Britain First National Park: Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park covers 555 sq. miles at the southern end of the Pennines between Sheffield and Manchester. It was the first National Park to be set up in Britain in 1951 and, although mostly in Derbyshire, covers parts of six counties. About 38,000 people live in the Park. The major industries are farming, mineral extraction and tourism.

Twin Peaks
In landscape terms, there are two Peak Districts, known as the Dark Peak and the White Peak. The White Peak takes its name from the underlying limestone rocks which dominate in the centre and south of the district. This broad, rolling plateau at about 1000ft is split by river valleys into the dramatic, craggy dales so popular with visitors.
The Dark Peak, in contrast, is named after the clerical grey millstone grit rocks which underline the moorland areas enclosing the limestone to the north, west and east like an upturned horseshoe. Fringed with steep ‘edges’ and weirdly-weathered tors, this is the highest and wildest ground in the National Park, rising to 2,088ft on the bleak tableland of Kinder Scout, north of Edale. In between these two distinct landscapes, the broad shale valleys of the Rivers Derwent and Wye are lined with trees. Here are found some of the largest settlements in the Park, like Bakewell, and the stately homes of Chatsworth and Haddon.

Enjoying the Park
Walking is the number one outdoor activity in the National Park, with about 1600 miles of public rights of way and 193 sq miles of open access land on the northern and eastern moors. This gives an unparalleled choice for the walker, from gentle strolls through the limestone dales or on the converted railway trails, to some of the toughest walking in Britain across the peat bogs of the Dark Peak.

Climbers revel in the short but severe gritstone pitches provided on the ‘edges’ of the moors, like Stanage, Millstone and Friggatt, while longer, more technical climbing is found on the steep and sometimes overhanging crags of the limestone dales.

Traditional customs like the unique well-dressing ceremonies in many villages during the summer, attract many visitors. Others come to enjoy the wealth of historic buildings, like Peveril Castle at Castleton, Chatsworth and Haddon Hall near Bakewell.

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