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The Orchards

Address : Rushley Farm
Address : Ilam
Town/City : Ashbourne
County : Derbyshire
Country : England
Post code : DE6 2BA
Phone : 01538 308205
Web Site :

The Orchards nestles peacefully on the valley side overlooking the River Manifold, close to the pretty village of Ilam.

derbyshre_orchards1It has the most amazing views towards Dovedale and beyond.

Bluebells and wild garlic carpet the woods behind the cottage and orchids abound on the barnfield.

Watch the wildlife right from the cottage window or take a walk on the wild side and maybe glimpse a badger, fox or deer.

Birdlife in this quiet valley is diverse, from tiny tree creepers to flashy kingfishers, ravens and majestic red kites. Do bring your binoculars.

If you are a walker then this is Paradise. Riverside strolls, moorland rambles, hiking up the hills, rock-climbing and everything in between. And there are miles of scenic tarmac trails for wheelchair users. Bike hire and riding stables locally.

Take a trip down memory lane - pick blackberries for your jam, sloes for your gin, dig up pignuts in the pastures and collect mushrooms in the meadows.

Buy your puddings at Bakewell, walk in the footsteps of Mr Darcy at Chatsworth - and soon - Russell Crowe as Robin Hood in Dovedale!

Go native and visit the Sheepdog Trials, the Manifold Show and Ilam village fete.

And of course, if you really must, Alton Towers is just 6 miles.

The Orchards is based on a working farm, with beef cattle and sheep. We have almost 200 acres of land with varying habitats - permanent pasture, woods and copses, lush meadows, cliff faces, marshy areas and a river. It is a perfect place for wild creatures and a wonderful place to explore.

From mid-March to the end of April do a 'Kate Humble' and watch the Lambing Live.

Let the children feel the velvet of a lamb's ear, stroke its tight curly coat and listen to a mother sheep talking to her babies.

In late April there may be orphan lambs to bottle feed.

In June and July, watch farmer Vic shear his sheep and have a go at fleece-wrapping.

The cottage is also perfect as a romantic hideaway with cosy log fire and special deals for couples.

Imagine yourselves counting the stars in a velvet-black sky or lying in front of a crackling fire with a glass of mulled wine....

We run the business in an eco-friendly way and have twice been awarded the prestigious Peak District Environmental Quality Mark for our green efforts.

Sample and savour some of the delicious local foods we hold in stock, e.g. dry-cured bacon and sausage from Over Haddon, healthy honey from here in the valley or scrummy treacle tart like granny used to make. By buying from local producers, you help support the rural economy which in turn helps keep the Peak District a wonderful place for all to enjoy.

Staying at The Orchards gives you that 'feel-good' factor in more ways than one! We really look forward to meeting you.

Please note:

There are nine steps up to the front door, but once inside, all rooms are on one level.

If children wish to visit the farm, they MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times.

derbyshire_orchards2Accommodation includes:

  • Wide entrance hall with polished oak floor.
  • Living room - warm and welcoming with a real fire and comfy sofas.
  • Sunny, oak-floored dining room. Definitely a room with a view with two picture windows.
  • Handmade kitchen, washing machine, microwave, food processor, fridge/freezer etc. Stable doors lead out onto surrounding lawns.
  • Stylish bathroom with over bath shower.
  • There are three bedrooms to sleep six people:
  • one double with orchard and woodland views
  • one twin which catches the morning sun
  • one with full-sized bunk beds, a smart little room which is ideal for children but ample for adults.
  • The property is owner-managed and cleanliness is paramount.
  • It is heated throughout by storage radiators and is double glazed.
  • Every room has a stunning view.
  • There is a garage for one car, plus parking.
  • Tariff includes:
  • All fuel costs, logs and an initial supply of coal for the fire.
  • All linen and towels.
  • A cot and highchair - available on request.
  • From £385 to £619

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Featured Attraction

Head for The Heights this year

Head for The Heights of Abraham, the award winning Hilltop Park situated in the spectacular Derwent Valley, just 9 miles from Chatsworth on the western edge of the Peak District National Park.

