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The Royal Oak, Hurdlow, nr Buxton, Derbyshire
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The Royal Oak, Hurdlow, nr Buxton, DerbyshireThe biggest challenge for those camping at the Royal Oak isn't wrestling with a sloping field (it's flat); being kept awake by traffic (no nearby main road); or finding things to do (it's slap bang in the middle of the Peak District). No, it's chomping their way through one of the award-winning pies sold at the pub.You could probably actually camp in one of these monsters — they're that big. Packed with fine ingredients, they make for a filling reward after a day's play in the Peaks, especially if washed down with one of the excellent local draught ales.

There's space for around 20 pitches (bring strong pegs for the rocky ground), and a converted stone barn with comfortable bunks if the weather's wreaking havoc. Surrounded by over 100 acres of farmland, with the 13-mile Tissington Trail passing right next to it and the Limestone Way actually cutting through some of the site, this is a great base for walkers and cyclists (a bike-hire company drops and collects bikes here). Bakewell, Ashbourne, and Buxton are all short drives away, making this an accessible and friendly place to get up close and personal with the British countryside - and its pies.

COOL FACTOR Who ate all the pies? We did.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans - yes. Caravans - no. Dogs, groups - by arrangement.

The Royal Oak, Hurdlow, nr Buxton, Derbyshire

ON SITE Small campfires are allowed if contained and off the ground. Two camping fields with good washing-up facilities, free hot showers, and toilets in a clean barn. There's also a water tap and an outdoor washing line.

OFF SITE Monyash has a great park for kids, while Buxton, with its Pavilion Gardens (01298 23114) and charming Opera House (www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk) has lots to offer.

FOOD AND DRINK The Royal Oak serves real ales, alarmingly large pies, and other award-winning pub grub. The best fry-up in the area is available at Old Smithy Tea Rooms (01629 810190) in Monyash. Piedaniels (01629 812687) in Bakewell serves fine French and English cuisine.

GETTING THERE Head towards Ashbourne (from Buxton) on the A515, and after 5 miles take the right-hand turn, signposted Hurdlow. The Royal Oak pub is on the right.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT The nearest station within walking/ taxi distance is Buxton (6 miles). The Hartington Bus goes along the A515 and will stop on the main road, Уг mile away.

OPEN All year.

THE DAMAGE £13 per pitch, per night; £20 per large pitch.

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