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Kitted out with hybrid bikes and helmets from Monsal Trail Cycle Hire, we started at Hassop station and headed towards Blackwell Mill. The trail made for a perfect family ride – pan-flat, with sweeping views of the dales for the grownups, plus the added novelty of cycling over majestic viaducts and through the line’s original tunnels for the kids. After four miles, we turned back to refuel with a hearty lunch in the Hassop Station cafe, and toasted a fantastic morning with hot chocolates piled with cream and marshmallows.

The afternoon saw us return to the Monsal Trail. This time, though, we weren’t cycling over its towering viaducts but climbing through the railings of one them – bridge No 75 in Miller’s Dale – to abseil the 24 metres (80ft) down to the river bank below.

I thought our kids, six and eight years old, might balk at the idea of dangling above the fast-flowing river Wye, but, trusting in the quietly reassuring and incredibly friendly Ed Allaway from outdoor education centre Thornbridge Outdoors, they both hopped through the railings and leant back over the precipice without so much as a whimper.

We all did it multiple times, dropping down to inches above the water before being pulled on to the bank. Kids can just be lowered, but our eldest elected to control her own descent, albeit with a backup rope. An adrenaline-filled afternoon was topped off with a tranquil walk along the river Wye from the bridge – birds swooped down to drink, the bright green moss covering the trees caught the evening light, and we didn’t see another soul.

Exhausted but elated, we headed to our cosy bolthole at the Devonshire Arms pub in Pilsley to flop into bed, but not before dinner in the restaurant of beautifully cooked pub food with a sophisticated twist (think golden pies and locally sourced meats from the Chatsworth estate, but with silky jus and fondant potatoes) and a comfortingly simple kids’ menu.

Day two saw us donning climbing harnesses again, this time with Paul Lewis from Peak Mountaineering, to scale Yarncliffe quarry, a beautiful National Trust site. The children have climbed indoors before, but this was their first foray into ascending real rock. Under the expert and endlessly kind instruction of Paul, they gamely patted about for firm hand-holds and learned how to wedge their feet and hands into the cracks that run vertically up the cliff. My husband and I climb regularly and had longed to climb in the Peak District national park – the gritstone routes didn’t disappoint and we plan to come back with the kids to explore the many routes of Stanage Edge and Burbage North with Paul.

Next up was an abseil over the cliff. Something about leaning back over a natural feature, rather than a manmade bridge, made the kids more reluctant, but Paul had lowered thousands of children off that same cliff and knew exactly how to coax ours into achieving it. He was also full of fascinating facts and had the kids entranced with tales of how the spongy sphagnum moss is antiseptic and was used by soldiers to pack their wounds in the first world war.