Sophie Morgan is a TV Presenter and Disability Advocate living in London. She enjoys the open road on her adapted Ryker (a three-wheeled motorbike). For her, there’s nowhere quite like the UK countryside for getting lost and exploring.
Here are her top tips for escaping the everyday amongst the timeless hills of the Peak District. With endless accessible outdoor adventures, a mix of modern and traditional restaurants and miles of postcard-perfect villages to explore, you might not want to go home.
Please note: There are varying restrictions in place across England to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Please be sure to check our Know before you go page as well as individual attractions’ websites before travelling, or start planning for 2021 if you are unable to travel currently.
Take in the views
I got up early to catch the sunrise. Without planing a specific route, I decided to simply head out and enjoy the open road, ride my Ryker along the quiet country roads into the National Park watching the clouds clear and the blue sky overhead. Every corner I turned took my breath away. After an hour I decided to stop for a coffee and breakfast and check the map.
Some of the best spots for a good view are Winnats Pass and the Tissington Trail. While I wasn’t able to access them because of the weather, they would be well worth a visit if you want to explore England’s oldest national park on foot, bike or, if you have a mobility impairment, with one of their adapted off-road trikes.
The team there are extremely friendly and helpful and have a lot of experience helping people of all abilities access the trail, so do give them a call in advance if you have any specific requirements.
Top Tip: Stop at Monsal Head to enjoy the iconic view over the viaduct.
For a perfect Peak District stay, I stayed at Morridge View, a gorgeous barn conversion on the fringe of the National Park, just a few miles outside of Leek. The barn sleeps up to ten people and is the perfect spot for getting out and exploring. The downstairs double bedroom was particularly great as its en-suite wet room includes grab rails, shower seat and other adapted fittings. The owner, Kate, was so friendly and helpful and had some great advice for people with mobility impairments to get the most out of The Peak District.
Top Tip: Make sure to use the log burner while enjoying a brew and some of Kate’s homemade cakes.
The highlight of my trip was without a doubt visiting Chatsworth House. I had seen this extraordinary site in pictures (and on film – it was used as the setting for Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice), but nothing could prepare me for the grandeur of the House and its spectacular grounds. I took my time and spent a few hours simply wandering through the estate, asking questions of the very helpful guides and trying to take photos of everything I could. But the truth is, no photo can do justice – you have to see it to believe it!
Top Tip: Take your time to really look at the art collection on display and keep an eye out for the painting of ‘The Duchess’.
The historic spa town of Buxton is described as ‘the gateway’ to The Peak District, and is the ideal place for some much-needed rest. The recently renovated Crescent Hotel Spa Hotel is stunning and the restaurant is also a treat. It was the perfect spot to indulge in a hearty lunch before heading out again for more of the great outdoors.
Top Tip: Make sure to have a drink from the St. Ann’s Well. The warm natural springs of Buxton have been revered since Roman times.
Head to Ladybower reservoir to try fly fishing. The most wonderful man, Troy Chadwick – the Accessibility Coordinator for the Ladybower Fisheries – took me out on his adapted ‘wheelyboat’ and, along with an adapted
Top Tip: You can choose to fish either on land or on the water. Don’t forget to bring waterproofs!
We drove over to Muggington for dinner at the Cock Inn. It’s a traditional yet modern pub serving an eclectic menu which takes inspiration from around the world. There was everything from fillet of Derbyshire beef to Thai green curry, and you can wash it all down with a bottle from their brilliant wine list. The team have really done their best to keep all of their customers and staff safe during this difficult time, and have some pods with heating outside so that people can eat out but remain in their family bubbles which is a great idea. The disabled access is great too!