The Dove Valley Centre
About Us and our upland farm in the Peak District
Under Whitle is an upland family farm of 50 acres where we have lived for 35 years. Our three children - Steven, Alex and Sarah - are grown up, but return often to help us. Alex has made the kitchens and much of the furniture, Steve helps with the landscaping and repairs the vehicles and Sarah is more involved in the domestic side of the business. During 2009 they all were involved in the development of the Haybarn Studio with Alex carrying out the joinery and designing and making the kitchen, Steven on the earth moving and excavations for the ground source heat pump and Sarah with the decoration- together we’re a good team!
The Haybarn Studio was converted from the old stone Haybarn and was a labour of love carried out through the freezing cold winter of 2008/9 and completed in the sunshine of July. It was so cold in January that the JCB tracks froze to the ground and work was halted until it thawed. But we are pleased with how it looks and fits with the existing barns and of the new facilities it provides for our workshops. We are pleased too with its eco features, especially the ground source heat pump that provides the hot water and heating for all the buildings.
The farm is the site of an ancient settlement and has been in agricultural use since at least early medieval times. As we walk across our fields we are constantly reminded of this by the remnants of ridge and furrows left by ploughing with oxen. Ancient banks reveal old field boundaries and trackways. Flattened areas show where other farmhouses once stood - there is tangible evidence of one farm house as the vaulted cellar still remains. Overlooking it all from across the river Dove are the remains of the Norman motte and bailey castle of Pilsbury built by William de Ferrers around 1080
We established the Dove Valley Centre in 2001 when the farm buildings became redundant and since then it has been enjoyed by many groups and families, many of whom we have got to know well. In fact one of our earliest visitors got engaged at the stepping- stones across the river near the farm.
Our farm land is grazed by cattle and sheep and we have wildflower meadows that provide them with hay during the winter, woodlands that provide us with fuel for the wood burners, and wetlands and ponds for our visitors to explore.
Our ecological land management has increased the range of wildlife. Nesting birds include curlews, green and great-spotted woodpeckers, tawny and little owls and Barn owls as well as moorhens. Brown hares, badgers and foxes are regular visitors too. Over 120 species of flowers and grasses are found on the farm.
Management of the land is now under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme
We have gained Peak District Environmental Quality Marks (EQM's) for the business & the farm, recognising how we manage & protect the environment.
Your hot water & some of the heating comes from a ground source heat pump.
We have installed a wood pellet range in the farmhouse that provides the hot water for the laundry
We use Eco-washing powder - we try to dry the laundry outside when the weather is kind to us!
Cleaning products and hand soaps are eco-friendly.
All the facilities are here for you to recycle your waste - we make this very guest friendly!
We provide organic/ fair trade produce (tea,coffee & local food) as welcome packs.
Paint & stain used in the barns is eco-friendly
We only use low energy bulbs & A rated appliances.
Our electricity is from Good Energy, which comes from renewables, there are no carbon emissions.
All firewood provided for the log burner is from our managed woodland.
We encourage and welcome cyclists & walkers.
The kitchens, door & woodwork are all reclaimed timber.
We provide a free transfer from Buxton Station for those of you thaat have travelled by public transport & offer 5% discount on your booking.
We have been diversifying the flora of the Haymeadows by collecting seeds & sowing them in 1x3 metre blocks, looking forward to seeing more flowers appear
2 replacement barn owl boxes as des res for the locals!
Selling Staffordshire Honey some which maybe from our beehives in the orchard here, with profits to Staffordshire Barn Owl Group
Profits from refreshments at Apple Day 2015 of £60 to Staffordshire Barn Owl Group