IMG_2979 - 2013-06-17 at 22-20-07Sorry for the delay in posting about this trip – it’s been about two months since I got back! This was night time view from my bedroom window at Glendon Guest House, the bed and breakfast in Matlock. Lovely, but that clock strikes every fifteen minutes all night…

IMG_3010 - 2013-06-18 at 10-55-17On the morning of my second day I visited Chatsworth, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It is, I think, the most beautiful stately home I have ever visited – not just for the house itself and its fabulous interiors but also the absolutely idyllic setting in the Peak District.

IMG_2987 - 2013-06-18 at 10-03-20Chatsworth is surrounded by farmland, woodlands, parks and small villages built to house the estate’s workers and pensioners.

IMG_3115 - 2013-06-18 at 11-51-41The house is full of grand rooms. This is the Painted Hall.

IMG_3049 - 2013-06-18 at 11-19-25The Great Chamber.

IMG_3065 - 2013-06-18 at 11-24-43The State Music Room.

IMG_3064 - 2013-06-18 at 11-24-41A close up of the violin hanging on the door. The violin is not real – it is a trompe l’oeil, or trick of the eye, a two-dimensional painting created by the Dutch artist Jan van der Vaardt in the seventeenth century.

IMG_3076 - 2013-06-18 at 11-30-08The State Bedroom.IMG_3121 - 2013-06-18 at 11-53-15My favourite room was the Library.

IMG_3129 - 2013-06-18 at 11-54-53The Great Dining Room.

IMG_3138 - 2013-06-18 at 11-57-29Sculpture Gallery.

IMG_3145 - 2013-06-18 at 12-02-21Lion.

IMG_3225 - 2013-06-18 at 13-08-32The Stables.

IMG_3166 - 2013-06-18 at 12-37-04The garden is famous for its water features.

IMG_3173 - 2013-06-18 at 12-40-07This is the view from the top of the Cascade.

IMG_3203 - 2013-06-18 at 12-52-35This is the Emperor Fountain, which is powered only by the pressure of the water coming from a man-made lake at the top of the hill to the right.

IMG_3231 - 2013-06-18 at 14-52-16I had lunch at a nearby pub and then drove north to the small village of Eyam. In 1665 the plague came to Eyam and the villagers decided to quarantine themselves completely from the outside world in order to prevent the plague spreading. Their quarantine lasted fourteen months and three quarters of the villagers died.

IMG_3237 - 2013-06-18 at 15-01-39Along the main street are a series of cottages called the Plague Cottages.

IMG_3240 - 2013-06-18 at 15-02-03In front of each one is a plaque detailing the fate of the inhabitants. The houses are still occupied, as you can see from the child’s toy by the front door.

IMG_3242 - 2013-06-18 at 15-02-26The novel Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, is set in Eyam during that time.

IMG_3245 - 2013-06-18 at 15-04-25This is the manor house of Eyam.

IMG_3300 - 2013-06-18 at 16-16-25I then drove even further north into what is known as the Dark Peak. There are much wilder moorlands there than in the more sedate southern part of the Peak District known as the White Peak.

IMG_3314 - 2013-06-18 at 16-18-46A ram.

IMG_3295 - 2013-06-18 at 16-15-14I went as far as a place known as Upper Burbage.

IMG_3320 - 2013-06-18 at 16-25-37There were craggy rock formations and a steep valley.

IMG_3318 - 2013-06-18 at 16-23-27Not all of the rock formations were natural. This is called Carl Wark and is a man-made structure, probably about 3,500 years old. It is unknown whether it was used as a hill fort or for large ceremonial gatherings.

It was late afternoon so I headed back to Matlock, which was about an hour’s drive. From memory there was a brief heavy rainstorm on my journey.