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Dame Karen Bradley MP - Column 06.05.24

I continue to tell my colleagues in Westminster about the very beautiful countryside we are so lucky to be surrounded by here in the Moorlands. I have already featured many local beauty spots, but this week I would like to highlight the picturesque Dimmingsdale Valley that is a must for walkers, ramblers, nature lovers and for everyone who wants to appreciate the beautiful scenery and peacefulness.

The history of Dimmingsdale is fascinating. Originally an industrial area in the 15th and 16th Century, it was the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury who decided to transform the deserted Dimmingsdale and create this beautiful valley.

Forestry England have created many walks, restored many of the bridges and ponds as well as working on a series of conservation projects and together with The Ramblers Retreat, a family-run local country tearoom nestled in the Churnet Valley, make sure that the legacy continues.

The ‘Chained Oak’ for example, is a local legend involving the Earl of Shrewsbury being cursed after dismissing a beggar woman. The legend goes that a family would die every time a branch fell and so he chained the oak tree to preserve his family. You can see the chains still on the tree today.

It was great to visit the Ramblers Retreat recently. The tearoom offers high-quality, traditional homemade food, traditional breakfasts, three-course lunches, snacks and desserts, available to eat indoors or alfresco.

Forty years ago, owner Helen’s parents renovated the derelict ‘Dimmingsdale Lodge’ which used to be a gatehouse for the Earl of Shrewsbury. This created the Ramblers Retreat which is open all year round.

Dimmingsdale is full of beautiful woodland, with the ground bursting with life during springtime. It’s often described as a ‘hidden secret’ and together with the Ramblers Retreat, a really great Reason to Visit the Moorlands.



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