Lower Damgate Farm Cottages & Wedding Venue Dovedale Animal Sanctuary

Dovedale, llam, Nr Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AD
Tel: 01335 310367 Mob: 07779 210791 Email: info@damgate.com

Lower Damgate Farm, is built on a community of local people who work together creating something special in the Peak District. It isn’t just us humans but our animals who contribute to our diverse way of life. So whether you are staying in one of our award winning holiday cottages, getting married, attending a workshop,  those who use our venue do so in the knowledge they are  contributing to a unique charity supporting the animals and farm which delivers value to the community and local economy in a range of ways.


Welcome to Lower Damgate Farm. If you stay you at the farm, will be a part of a big family, not only with us but our animals too as Dovedale Animal Sanctuary is onsite and a big part of the farm. We pride ourselves on being a small family business and offer our beautiful home out to guests who want to relax and unwind in this wonderful part of the Peak District National Park. Our Farm has over 22 acres for guests to use, it is very rural with lots of space, gardens and beautiful landscapes to enjoy. The area is great for walks straight from the door and is in the ideal position to explore the peak District National Park as our farm is nestled between the famous Dovedale and Manifold Rivers.

 We are surrounded by National Trust land and only a mile from the local village of Ilam with the NT Ilam park,  Stepping Stones and Dovedale on the doorstep. We are also close to the villages of Alstonefield, Wetton, Milldale and Thorpe where there are good pubs and teas rooms as well as being close to the market country towns of Ashbourne, Leek, Bakewell and Buxton where there are good amenities and local attractions to explore like Alton Towers and Chatsworth House.

 When you are at the Farm, you may be staying in one of our luxury self-catering holiday cottages made up of  the Courtyard properties (Reuben’s Roost, Bremen’s Barn and Hope’s Hideaway, Purdy’s Place which is in the main 16th Century Farmhouse and our little bespoke Alpaca Hut with the Hot Tub, or Rosie’s retreat our little gypsy caravan. Though this is our home we are very relaxed and happy to share our little world with you. There have been many residents over the years as the farm was once a Viking Longhouse, The Romans lived here and built the culvert that is still running down the drive and the Tudors built the house we now live in. The  landscape around us is stunning, it has its own eco climate, when the sun shines its hot and when the wind blows it goes over the top of us as the Vikings were good architects, we love it and it is a perfect base to explore this beautiful part of the world.

 Our ethos is relaxed and informal with a philosophy that “Nothing is a problem”. We are very approachable and want our guests to feel at home. The Farm is an escape from the world kind of place, rural and remote but comfortable with everything you need to enjoy a break away where you can feed the animals, watch the sunsets,  put your feet up, chill out with drink, light the BBQ and enjoy quality time with your favourite people. You create your occasion, bringing your walking boots, provisions and a carrot or two for the animals and we give you the space and respect to do your own thing.

 We are humbled to say that the cottages have just won the 2021 Farm Holiday Cottages of the Year in the North West Prestige awards and The Courtyard Cottages have been highly commended in the Sunday Times Travel Reviews. Affectionately known as the Tardis, these 16h Century barns have been adapted for large groups or independent, depending upon your needs. Each have their own private facilities in addition they can be hired together for groups as Hope’s has a very  large kitchen and living area, Reubens’s is spacious for mingling, and all are adaptable to  meet and greet, cook, dine together whatever your number.  

Individually Reubens Roost has 3 bedrooms sleeping 7 +. Bremen’s Barn 4 bedrooms sleeping 8+ and Hope’s Hideaway has 4 bedrooms sleeping 9 + as well as a large games room. All are spacious and joined via the courtyard. As a whole the Courtyard property has 11 bedrooms and sleeps 24+ guests. In addition, we can offer you Purdy’s Place at the end of the farmhouse with 2 bedrooms and a little living area, sleeping 4 +1. We also have our bespoke “Alpaca Hut” which is like a luxury shepherds hut with its own Hot Tub!  plus, our little Gypsy caravan Rosie’s Retreat where two adults can escape to in the summer months. The outside areas include large gardens and lawns with a safe play area, BBQ and Decking areas, as well as outdoor furniture and plenty of space to run around, chill explore or play games. All guests are welcome to use and explore the farm with over 22 acres of fields and paddocks including woods and a pond area, as well as to meet and greet our resident animals.  

If you are staying for a wedding or an event or workshop you may be using Dovedale Barn and Garden Room which is licenced for civil ceremonies. Dovedale Barn is not your typical farm barn as it has been sympathetically converted for weddings, events and workshops. You have to see it to believe it as it has all the facilities you need for an amazing occasion including the wow factor!

We have an open-door policy and guests are welcome to come and find us! If you have any questions or need any information shout as we are always happy to help.  Our philosophy is that “Nothing is a problem” and when you stay all we ask for is that you have an amazing time. All our bookings help to support Dovedale Animal Sanctuary.

Thanks for looking and we hope to meet you soon

Karl and Carolyn and all the team at Lower Damgate Farm

Lower Damgate Farm had a secret review!

We think it tells you our story better than we can!

