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A walking holiday, with a generous helping of #art and #culture

I have just returned from a four day trip to the beautiful Peak District with my sister. Now, the merits of a sibling mini-break, without husbands and kids, is the subject for another blog entirely, so for the moment, I will concentrate on praising our wonderful surroundings.
The Peak District itself was a great discovery for me. I come from a family of keen walkers and our usual destinations are Scotland, Wales or Cornwall. It proved a revelation to discover that there are unspoilt hills and dales just a fraction of the distance away from my home in north Essex. The landscape of Derbyshire is sweeping. The undulating fields are delineated by a criss-cross pattern of ancient dry stone walls. It provides an oasis of calm between the many busy cities which encircle the national park.
Within this oasis lies the little village of Sheldon, just a couple of miles from Bakewell (of the tarts fame). This sleepy hamlet was the base for our stay. Our destination was Sheldon’s retreat, a charming stone cottage providing spacious and modern bed and breakfast accommodation. The place is extremely efficiently run by artist Jay Taylor and her husband Christian, who is a chef.
When we arrived for breakfast on our first morning, we were in for something of a surprise. The large breakfast room displays a selection of Jay’s original fine art which is of the quality that you would usually only find in a big city gallery. The tables themselves were adorned with her intricately painted stones, set off to great advantage by flickering candlelight. You get to enjoy a perfectly cooked breakfast in an atmosphere of calm and beauty. For folk like my sister and me, escaping our busy lives for a few days, it was absolutely ideal.
I have added a gallery of the photographs I took of Jay’s artwork and jewellery, but my amateur shots certainly don’t do her pieces justice! Please go to her website http://www.jaytaylor.co.uk to see her work in its full glory.
We had a fantastic stay at Sheldon’s retreat and I would highly recommend it. For artsy types like us, it was the perfect mix of the great outdoors married with a generous dash of art, culture and stimulating conversation. Just what we like.

Jay Taylor produces a wide range of original artwork and jewellery, so please refer to her own sites to discover more. She is on twitter: @JayTaylorArt
and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaytaylor.uk
Thanks for a wonderful holiday!

But for now, it’s back to the book…

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