Review of Shatton Hall Farm, Peak District
Lucy Symons stays in one of three self-catering barn conversion cottages at Shatton Hall Farm in the Peak District.
>> For availability and booking details see the full listing for Shatton Hall.
Travelling through the misty-moisty, managed hills of the Peak District National Park, passing tended woodland, through tiny villages (called delightfully Johnnygate and Highlightly) and old working farms, criss-crossed with public footpaths and tree lined roads winding through the twilight with the inevitable masses of 'Mamils' (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) hurtling along on expensive bikes we came across a ford (encouragingly marked “Not suitable for motors”) and continued through the lanes to find Shatton Hall Farm.
Angela and James Kellie own the former farm set in 100 acres of land, stretching from the tiny hamlet of Shatton into the Hope Valley. Angela tried her hand at farming for decades before leaving it to a local shepherd who grazes his flock on the land and a cattle farmer who does the same with his cows.
The family bought the farm 46 years ago – it had been in the Eyre family (“Woodsmen” in olde English) for 400 years - at the very first opportunity to purchase it publicly in 1966. They availed themselves of a grant encouraging the conversion of barns to holiday lets to discourage the blight of caravans, and have been renting out their 3 self-catering cottages since the 1980s - some customers staying annually in spite of having purchased their own cottage nearby.
Traditional yet comfortable, the two bedroom cottages are as perfect for a romantic break as they are for families – with a tennis courts and open spaces galore – the cottages are set against the most breathtaking vista of Peak District hillsides dotted with sheep disporting themselves in a picturesque fashion. Hayloft and Orchard cottage are set at the top of the courtyard and Paddock cottage overlooks Shatton, and the tiny river, Noe.
The twin bedroom in Orchard cottage overlooks the tennis court, the double bedroom has windows on the small kitchen garden (where the pv screens were tastefully hidden behind galleried hornbeams), Hayloft cottage has the living room upstairs and the two bedrooms downstairs. The farm cats and dog, Willow, made us feel very welcome – Willow accompanying us on a walk.
>> See our Greentraveller Guide to the Peak District
The kitchen was laid out with homemade muesli from nearby Chatsworth (I’d like to think that Debo had a hand in its making…) a jar of local “Meant to Bee” Wedding honey from Channocks farm while the fridge was thoughtfully stocked with local eggs and cheese, a jar of Sweet Indian Apricot chutney from Highfield Preserves (it seemed churlish not to try – delicious!) a loaf of spelt bread and butter. There was a bowl of raspberries and a pot of cream, fruit juice, milk, biscuits, tea and ground coffee for the caffitiere. Angela is very happy to provide a Derbyshire Breakfast Pack, sourced locally from EQM holders if you require and if this was a taste of things you can expect in it, trust me, you "require". There was very little we could want for. The radio was also pre-tuned to Radio 4. Sigh.
Maps and guides and articles were available: One map, reminiscent of something the famous five would have come up with, hand-drawn by the local Eyam Primary school showed “sites of historic interest.” Had it been London you wouldn’t have been able to fit them all in, but here the boundary stone and Cucklet Church were given plenty of space next to the stocks…
A bike store, butter churn and apple press near the old midden are available should you so desire.
>> For tips on where to eat, shop and visit, see our Greentraveller Guide to the Peak District National Park
In conversation you realize the most important thing to the Kellie’s is their continuing responsibility as stewards of the land. The Sheffield Bee Keepers maintain hives in the rough area planted with sloes and rosebay willow herb and trout thrive in their stream. “Guests are welcome to fish!” laughed Angela, “But you have the fun, we have the fish!” Although I rather imagine she could be prevailed upon to share.
Indigenous orchids lurked beneath the ground here unseen but once the land had been cleared, they rewarded the Kellies by flowering every spring, Angela told me, her eyes twinkling. As well as wandering through Carr wood, 15 acres of ancient woodland coppiced and managed by a local enthusiast who creates willow structures and trugs, all the fields have foot paths and guests have full access to the gardens which Angela and James are passionate about. Their green fingers and dedication will amaze as you discover tiny nooks and crannies thoughtfully planted and accented with flowing water and places to sit.
The spring head feeds the stream which courses through the bottom of the garden past part of the dry stone wall being lovingly restored by a local craftsman rather in the vein of the forth bridge, I fear. Angela and James’s sense of responsibility to their property is obvious in everything they undertake; their energy and creativity and hard work is astonishing. Photo voltaic and solar panels provide most of the hot water and energy, a bore hole provides the Farm and most of Shatton with delicious, soft, fresh water.
Their Dutch barn (a good distance from the accommodation) is also available as a wedding venue, popular because it is truly a blank canvas. Your guests could camp in the field after celebrating your nuptials with a stunning fell as a backdrop.
This is a perfect spot for a family with kids - the teenagers will enjoy the tennis courts, the younger ones can make faces at the sheep and splash in the stream. You can even bring Fido along if he's well behaved.
One comment in the visitor book said: “The weather has not been too kind but this seemed to enhance the beauty and drama of the stunning scenery of the ‘high peak area’” a sentiment I fully endorse. If you want a chance to get away from it all and spend some tranquil moments in a beautiful spot this is where you should head; with limited internet access and little mobile signal, somehow the misty moistness added to the drama… having come from London where all we hear is noise. The silence was heaven…
>> For contact details see the full listing for Shatton Hall.
See the photos from Lucy's visit on our Pinterest board for Shatton Hall.
Posted by Lucy Symons