After a few days staying with family in Sheffield over the August bank holiday weekend, we thought we’d squeeze in a little camping trip before going back to work. With the nights drawing in and the evenings getting cooler, we were thinking that it could be the last camping trip of the season, although hoping that it wouldn’t be.
Rivendale Caravan Park is situated in the Peak District, a few miles away from the town of Ashbourne. The campsite itself is tucked into an old quarry which makes it quite sheltered and provides a pretty rocky backdrop as well as stopping the site from being a blot on the landscape. As with all of our trips, we had picked the campsite based on its website which shows some lovely pictures of the surrounding area as well as some helpful pictures showing the layout of the site. When we phoned to book, we were told that campervans weren’t allowed in the camping meadow, which is a separate field with its own separate toilet and shower facilities housed in a portacabin. Caravans and campervans are not allowed on the all-grass pitches and so we were allocated a pitch which was partly hardstanding on the main pitching area.
Wandering round the site it seemed that most of the pitches were at least partly hardstanding, some completely so and it seemed to be geared towards caravans, although there was a separate grassed area with electric which was being used mostly by tents. Most of the pitches were separated by hedges and some had their own water tap.
The pitches are a decent size, although are long rather than wide. We just managed to squeeze our awning on to the grass that we had, but then it does stick out from the van more than some. The campervan a couple of pitches down, however, seemed to be similarly squeezed in with its awning on a smaller patch of grass. I guess the obvious solution would be to pitch some of the awning on the hardstanding area. That would’ve given us chance to give a first outing to those rock pegs we purchased back in June thinking that they would be a necessity for the summer! It would also have meant that we didn’t have to step from the muddy grass straight into the van (as it had been raining).
The campsite has some useful facilities. The main toilet and shower block was not the nicest that we have seen, but was fully functioning and seemed to be adequate for the size of the site. To one side of the shower block, there was a small undercover washing up area with hot water and bins for recycling most things as well as general waste. The campsite has an old stone barn housing the reception area, a small shop selling the usual basics, a cafe, which looked nice although we didn’t go in, and a pub which we did go in. The bar had a cosy feel, with the drinks being reasonably priced and, although we didn’t sample it, the food looked to be fairly typical pub food. The pub also has a couple of sofas with a TV, and a pool table, so would be a good way to spend an afternoon in bad weather.
With the evenings closing in, we didn’t fancy the trek across the fields or along the unlit roads in search of a pub and we didn’t see anything in the vicinity apart from a burger van and so it was good to have the option of using the onsite cafe and pub.
During the day, it is possible to access the Tissington Trail which is a few minutes walk from the entrance. We walked to Tissington Village which was approximately 5 miles along the trail (via Alsop which was 2miles from the site). The trail follows the route of an old railway line which means that it is relatively flat and is easy walking. There are some great views on this walk, and tea rooms at Tisisngton for a welcome cup of tea and a cake.
There is also lots to do in the surrounding area. Chatsworth, Bakewell, Ashbourne and Matlock are all within easy driving distance and there are lots of walks to be had. On our final day we spent a day at Ilam where we made use of our National Trust membership by parking in their car park at Ilam Park and taking a walk to the Dovedale Stepping Stones before setting off home.
Overall, we liked this site. The setting was pretty, the facilities fine, and the pub was a nice touch. We weren’t too sure about having to be on a hardstanding pitch with the caravans and there wasn’t really anywhere within walking distance to go in the evenings. Would we go back? Yes, but probably not in the near future because there are a few other places in the area that we would like to try first, but don’t let that put you off!