Carolyn is a warm and welcoming host and ensures you feel at home as soon as you meet her. She is originally from a farming background and purchased Lower Damgate Farm in 1996.

When we met Carolyn, she told us a little of her story. Her dream was to start an Animal Sanctuary but never thought it would happen as she was working in the corporate world for Microsoft and was travelling the world with little time for anything else. However, when Carolyn developed cancer this gave her the incentive to make a lifestyle change, her father had seen Lower Damgate Farm in the Farmers Weekly and sent her the profile of this run down and derelict farm. Not phased she grasped the opportunity to do the farm up and follow her dream. What transpired was a lifestyle change for her and her family as well as a new beginning for Lower Damgate Farm and Dovedale Animal Sanctuary. 

The Farmhouse was completely derelict when Carolyn moved in and with a new family on the way she put her heart and soul into renovating the buildings and providing a loving home for her three small children. Moving on to the barns she created what is now Reuben’s Roost, Bremen’s barn and Hopes’ Hideaway, all named after her children. This was also the time that Dovedale Animal Sanctuary was founded, with a passion for saving anything and everything Carolyn now provides a forever loving home to many needy and neglected animals.

Since 1996 the house and cottages (originally cow sheds) have undergone a complete transformation and a program of major restoration was undertaken, and as she tells me “it was complete mayhem and upheaval for a number of years but it was fun too” The first phase was completed in 1999 just after the birth of her second child.

The buildings are Grade 11 listed and situated in the Peak District National Park, it was important for Carolyn “to get it right” and she worked extensively with the authorities to create the finest holiday accommodation that I have seen.  Her aim was to keep the original features and characters of the buildings and this has culminated with her providing the best holiday accommodation, wedding barn and holiday experience possible.

Sadly in 2001 Foot and Mouth stopped all visitors to the farm but as Carolyn explained, that was just a hiccup.  Since then the business has grown with her enthusiasm and over the years Carolyn and her family have continued to invest in the holiday business. They have transformed the farm and properties into a beautiful and homely place for guests to enjoy all year round.

Carolyn still lives at the farm with her partner Karl and their three children Reuben, Bremen and Hope and as a family they continue to manage and maintain the farm for your enjoyment. 

I certainly found this when I stayed at the farm with my family this summer. Carolyn’s mantra is that “nothing is a problem” and we felt this as well as the ambiance of the farm as soon as we arrived. 

The area has a special surreal beauty, and as we drove on a little b road to the farm you could see the glorious Peaks surrounding the farm and for miles beyond. As you climb up the hill from Ilam (eye lamb) which is home to the National Trust white peak estate, I felt as though I was driving into the middle of nowhere and as you crest the hill before the farm, the expanse of the Peak District unfolds.

The farm is Nestled in the bottom of the valley and its position is spectacular, protected from the elements but with fabulous views around, we were excited to be here. The farm looked tidy and welcoming and as we drove past the cottages and down to the farmhouse Carolyn was there to meet us. 

Carolyn and her family pride themselves on old fashioned values and think that it is important for you to feel the ambiance of the farm and what they have to offer. This isn’t always possible before you book especially in today’s climate where you can book online, however if you do visit you will be welcomed, with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The family go out of their way to make you feel special. We had been sent extensive helpful information before we arrived which we found invaluable. There is a wealth of beautiful places to visit and lovely villages with cosy pubs for you to enjoy, Chatsworth, Bakewell, Buxton and Ashbourne are close, as is Alton Towers for the children! However, you don’t need to go anywhere as you can walk this stunning county straight from the doorstep.  

There is plenty of character in these cottages and as Carolyn mentioned they are like a Tardis, on looking around we quite agree, there is a lot of space to escape to and Carolyn’s attention to detail shines through. These cottages have been thoughtfully planned with a myriad of antiques as well as a modern accent in technology. They are unique in their design, lots of plush furnishings and soft sofas, there is an emphasis on comfort with a country feel, though the main large kitchen is modern and stylish and can cater for large groups or small. The farm lends itself to any combination of groups with a general feeling of being at home in a relaxed and welcoming environment. What we loved is that if you want to spread out and put your feet up you can. 

We felt very relaxed in the cottages and managed to explore the National Trust estate, Ilam Park. We also found time to walk from the farm down Hall Dale to the River Dove and on to the stepping stones.  After our walk we arrived back at the farm to be greeted by Tiffin, the family Labradoodle. Dogs are welcome at the farm but Carolyn says she tries to keep the B&B Rooms in the Farmhouse allergy free!

We fed the goats and Alpacas, collected eggs for breakfast and had a game of pool, we also enjoyed lazing in the Hot Tub after we put the children to bed, sipping the unexpected welcome gift that was waiting for us when we arrived. Exhausted but happy we fell asleep into extremely comfortable beds.  

To sum up, we had a wonderful time at Lower Damgate Farm. The sun shone and when we return, which we will, we know that we will be welcomed back with open arms and with Carolyn’s great big happy smile.

Thank you Carolyn

 Mark F – Editor – The Sunday Telegraph