When I visit from Canada my extended family arrange an annual family holiday. This year BARN FARM BARNS AND CAMPSITE close to the Birchover Stones was chosen as our destination from the independent hostels maps of bunkhouses in Derbyshire and what a great find it was!
Many of us enjoy the challenge of the hike there and having one family living in Matlock Bath this was certainly doable. We booked the Sabine Hay camping barn at BARN FARM BARNS AND CAMPSITE, dropped a vehicle off close to the Birchover Stones with all we needed for the weekend. Then 6 of us set off on foot. We walked from Matlock Bath, via Bonsall to Winster. There we enjoyed the English heritage site and a welcome ice cream at the local store. We then traversed across to Birchover pass the Birchover Stones and on to Barn Farm. The hike was lovely, fairly easy walking but challenging enough for our youngest hiker, aged 8 and the Grandma, also part of the group. With leisurely stops for photos, tree climbing, a picnic lunch and a few map consultations we reached our destination in less than 4 hours.
The Barn Farm more than met all of our needs. Despite being the August Bank holiday weekend, which is their busiest weekend of the year, the staff were visible and attentive. Coming from a sparsely populated region of northern Canada the thought of camping alongside 1000+ others blew my mind! I was pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness of the sites, the amount of facilities available and the calm, friendliness of all there, both staff and campers. The children in our party quickly made friends with other children and there was more than enough room for them to play soccer and try out their golf clubs, a new purchase from the little onsite store.
As more of our family members arrived we settled in to cook and feed between 10 and 15 of us depending on the meal. The Sabine Hay barn was fit for the task! When we notified the staff that we were short of a couple of chairs and some cutlery this was quickly rectified. When dusk settled so did all of the campers and we were delighted to be able to have a good night’s sleep.
The following morning, we strolled into the lovely village of Birchover for a pub lunch and then an afternoon hike on Stanton Moor where we could explore the Birchover Stones. This is a stellar hike with exquisite views and fascinating rock formations including the famous Nine Ladies Stone Circle. We were fortunate to be there when the purple heather was in full bloom and the marvellous family photos we took amongst the heather and Birchover Stones will be treasured for years to come. The hike is accessible from various points which worked well when some family members chose to shorten the walk and head back. The rest of us soldiered on and not even a field full of menacing cows were able to thwart us. How welcome were the hot showers on our return!
On our last morning we chose to travel over to Rowsley and take the steam engine back to Matlock, a magical end to a fabulous trip!
Barn Farm is no longer in the Independent Hostel Guide but The Reckoning House is close by or have a look at our Map of hostels and bunkhouses in the Peak District.