Hargate Hall's blog

News and Events at Hargate Hall – self catering and wedding venue in the Peak District

March 20, 2017
by Hargatehall

Wedding interviews at Hargate Hall

Interviews with wedding couples

Over the next few weeks we will conduct some Q&A style wedding interviews with some of our past wedding couples. We will ask each couple a few simple questions about their wedding. Such as how they found us, what they planned and how it all went. Hopefully their answers will be of help to any of you who are starting out on the journey of planning you own wedding.

Why are we doing this? One of the main reason is because we are different to a lot of other wedding venues. By allowing you to choose your own style of wedding, your own caterers and your own entertainment, it can become a bit daunting. Even if it is just what you are looking for. We hope that you will get a bit more information about Hargate Hall and weddings that have been conducted here, by reading these wedding interviews. But also, an insight to why others have chosen us, what they did, and where possible a few pictures to show it all off.

We have conducted all the interviews with real couples who have had their weddings at Hargate Hall. If you choose us as your wedding venue, you will probably get to speak to them. Well, in an online way! We have a very active Facebook group which is open to all wedding couples, past and future, to join. This group provides a great opportunity for future couples to seek advice from those who have already got married here. Also, I suspect that a lot couples thoroughly enjoy telling everyone about their wedding!

We hope you enjoy reading them. If these stories inspire you and you want to come for a look around and find out more about us, then please get in touch. We would love to give you a tour of the place.

Katie and John’s search for a wedding venue

Joe and Simon’s Peak District wedding

Marie and Paul’s DIY wedding

A relaxed wedding for Zoe and Sam


March 4, 2017
by Hargatehall

Biomass boiler installation and commissioning – part 2

3 Years on and I have decided that I really should finish my blog on the biomass boiler installation! So here goes:

Continuing the installation.

After that it was a bit like assembling a giant Meccano kit with one big difference; all the bits were jumbled up (not nicely packaged up as box 1, box 2 etc. and most weren’t labelled.

no where to move!

Nowhere to move!

Over the next few hours, the stack of boxes of components got smaller as assembly continued. This had the distinct benefit of being able to find the parts that we needed more easily. We just had to hope that the inevitable bits left over weren’t too important.

main body of the biomass boiler

starting to take shape

Some bits were more obvious than most … This auger was too long to lie across the room where is was going, as it also had to go through the wall to the next room where the biomass boiler was situated. And the wall it had to go through? This was 1.2m thick. substantially more than any core drill that I had. As I didn’t want to add the cost of hiring in specialist equipment I did the next best thing. I got a very solid metal bar and a very big sledge hammer, and hit, and again, and again. In fact I hit it rather a lot. I seem to remember that it took a good 4 or 5 hours, but it was fun!


Over the coming hours and days, the boiler got bigger and bigger, and the available space in the boiler room got less and less. Once the parts came together and it began to really look like a biomass boiler it was time to start plumbing.

the assembled boiler

Boiler assembled

Plumbing it in

Adding the pipework turned it from looking like a boiler in a basement, into a proper industrial plant room! There are pipes, pumps, isolating valves and filters everywhere.


lots of pipes


An expansion tank, as I am concerned, is normally a small red bottle that sits inside the boiler. Ours, however, is about 4ft high bottle that looks more like a shipping mine!

expansion tank

expansion tank


Connecting to the existing pipework was a bit of a challenge, and is some cases it was easier and neater to take chunks out and replace them altogether. After the plumbing, it was time for the fuel store. Two potential issues with Biomass Boilers and wood pellets are dust build up and running out! To avoid both issues I decided to have two fuel stores, one feeding into the other. The idea was that the pellets could be delivered to the main tank, fed to the next one, and then on to the boiler. When the first store runs out, I can order more pellets knowing that I still have a week’s worth left in the second one. Because the first store is empty, I can clean out any dust and be ready for the delivery. That plan is working exceptionally well.

small pellet store

pellet store

3, 2, 1, biomass boiler ignition!

Well OK, it takes a bit longer than that. Typically, from first switching on, to seeing a flame, is less than 5 minutes. It then another 10 minutes for the whole system to heat up enough to start outputting heat. If you look at the first picture above, you will see two big black tanks (and in the previous blog you can see them being craned in). These are the thermal stores. This is where the hot water is stored, 5000 litres of it. The boiler heats these stores up to about 90 degrees and then switches off. When there is a heating requirement from radiators or the hot water tanks, the heating water comes from this store. This means that the boiler doesn’t have to keep switching on and off.

In the summer, it might only light once every 2 days, and in the winter, it is around 3 times a day. These are just estimates, I don’t sit watching it all day every day, well not any more. However, it is internet enables and does have its own IP address though, so I can log in to it on my phone if I want too!!

Was it worth it?

Definitely. In straight cash terms, we are saving about £4000 being the difference in what we were spending on oil vs what we now spend on pellets. our electricity bills have come down about £500 per month. But the big win, is that the building is warmer. The oil and electric combination just couldn’t to do the job. This has really helped us when we come to show people around for weddings in the winter months. People asked us ” does it warm up?” “do we put the heating on?” and sometimes this was when the heating was on!!

Now I just need to put radiators into all the apartments to make full use of the biomass boiler. I have started on this and have put about 1000m of new pipework in over the last couple of years in preparation for this.

Prescient Power  www.facebook.com/PrescientPower undertook the system design, installation and commissioning. They were fantastic. They didn’t even mind me hovering around all the time, and doing bits when I could!

February 26, 2017
by Hargatehall

Tim and Sally’s wedding – the return

The Wedding.

In September 2016, we were delighted to host the wedding of Tim and Sally (also known in Nottingham as the official Robin Hood and Maid Marion). However, the weekend did not go completely as planned. Sally was in the middle of her second round of chemotherapy. How she managed to walk down the stairs to start the wedding ceremony I will never know. But she did, and the ceremony was beautiful.

Tim & Sal’s wedding

Shortly after that, however, Sally had to be taken back to Nottingham City Hospital and had to remain there for several days. In the past, I am sure that  many people have quietly left the room to avoid listening to the speeches, but this was the most high-profile exits that we have seen! Sadly, not only did Sally miss the speeches, but also the photos, meal and party.

5 months later …

Well, 5 months on we feel even more privileged to have hosted their wedding again! The majority of the friends and family from September are back at Hargate Hall to hold another wedding ceremony. Of course, this is followed by food and partying. At this point I would like to thank Joyce and the High Peak registrar’s, Juliet from 2 Counties Hog Roast and the band “The one Hit Wonders” . They were all fantastic. Lots of other people have also helped in putting everything together, such as the food for the weekend, photographs, drink, decorations etc.  And, of course, all the friends and family who have come back here to celebrate with them. So, thanks to one and all.

Tim and Best Men

The Ceremony

wedding musin by the One Hit Wonders

two Counties Hog Roast

We hope, Tim and Sally, that you had a fantastic weekend this time. And that you have enjoyed all the things that you missed out on first time round. Tim, don’t forget that you must now remember 2 wedding anniversary dates!!