Alton Towers may be renowned for white knuckle roller coasters with intimidating names but it’s lesser known for its pre-theme park days as an expansive country estate. 10 minutes from Nemisis, Oblivion and The Smiler, tranquil Greenacres Farm is a product of that time, with a farmhouse built in the mid-19th century and surrounding Churnet Valley countryside that’s been farmed for generations. From the moment you arrive, rumbling over a cattle grid and down a short driveway flanked by cows, it feels like the antithesis of a theme park. Breathe it in. Space, country views and lungfuls of fresh air.
Home to Tessa and David, Greenacres is set in 11 cattle-grazed acres that have been farmed by Tessa’s family since 1864. Today the old cowshed and pigsty have been transformed into a snug holiday cottage – think low exposed beams and cosy nook bedrooms – while, outside, a newly built shepherd’s hut resides, sat on its own private terrace and framed by small potted trees.
The hut itself is a beautiful and comfortable affair, with a full-sized double bed, an en-suite shower room and a fantastic kitchen space with a fridge, hobs, sink and everything you need. A wood-burning stove adds to the suitably snug feel, while french window doors let natural light pour in. It’s the detailed finish and personal touches, however, that really make the shepherd’s hut stand out: The copper lampshade, the bunting beside the bed, a stash of hardback books, country-themed artwork on the walls and the tasty Staffordshire hamper on arrival. It’s all symptomatic of Tessa and David’s friendly and hospitable nature.
Outside, fruit trees – plum, appe, damson and quince – pepper the garden and an old Victorian swing hangs invitingly from an ash tree. A wooded stream runs just below, feeding into the River Churnet, and, if followed, it’s only a few hundred metres to the old Churnet Valley railway line, now a popular footpath and cycleway. Follow it north and it’s about half an hour before the shrieks and laughter tell you you’re alongside Alton Towers Theme Park or stroll south where, 10 minutes away, the old Denstone Village railway station brings you out beside the local pub and the village’s farm shop. Elsewhere, the market town of Ashbourne is just under 15 minutes by car and Leek is half an hour away, each acting as a gateway town into the Peak District beyond.
The campsite owner says
Welcome to Greenacres! We're Tessa and David, and we live in our family's farmhouse set in the middle of 11 acres of organic pasture on the edge of the small country village of Denstone, Staffordshire. The land has been farmed for centuries, and Tessa's family has been here since the middle of the 19th century. We are 10 minutes from Alton Towers, close to Ashbourne and the Peak District, and a short walk from the centre of the village. It's ideal for walkers, cyclists, nature-lovers, or if you're just looking for a lovely place to relax.
The Parlour is a brand-new Shepherd's Hut, ideal for a romantic break for those with a taste for adventure who want a little luxury as well. It's a chance to get off grid. There's no TV or wi fi, but there's everything you need for a holiday to remember.
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