This "must see" Derbyshire jewel of an attraction is accessed by state of the art enclosed cable cars located on the banks of the River Derwent next to Matlock Bath railways station and the town's public car parks. Simply purchase your cable car ticket, and then sit back to enjoy Instagram-ready views of the geologically stunning valley as you climb to the summit.
TIP: You can save money by purchasing your tickets online in advance of your visit. Go to for ticket prices and availability
Once you've purchased your cable car ticket, access to all the summit attractions is free, offering a great value-day-out whatever the weather. Head off to explore 60 acres of landscaped grounds, undercover interactive exhibitions, photography gallery, multi-media show caverns, adventure playgrounds, woodland walks and trails.

You can choose to dine in the Vista restaurant with its stunning views down the valley, or enjoy a snack in the café or out on the terrace with similar breath-taking views. Picnic areas can be found throughout the grounds, and during the school holidays you'll discover extra entertainment like the traditional Punch and Judy show (with a satisfying Heights of Abraham twist) for all the family to enjoy.
TIP: Dining times can be reserved in advance. This is recommended especially during the busiest times of the year. Phone 01629 582365 to make a reservation or pre-order the popular afternoon tea package.
Most visitors are surprised to learn that the Heights is in fact the Derbyshire's oldest tourist attraction. The cable car system has carried millions of visitors to the summit over the last thirty five years, yet it remains one of the latest chapters in the fascinating story of the Heights of Abraham. The Heights first opened as a Pleasure Ground in 1780 when visitors would make the climb from the valley floor on foot to witness some of the finest views across the surrounding area. Almost two and a half centuries later you are still able to wander around the estate with its zigzag paths and pleasant woodland trails. It is easy to understand why the area proved inspirational to the Romantic movement of the period.

As long ago as Roman times, Lead deposits may have been found in the area but it took another 1000 years before Lead mining was officially recorded on site. These impressive mines were active for over 400 years and left behind a legacy of passageways and awe-inspiring caverns. Today, thanks to all that hard work you can follow in the miners' footsteps down the passageways they created, going deep underground into the Heights' famous Show Caverns. From the glow of a single miner's candle to the whole cavern being awash with colour-changing lights, the Great Masson Cavern tour is one of the talking points of a visit to this Hilltop Park. Here, where the Equator was once situated millions of years ago, you can learn all about the rocks, minerals and underground formation of the Peak District. Equally, a visit to the Great Rutland Cavern is well worthwhile. First opened to the public over 200 years ago in 1810, you can experience a day in the life of the very miners who made your trip possible.

Those of an inquisitive mind should make sure they visit The Long View exhibition to see and hear the 230 year story about why the estate has been a favourite place to visit for many generations. On the upper floor the Fossil Factory brings to life fun and interesting facts about rocks, fossils and the formation of the Peak District. Tinker's Shaft SSSI is a spectacular location with a new viewing platform, high above the Derwent Valley and near the exit from the Great Masson Cavern. Interpretative panels provide information on the importance of the site, the natural history, the geology and the labyrinth of lead mines below Tinker's Shaft... directly beneath your feet!

The Heath and Heaven Gallery is a delightful pictorial journey through the Peak District from north to south and shot from the air on a single summer's day. Next to this you will find Through the Lens, a 12 minute film of the Great Masson guided tour, ideal for those who cannot, or do not wish to go underground during their visit.

If you're heading into Derbyshire or the Peak District, don't miss the opportunity to head for the Heights this year and tick this one off your bucket list. The cable car is just the start of a fascinating, relaxing and fun day out for everyone. Keep up to date with the news by visiting the official website for opening times, special offers and details of forthcoming events:

MJPL6641MJPL6890The Long View ExhibitionMJPL7135Woodland Adventure

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