Situated just off the A6, three miles north of Matlock and five miles south of Bakewell, lies the small village of Two Dales. Small it may be, but it boasts a Post Office, a butcher; a small supermarket, bank (Royal Bank of Scotland), garden centre, garage, doctors’ surgery, a chemist and also The Plough Inn, serving good food, fine ales and cider on tap. If you wish to explore the surrounding area, there are various places to stay; the traditional Toad Cottage within the village, The Whitworth Park Hotel at the lower end where the village meets the main road, or, you could opt for a pine-lodge, set in mature woodland at Darwin Forest Park, high above Two Dales.
The name “Two Dales” is interesting in that it actually derives from “Toad Holes”, meaning “fox earths”, but in the local accent, it somehow got mangled into “two dales”, a name which is, nevertheless, highly appropriate; it is located between two small dales, (or rather three, as the two tributaries join with much larger Darley Dale at this point). Hall Dale is wonderfully peaceful – its woods are owned by The Woodlands Trust, while Sydnope Brook trickles through Sydnope Dale in a series of old mill ponds, brimming with wildlife. For anyone into fly fishing, there is Sydnope Fisheries, where trout can be caught for sport or for your plate.
The name of Toad Hole was deliberately changed c1850 by a new Vicar who reckoned ‘Two Dales’ would be more attractive to Victorian tourists than ‘Toad Hole’ – a victim of ‘gentrification’; it wasn’t that ‘in the local accent, it somehow got mangled into “two dales”] – Same man suggested Darley should become Darley Dale, to entice visitors.
A short walk out of the village will lead you directly into the Peak District National Park where you can explore the open moorland; there are some fine walks up on Beeley and Harewood moors just to the North, while the many attractions of the towns of Matlock and Matlock Bath await you to the South. Below, in Darley Dale itself, runs the Peak Railway, along seven miles of track from Rowsley to Matlock – a must for any enthusiast of steam locomotion; if all this is not enough, Chatsworth House, with its glorious gardens, is only five miles from here.