If you’re looking for something better to do with your weekends than post-Ocean, all-you-can-eat vegetation sessions (as great as they are), you should head up into the Peak District for a day of strolling, pie-eating and a bit of culture.
This ‘bit of culture’ can be found in Hathersage, a small village about an hour and a quarter away from Nottingham, which is the perfect place for your day out. None other than Charlotte Brontë visited this sleepy village in 1845, and took inspiration for various settings in her famous novel Jane Eyre.
For students without cars there’s a train which’ll take you there for £11, provided you have a student railcard, with an hour and three quarters to recover from any hangovers on the way. As soon as you get there I strongly recommend going to get a coffee and something for breakfast from Cintra’s Tearooms before setting off.
The following PDF should also explain better than I could exactly which walking route to follow. The route takes you out of the village, through sheep-filled fields, up towards the impressive gritstone Stanage Edge. On the way you’ll go past North Lees Hall which is the inspiration for Thornfield in Jane Eyre, particularly its battlements from which Rochester’s wife Bertha Mason plunges to her death. This manor house was one of the many family homes owned by the well-known Eyre family, whose name was also the source of Jane’s surname.
Then, when you’ve clambered up to the top of Stanage Edge, get your Jane Austen hat on instead because this was the place that was used to show a pensive (and pouty as hell) Keira Knightley in the film version of Pride and Prejudice. This is probably the most phenomenal, Instagram-worthy location you’ll come across on the walk – so get your edgy snaps in here. Walking along the tops you get gorgeous views over the Peaks that make you feel about a million miles away from Hallward library and deadlines.
The route then leads you back along another trail past Moorseats Hall which becomes Moor House in Jane Eyre – Reverend John’s home and a place which provides respite for Jane when she flees Thornfield. In fact it is assumed that Henry Nussey, the vicar in Hathersage’s church and the brother of the friend she was visiting, provided some inspiration for the character of John Rivers. Whether or not this is true, Hathersage Church is also definitely worth a visit on the way back into the village, if only to hunt out the grave of Little John. Yes, I mean Robin Hood’s Little John!
By the time you get back into town you’ll have walked about five and a half miles, give or take a bit of getting lost, and will definitely deserve a pint and a pie. Luckily, both of these things can be found pretty cheaply at The Little John Hotel on Station Road! I would definitely recommend the bangers and mash for £6 as it comes with no less than four sausages all drowned in massive amounts of gravy… yet again this proves, if anyone had any doubts, why the North is so fantastic. After a hefty lunch you’ll be ready to roll back onto the train and return to Nottingham ready for that Sunday night phone call with your Mum where you can tell her you actually left the house over the weekend.
Go on, this really is a fun day out, and regardless of how cold it is outside, nothing can be colder than sitting working in a student house on a Saturday!
Image credits: Anna Seton