Meet the owners: Rocking Stone Cottage
This time we meet Rachael and her husband Gerry, the owners of Rocking Stone Cottage, a gorgeous cottage for four in the beautiful Peak District.
This wonderful cottage dates back to 1700 and is an ideal base from which to explore the Peak District in all its glory. Whether you want to walk, bike, climb or take day trips to local towns it’s all at your – very beautiful – doorstep. And one thing we love is that when you don’t fancy making use of the smashing kitchen, you can walk to places to eat!
FA: Have you always lived and worked in the Peak District?
My parents found Rocking Stone Farm in the 1960s and instantly fell in love with the location. It was a ruin with no water, electricity and no roof! It was my mother’s life long passion – and now it’s mine – to constantly improve and maintain this special place.
I moved to Hong Kong in 1995 to follow my engineering career specialising in natural terrain landslide mitigation and rock slope stability, which is where I met Gerry who had moved there from Seattle to work for Dow Jones. We had our two children there and eventually moved back to Derbyshire in 2004.
FA: How did you end up running your business?
It took us 11 years to get planning permission to convert the barn! Eventually we were successful and it coincided with me taking a break from my career to care for our daughter who had had a bad horse riding accident, but it meant I could focus on the design, building work and decoration of the cottage. We used local craftsmen from our village and it was a really positive experience.
FA: Tell us a bit about the country pursuits on offer, either through you or through providers in the immediate area.
There’s so much to do here apart from the obvious walking and cycling. Climbing is massive all around us and we have many boulders on our property that are perfect for bouldering. Cratcliffe Rocks is also walking distance and is a popular destination for climbers and boulderers.
Lost Earth Adventures and Blue Mountain Activities are outdoor pursuits companies that will provide equipment and instruction on a whole host of activities such as rock climbing, caving, gorge walking and abseiling. Carsington Water is 20 minutes away and is where Dame Ellen Macarthur learned to sail! There are all sorts of water sports on offer there. Clay pigeon shooting is available at Yeaveley Estate and horse trekking can be arranged at the Tissington Trekking Centre, which is part of the beautiful Tissington Hall estate near Ashbourne.
FA: What’s your favourite walk and are you a dog friendly place to stay?
It’s almost impossible to say as there are so many fabulous walks that I love doing! From our door I enjoy walking to Stanton Moor and the Nine Ladies Druid Stone Circle there. A quick pint at the wonderfully traditional Flying Childers Pub before walking back past all of the overgrown ancient quarry workings is just the ticket before Sunday lunch.
I also really enjoy walking up the beautiful Lathkill Dale, along the river to the Lathkil Hotel for a drink to admire the view. It’s stunning and there’s even a swimming hole in the river if you need to cool off. Unfortunately we can’t accommodate dogs but ouf family does have Charlie and Heartley who are always desperate for a good walk if anyone wants to borrow them!
FA: Do you have a favourite pub / bar or restaurant nearby?
The Flying Childers in Stanton In Peak is a wonderful old pub. It’s still very traditional – all the locals go there and on Sunday lunchtime lots of local walkers pop in for a chat and a drink before Sunday lunch!
The bar at the The Peacock Hotel in Rowsley is fantastic place to sit by the fire and eat a fabulous meal in casual surroundings. It’s owned by Lord Edward Manners of Haddon Hall and it’s where all the film stars stay when they’re shooting at Haddon.
FA: If you’re looking for a bit of culture, where do you head to?
Chatsworth House! It’s only 10 minutes away and is renowned for the quality of its art. It is also host to the fabulous Art Out Loud Festival in September. Buxton Opera House offers year round entertainment. This year, the Buxton International Opera Festival will be taking place from the 6th to 22nd July but there are plenty of wonderful things to see all year around in Buxton, which is an historic spa town.
FA: What’s the best thing about running your business?
Sharing our passion for the area and how much everyone loves our cottage! We put so much into making our cottage really special and it’s paid off because everyone has said they adore it and although we’ve only been open eight months we’ve already had a lot of return customers! That makes me so happy.