On Monday I'm booked on a day course in Derby (booked via work), so I decided to make a weekend of my visit and booked to stay Saturday and Sunday. I'm hoping to see some Dippers!
I arrived at my Premier Inn (Derby North West) in Derbyshire this afternoon and managed to see some sights before dusk, but no birds of note seen yet. I visited Ilam Park just before dusk – a very picturesque village, with stone bridge, cascading river, pretty houses, sheep and Ilam Hall. In the centre of the village is the Mary Watts-Russell Memorial Cross, built in 1840 in memory of Jesse Watts-Russell's wife.
"The picturesque village of Ilam (eye-lamb) nestles beside the River
Manifold in the Staffordshire Peak District among limestone hills. It
sits in the Peak District National Park on the Staffordshire border with
Derbyshire, close to the famous Dovedale valley. It has Alpine style
cottages, a church and river and is set against the backdrop of Bunster
Hill, Thorpe Cloud and the steep and tumbling pastures. There is a youth
hostel at Ilam Hall, set within Ilam Park, cared for by the National
On return to the Premier Inn, I went to the Mundy Arms (next to and part of the Premier Inn package) for my evening meal, which I had pre-booked for 7pm. I was very excited to see that they did a nut roast roast dinner and ginger cheesecake for dessert! I had a glass of Prosecco wine whilst I waited for my food. It was a massive disappointment – I can't remember the last time I had food this bad and I had to wait 75 minutes for the main course. The nut roast was a round flat type burger that tasted spicy. The vegetables were over done and the entire plate was mushed together and badly presented. I sent the plate back as there was no yorkshire pudding (as specified) and the sprouts were almost cold. The plate was taken away and re-served hot (obviously just stuck in the microwave) and the yorkshire pudding was like a big crisp – I couldn't cut it open, it was rock hard, so sent that back and got another one when I had finished my meal and that was also rock hard. I didn't think they could go wrong with the dessert, but they did – half the depth of the cheese cake was biscuit based and was so hard, I couldn't use the spoon and even prodding a fork in it was difficult! Gordon Ramsey would have had a field day! However the staff were all really nice, that was the only good thing.
Very nice accommodation, but not as pristine as the newer Premier Inns – I found a few cobwebs and a heater didn't work (this was repaired later though). Wonderfully quiet here and no noise at all. My car is parked just outside my window! I cancelled my pre-booked breakfast in the morning, as they don't start until 8am and I want a full day out birding from dawn until dusk.