The Peak District National Park consists of areas commonly referred to as the Dark Peak, White Peak and South West Peak. The National Park boasts coverage of 555 square miles, covering Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. The National Park Authority is a group made up of people committed to conserving and enhancing all the Peaks have to offer. Due to the location of the Peak District National Park, it is estimated that around 20 million people live within an hour of the Peaks. With many rail and bus links, it is the perfect destination for holidaymakers.
History of the Peak District National Park
Peak is an old English word meaning “hill” which is how the name ‘Peak District’ was born. The campaign to open up the countryside to the public began back in the 1880s by local MPs. People felt it was their right to walk freely among the moorlands which created opposition from landowners. Various demonstrations were held by the public who argued walking was a great form of exercise.
There was progress made by those wanting the areas opened up but no real authoritative action until much later. It wasn’t until 1951 that the Peak District became the first National Park of its kind.
Steeped in history the Peak District is host to an abundance of historical treasures such as millstones, grindstones, historical buildings such as Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall, and Tissington Hall. There are also castles to explore such as Peveril Castle and Bolsover Castle. Many of the places within the Peaks show evidence from the early ages including Mesolithic Age, Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age.
The Peaks Landscape
There are four visitor centres situated within the National Park: Bakewell, Castleton, Derwent and Edale. A good place to start if you aren’t sure how to make the most out of your time visiting the Peaks. There are plenty of rail and bus links around and within the Peaks making travelling from A to B easy. There are also lots of downloadable maps and information pages detailing all the activities and sights in any one area.
Varied landscape moulds the National Park – you can experience rocks, moorland, farmland, woodland, valleys and gorges. You will be met with spectacular scenery, beautiful wildlife and flowers, and wherever you are visiting in the Peaks you will be surrounded by such stunning natural beauty. You might find yourselves in deep woodland so peaceful you will feel it’s just you, or by one of the picture-perfect rivers. There is such a diverse range of surroundings and many trails available to maximise these views.
Things to Do
If you are a wildlife lover then the Peak District offerings will not disappoint. You can expect to see birds of prey, birds, cattle, highland cattle, sheep, foxes, rabbits, hares, butterflies and other insects. There are also some animal sanctuaries dotted around where you can see other wildlife such as otters and deer.
The Peak District offers a diverse range of activities and walks, ranging from challenging steep climbing trails to wheelchair friendly “miles without stiles” routes. There are also walks suitable for all ages from the elderly to the young making it suitable for all. There are so many activities to choose from including abseiling, family bushcraft day, rock climbing, canoeing, cycling, walking, camping, horse riding, climbing, caving, water sports, air sports and fishing. You can also just sit and relax in your surroundings, perhaps enjoying a picnic while taking in the glorious landscape.
There are so many places to potentially visit in the Peak District so it’s perhaps best to plan your days. Here are five of the most popular places to visit:
Dovedale: a valley situated between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud. A riverside sidewalk where you can see limestone gorge scenery. You can also see some of the caves the Peaks have to offer. This is a popular hotspot for tourists.
Chatsworth House and Estate: situated near Bakewell this impressive attraction is likely to leave you speechless. It is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and there is so much to explore both indoors and outdoors.
Stanage Edge: overlooking Hathersage in Derbyshire this is a popular hotspot for walkers and climbers alike. You will be in for some stunning views and may recognise some of them from the film Pride and Prejudice. If you want some stunning scenery then here will not disappoint.
Poole’s Cavern: if the underground is your style then this should be right up your street. As well as having a guided tour through the cave you can also enjoy trails above the caves. The walks include woodlands and also Solomon’s Tower, and some pretty amazing scenery which will leave you in awe of the Peak District National Park.
Kinder Scout: close to Hayfield and Edale, Kinder Scout is a popular hiking spot. Here features Kinder Downfall which is a popular waterfall situated on the River Kinder. You can also see the gritstone cliffs and the Mermaid’s Pool.
Did You Know: there are no mountains at all in the Peak District. Kinder Scout claims the highest point in the Peaks at 636 metres. The lowest area of the Peak District is the caves, the deepest some of which are 400 metres below ground.
Did You Also Know: the walking trails in the Peak District National Park total an amazing 2000km. Better still you can go at your own pace and choose a route to suit your walking style.
The Peak District National Park truly does have so much to offer. From the inactive to the most active of families there will always be something to choose from. A once in a lifetime break with views and activities to create a lifetime of memories. The Peaks offer a diverse range of locations including picturesque villages, busy market towns, traditional pubs, historic buildings and activities galore. With so much holiday accommodation available you can relax and enjoy everything the Peaks have to offer.