke to two of the protesters, Becky Walsh and David Connolly, who were out on a ramble between sessions of constructing ramparts to prevent the quarrying firm's diggers from approaching the rock face. "It's just big money trying, as always, to get what it can out of the land," claims Becky. "But we've been here for about four years now and we know how precious it is to locals.

"It's so peaceful - and if this goes ahead, there will be a massive hole just 100m away. As well as the stones, there are burial mounds here and lots of ruins that have never been investigated. These draw pagans who come to perform handfasting (pagan marriages) or to practise wicca mediation, and whirling dervishes use the site, too."

Like many other circles, there is a rich pagan-*****-druidic folklore that extends way beyond the tentative specualtions of history books. One story is that the Nine Ladies were formed by people being turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath - the "King Stone", on a bank just a few yards away, was said to have been their fiddler. It is also said that when the moon is full, the stones move around in a ritual dance.

While we are talking, behind me, a young man starts to spin slowly in the centre of the circle - not quite my idea of a dervish, but his eyes are closed and his concentration absolute. He claims "most of the villagers are right behind the protesters, because they don't want a four-ton truck loaded with gravel passing their little cottages at 6am, do they?"

Beyond the gentle stir of the wind in the leafless trees, you can hear the beeps and churning from Dale View quarry, less than a mile away. If digging was allowed any closer, the serenity and spiritual value of the Nine Ladies would be completely destroyed.

But it's not all about pagans who cherish the site for sacral purposes. During the next afternoon, scores of couples, strolling families and locals walking their dogs pass by as they hike over the moors. There's even a group of six or seven Sheffield youths having an impromptu picnic, despite the fact that the grass is damp and there's a bitter nip in the February air.

Another walker, Jenny Blain, joins us on the grass at the centre of the circle, and tells me she is researching "how people relate to landscapes" at Sheffield Hallam University. She emphasises the academic value of the site: "This is important to archaeologists with an interest in prehistory, who study the cairns and kist graves. Then there are archaeologists of the early modern period, as well as scientists who come to study the bats here - there are two protected species."

Jenny points out that "the special feel of the Nine Ladies comes from that fact that they are part of a bigger landscape. This means so much to so many people - and locals join in at festivals like Imbolc (ewe's milk, for when sheep lactate in spring)."

The Peak District, like other national parks, came about when the gentry and working class ramblers united to stem industrial expansion; as that lobby has dwindled, new alliances are needed.

Lonely as it is on the hilltops and among the burial mounds, the Nine Ladies are close to dozens of villages. Old pubs and B&Bs - from farms to hotel-style townhouses. After a day of cold, clean air and Woden-knows-what spiritual blessings from the Nine Ladies, I am in my bed - in a converted barn -by 9pm.

The Peak District serves more than just the north-west, though - it is central enough for Londoners to get to the Nine Ladies easily, too. I travelled from south-east London to 2500BC in just three and a half hours.

The following morning, before making the return journey, I drive up to Stanton Moor to see the Nine Ladies one more time. The daffodils are still there and, for the first time this weekend, there's no one else around. After a quick look about me, I stride to the centre and stand in the empty space - and even gyrate slowly to see if any thing happens. My sullied modern soul is not transfigured, but the circle is profoundly calming and, thanks to Bronze Age man's meteorological intuition, protected from the harsh elements of the Peak winter.

After a quick stroll over the moor, frightening partridges and watching the sun struggle to break through the clouds, I turn round and, cross the hill above the disused quarry. I head back down the side where the protesters are sleeping in their makeshift tree houses and where, just a mile or so down the valley, Lord Edward Manners is no doubt tucking into his breakfast of kippers and cold meats.

A vicious February north-easterly is now blasting and I leave the bare, exposed beauty of Neolithic England for the refuge of the car.

Way to go

Getting there: The Nine Ladies is off the A6, around 45 minutes drive from the M1 or the M6. Head for Bakewell or Matlock. There are regular bus and occasional rail services between Matlock and Derby. Bakewell is served by bus only. From Matlock or Bakewell, it is possible to visit the Nine Ladies on foot - it's a six-hour round trip. From the small village of Rowsley, it's just a short, steep 30-minute climb up the lanes. Alternatively, drive up from Rowsley to Stanton Peak and park on Lees Road. From the parking bay, it's a 10-minute walk. Pick up Ordnance Survey Explorer map OL24 The Peak District: White Peak Area (6.99) for longer walks.

Where to eat/stay: Bakewell and Matlock are exceptionally good for B&Bs, and the smallest hamlets also often boast grand accommodation. The Rutland Arms Hotel (01629 812812, doubles from 81 per night) is Bakewell's biggest hotel, with a restaurant serving English country cuisine (three courses with drink from 24). It is where the Bakewell pudding was born (by accident). The Red Lion (01629 812054) has steak and kidney pies etc from 15 for three courses with drink. Renaissance (01629 812687, from 24) is an excellent bistro in the town centre. In Matlock, the Strand (01629 584444) is good for traditional grub. Recommended B&Bs include Sheriff Lodge (01629 760760, doubles from 62) and, outside the town, the upmarket Riber Hall (01629 582795). In Rowsley, the Peacock (01629 733518) and the East Lodge Country House Hotel (01629 734474, doubles from 100, meals from 30) are grand stone houses turned into hotels.

Further information: Bakewell TIC (01629 813227), Matlock TIC (01629 583388), Campaign for Rural England (cpre.org.uk), Sacred Sites (sacredsites.org.uk), Peak District National Park (peakdistrict.org).

 

Contact: Kate & Alan Richmond, Sheriff Lodge Guest House, The Dimple, Dimple Road, Matlock, Derbyshire. DE4 3JX
Tel 01629 760760  Fax 01629 760860  E-mail info@sherifflodge.co.uk