My husband and I commenced a walk designed for us by Sara. As I am interested in geology, but not particularly fit, I asked Sara to design a walk for us that took all of this into consideration and this was totally what we got. The walk commenced in an area that only someone with local knowledge would understand, with beautiful countryside and fantastic limestone cliffs with fossils. We spent all morning in this area and although we walked for the morning the terrain was easy and accessible as we had requested. We had lunch in a lovely country pub and then proceeded to areas in the Peaks that showed different geological features. Sara was very knowledgeable about the area and we loved the folklore tales in addition to the geology & countryside. I wanted to obtain some of the local Blue John to add to my rock collection and Sara directed us to the best location to obtain a sample. I would definitely recommend a tour with Sara as something that can be totally catered to your needs and requirements. Thank you for a wonderful day out.

30 September 2014, Julie Bonsall.

Driving along the A6 from Buxton it was difficult to imagine how close and beautiful the countryside was on either side of the road. Sara carefully navigated me to the tucked away car park for the start of our walk. I had been asked what kind of terrain I was comfortable with, what I was interested in seeing and / or doing and for how long. I choose an easy walk on the flat, not too muddy for a couple of hours before lunch. The walk Sara choose was along Chee Dale on the Monsal Trail.

We set off along the path with a stream on the left that soon turned into a babbling river. We chatted away as Sara pointed out about the plants we were seeing, the geology of the area and the likely hood of any wildlife we may see. As the path now utilises the old railway track which has been made into an easy walking and cycling route Sara was able to talk about the history and industry that had such an influence in this area in fact walking through the old tunnels brings a new dimension to the walk and I could see this is thrilling small children as they walked along. All too soon our time was up and lunch called.

I can fully recommend Sara as a Guide for this type of experience. Her planning was thoughtful from navigation by car to a safe parking area to consideration of my needs. She also has a good knowledge of differing aspects of the countryside especially the Peak District.

I will be going again next time for a longer walk.

Written by Barbara Weeks - 08/09/2014

I would like to start this review by stating that I have rheumatoid arthritis and walk with the aid of crutches, nor am I a small woman. Some of my friends thought I was mad when I said I was going on a guided tour through parts of the Hope Valley. No doubt they envisioned me falling down holes, covered in mud and emergency services dragging me out with a crane. They need not have worried, as Sara was very conscientious at tailoring the tour to my mobility needs.

I am interested in history and enjoy looking at the ruins of old mines and how they relate to the geology of the area. Sara initially took me to a hand cut lead mine that was less than 100 yards from the road. The ground was a little muddy, but I had purchased spikes for my crutches so this was no problem. Here, I discovered, with Sara’s help, limestone rocks packed with fossils and evidence of tool marks on the stone. We also visited a more modern mine a couple of hundred yards from the road that had been abandoned long ago due to the impossible job of fighting with the water table.  

Odin Mine Crinoid fossils Castleton

During travel time between sites of interest, Sara offered an interesting running commentary of sites we passed and taught me how to identify areas of mining and quarrying through the lie of the land. She also told several wonderful tales, including the heart breaking story of two chaste lovers.

We drove through Wynatt’s Pass and got up close to Mam Tor where Sara explained the geology. I found it fascinating that something so huge could be so fragile. She told me sheep sometimes get caught in a rock slide and tumble down the face. Whilst she was explaining this, I did spot a few sheep high up in a precarious position, fortunately they were on solid ground…at least they were whilst I was watching. It is anecdotes such as this that bring out Sara’s experience of living in the area for so many years and made me feel as if I had a “real” tour guide.

Mam Tor, Castleton

We stopped for lunch at my request at the Barrel Inn at Bretton, which dates back to 1597. During the meal we chatted about where we had been and where Sara would take me next. Admittedly, this break was good for me as it allowed me to recharge my batteries.

We visited an idyllic weir opposite Cressbrook Mill… weirs don’t sound particularly idyllic, but this spot was five yards off the road through a tiny, old rusty gate. It was like stepping into something from a Tolkien novel. I enjoy writing fantasy adventure stories in my spare time, and this place would have been a perfect scene setting, or a spot to sit quietly and write. We then walked about 300 yards down a trail around Cressbrook Mill (now apartments) and came out onto another beautiful water scene. I spent time simply watching the water and spotting rainbow trout popping up to grab insects from the water’s surface. Once again, through travel from one place to the next, whether this be on foot or in the car, Sara related stories and the history of the sites we were viewing. She happily listened to my comments and answered any questions.

Water-Cum-Jolly Crestbrook Weir

We drove through Eyam, because I had been there several times before, but we would have stopped had I asked. One thing I had never seen though was the well where money and food were exchanged during the plague outbreak in 1665. Sara took me to see this and we discussed the related story. I was surprised to discover that it was not too difficult for me to get to with my crutches, about 20 yards down a grassy slope from the road. I took the opportunity to throw a couple of coins into the well (my first one missed) and think about the struggles of the people during the plague.

By about 4pm my legs had reached the extent of their usefulness so the last stop was a mine that we could see easily from the car.

All in all I had an excellent day out. From the moment Sara met me off the bus from Sheffield in Hope to the time the tour concluded I felt completely at ease and welcome. Sara easily read my needs and understood my limitations completely. Many people when confronted with someone with a disability can often become TOO helpful, which becomes quite annoying. Despite the fact that there is something wrong with me, I would like to be treated as normally as possible. Sara respected this, most likely because of her experience with counselling work and first aid. To be honest, knowing Sara would know what to do if I did have a problem helped me to enjoy myself more because I felt safe. At no time did I feel pushed to do more than my body would allow.

As a disabled person, I can completely recommend Peak Hidden Trails and Sara as a tour guide. Disabled people want to be able to have fun too and there are not always facilities available, but Peak Hidden Trails is one company someone with limited mobility can use for an enjoyable day out and know they will be in good hands. Not only is Sara knowledgeable about the area, she has the experience to cope with disability. I would imagine that even if I was in a wheelchair, Sara would be able to find places and tell stories to fill an afternoon with adventure.

Wonderful day!

Thank you, Sara.

 

Written by Katia Davis - 27/05/2014