We are a family run country tearoom & restaurant nestled in Dimmingsdale, Alton in the heart of the beautiful Churnet Valley in Staffordshire.
For over 35 years, we have offered a range of high quality, traditional home-made food – from hearty breakfasts, to delicious three course lunches to tasty snacks – not to mention our extensive range of mouth watering homemade desserts!
Our menu is home-made and we pride ourselves on using only the best ingredients – many of which are sourced from local suppliers within the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Whether you chose to eat in our cosy beamed snug, our airy garden room or alfresco in our beautiful gardens overlooking the woodland, we guarantee you’ll find the atmosphere warm and welcoming.
And, of course as well as enjoying a delicious meal you can take in the beauty and tranquillity of this spectacular valley by strolling through Dimmingsdale using one of the established woodland walks.
As part of the valley’s transformation in the 1800’s, the Earl of Shrewsbury commissioned the design of two gatehouses within his estate – Dimmingsdale Lodge (now the Ramblers Retreat) and Pink Lodge (opposite the lower gates to Alton Towers).
These gatehouses were strategically positioned on Earls Drive, the main thoroughfare through the estate. The gatekeepers would keep a watch for the Earls carriage from the tower to ensure that gates were opened promptly & thus avoid an interrupted journey.
In the 1900’s the Earls estate was divided up into lots and sold. Dimmingsdale Lodge was purchased and used solely for residential purposes until the 1960’s. However, after this time the lodge was left vacant and feel into serious disrepair.
A dereliction order was placed on the buildings in 1978; however Gary and Margaret Keeling asked to buy the derelict Lodge from the owner, Sir Anthony Bamford to enable them to restore it back to its original state.
It took two years hard work to restore, however in 1980, Gary, Margaret and their family moved in and made it their home.
However, whilst in the garden, walkers would frequently comment to Gary & Margaret that it would be lovely to have a cup of tea and scone in Dimmingsdale after a walk. And so in 1981, Margaret opened up her living room to ramblers for a cup of tea and cake, and so the Ramblers Retreat was born!