The Peak District, the first of Britain’s 15 national parks, covers 555 square miles (1,438km) in the heart of England and is the most accessible.
The Peak District
It reaches into five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. The park is made up of impressive gritstone edges (Dark Peak), steep limestone dales (White Peak), and rolling hills and farmland (South West Peak). The highest point is Kinder Scout at 2,086ft (636 meters).
The National Park is home to 38,000 people and is an IUCN ‘Category 5’ National Park. Visitors can enjoy walking, climbing, cycling, mountain biking, caving, angling, nature-watching, photography, gliding, and visiting historic houses, country pubs, and tearooms.
The nationally-renowned Pennine Way begins in the Peak District and stretches 268 miles (431km) all the way to Scotland. The National Park has 202 square miles of open access land and 1,600 miles of public rights of way.
The Peak District National Park Authority owns and manages 34 miles of traffic-free trails, mostly along former rail routes. The Trans-Pennine Trail through the Peak District is part of the E8 European Walking Route, connecting the National Park to the Turkish border.
The millstone is the emblem of the Peak District National Park, featuring boundary markers and the logo. The millstones have changed over the centuries, with mushroom-shaped conical stones appearing peculiar to the Peak District and wheel-like cylinder shapes produced in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Peak District, a National Park in England, has a rich history dating back millions of years to a tropical lagoon. It was first farmed for sheep, cattle, and crops 6,000 years ago, with traces of fields and terraces still visible today.
The name “Peak” is thought to derive from the Pecsaetan tribe, an Anglo-Saxon tribe that settled in the area. The Peak District is home to several landmarks, including the Peveril Castle in Castleton, one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses, and the famous Garland Day in Castleton on 29th May. The village celebrates the Battle of Trafalgar with a garland parade, while over 70 villages participate in well dressings, which involve decorating wells with mosaic pictures made from natural materials.
The Peak District is also known for its diverse wildlife, including mountain hares, red deer, ring ouzel, water voles, orchids, birds of prey, and miniature life in miniature. The gritstone edges of the White Peak hold territories of the threatened summer migrant, the Ring Ouzel, which are protected through community partnerships. Water voles, the fastest declining UK mammal, can be seen close to local towns and villages.
Orchids bloom in the White Peak dales and along former railway cuttings, and bird species like peregrine, goshawk, short-eared owl, and merlin can be seen in many areas. Conservation and climate are crucial in the Peak District, as three-quarters of the world’s heather moorland is in the UK, with a large proportion in the region.