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Peak District (Derbyshire)

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NATIONAL PARK. National Park Officer, Peak District National Park Authority, Aldern House, Baslow Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1AE.
Tel: +44 (0)1629 816 200 Fax: +44 (0)1629 816 310. e-mail: aldern@peakdistrict.org

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      01.12.2009 14:38
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      A National Park well worth a visit

      As a keen walker and birdwatcher, the surrounding landscape was a big
      factor in my choice of university. I eventually chose Sheffield because of its proximity to the Peak District - and I was definitely not disappointed in my choice. In this review (having apologised for its length!) I hope to give you some insight into this beautiful piece of country.

      A Little History

      The Peak District is the oldest of our National Parks, founded in 1951, and remains true to this day to its original intention of providing an escape from the surrounding industrial cities. Located as it is in the counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire and South Yorkshire, this little patch of Pennine upland numbers among its urban satellites Manchester and my own city of Sheffield. Its situation has made it (according to Wikipedia!) the second most visited National Park in the world after Mount Fuji in Japan.

      Geology and Landscape

      The Peak is split into two regions dependent on predominant rock type. The White Peak, found in the southern District around Buxton, is limestone based and is riddled with all the caves and rock formations typical of this environment. The Dark Peak is generally accepted to be in the northern Peak, and is based on gritstone (a coarse version of sandstone). This leads to a wilder landscape of high heather moorland, trimmed with dramatic rock edges such as Burbage and the famous Stanage.

      Activities on the Peak

      For me, the primary activity in the Peak District is obviously walking. The National Park offers a huge variety of tracks and trails - visitors can chose to bimble a hundred yards along the River Derwent, or engage in monster full day hikes on the Kinder Plateau or Bleaklow. Many of these trails are also popular among fell runners, mountain bikers and horse riders - check your ordnance survey map and you are bound to find a route suiting your inclination and ability.

      The Peak is also famous for its climbing, due to the aforementioned gritstone edges. Stanage, located near Hathersage and the largest of the edges, runs for 3.5 miles and has single pitch routes catering to all abilities. There are also edges at Burbage north and south and Millstone, quarry climbing at Lawrencefield...the list runs on endlessly. If you have any interest in climbing and have not already encountered the Peak, then you have missed out. Just bear in mind that gritstone is murder on the hands!

      In terms of physical activities, visitors can also try their hand at anything from hang gliding over Burbage Moor to full scale caving in Castleton. But there are also plenty of activities for those looking for a more relaxing day out. The Peak District is absolutely stuffed with history, both from its industrial heritage and from an earlier time. I'll detail some of these attractions later in the review - suffice for now to say that you will find something to interest you whatever your preference.

      Wildlife

      Different rock types mean different flora, and so different wildlife, giving the Peak great biodiversity. Different areas of the peak are also managed in different ways - for farmland, grouse moors or recreation. In the last year I've seen badgers, foxes, red deer, muntjac deer, brown hares, kestrels, buzzards, red grouse, curlew...I'll stop before you get bored, but enough to say that there is enough variety for any keen wildlife spotter.

      Key Attractions - Natural

      Given the size of the Peak District and the range of attractions available, it's impossible to detail everything. I'll just include a few that I've visited and particularly enjoyed.

      - Kinder Scout: The highest point in the Peak District. As highest points go, this is not the most inspiring - it has no particular summit, few dramatic edges and, at 600m, is something of a dwarf compared to its Lakeland cousins. Rather, the sweeping Kinder plateau revels in a Wuthering Heights-esque brand of lofty loneliness. The last time we visited was on a D of E hike - it had been raining the whole morning and we had scrambled up a streambed to reach the plateau itself, but just as we peaked the sun finally decided it was time to come out. Traversing the edge of the plateau, with a spreading view to our left and a long purple-grey sweep of heather moorland to our right, was an experience that would make me recommend Kinder to any keen walker.

      - Mam Tor and Winn Hill: I've grouped these two hills together as both are summits of little height but extreme personality. Mam Tor is generally climbed from Castleton, while Winn Hill overlooks the Ladybower reservoir. Both offer speedy height gain and fantastic views.

      - The Derwent Reservoirs: This is a general name for the three reservoirs of the Upper Derwent Valley, namely Derwent, Howden and Ladybower. These reservoirs are worth visiting both as impressive feats of engineering, and for their picturesque nature. My own suggestion would be to visit Ladybower after heavy rain and walk along her side, as you can then watch the excess water pouring into holes (I don't know the technical name I'm afraid!) to stop the reservoir overflowing. It's a very impressive sight. For those interested in history, the Derwent reservoir itself is where they practised the bouncing bombs later used in the Dambuster's raid.

      - Caves: Limestone is highly water soluble, and so the White Peak has something of a speciality in caves. Non-cavers can stop at Castleton and visit any of four show caves, Peak Cavern, Speedwell, Blue John and Treakcliff. All of these are truly thrilling experiences, especially if you have children, albeit a little on the expensive side.

      - Kinder Downfall: This attraction deserves special mention as it is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen - a waterfall which flows backwards. A combination of stream morphology and wind direction have led to conditions where water going down the gully is blown backwards, creating an impressive white plume of spray. If you can face the hefty climb up here, then it is an unforgettable sight. Just remember to wear waterproofs - the downside of a waterfall flowing upwards is that you will almost definitely get soaked!

      Key Attractions - Human

      The Peak District boasts many attractive towns, including Buxton, Matlock and Castleton. These are interesting in their own right, as well as offering good bases for exploring the surrounding Peak. However, much of the human interest in the National Park is offered by its historical buildings, such as:

      - Peveril Castle, a tiny ruined hulk of a Norman Castle balanced on the hill above Castleton. English Heritage requests a sizeable entry fee, but even if you just want to look at it from the outside, it's quite an impressive relic.

      - Eyam - more famously known as the plague village. In 1665, when plague was reported in this tiny Derbyshire village, the villagers imposed a voluntary quarantine to protect surrounding inhabitants. It is a wonderfully pretty, agreeably spooky little place - good as a stop in the middle of a day's walking, or for a specific visit.

      Of course there are many others, but as everyone has different interests, I will leave you to discover these yourselves.

      Access to the Peak

      In terms of access, the location of the Peak very much works in its favour. Drivers can easily get into the National Park, and the road network is by reputation very good. The only warning is that parking is often limited in the honeypot areas, so be ready either for an early start or a quick change of plans in the holiday season.

      Public transport is also relatively good. Those wishing to visit the centre of the peak can use the Hope Valley railway line, which runs between Manchester and Sheffield and gives access to such walking and climbing hubs as Hathersage, Edale and Hope. The White Peak is also very well connected to both Manchester and Sheffield. Buses are a little more slapdash - you can plan a walk around the buses, but check your timetables careful (especially during non-tourist season), try and arrive early and be aware that double deckers do not take well to gale force winds or heavy snow. This is not just a casual comment - having nearly been stranded in Castleton last year, I now take it very seriously!

      Accommodation

      There is a huge range of accommodation available in the Peak, from campsites all the way to big hotels. UK campsite can give detailed listings (I can recommend Edale as a base for a camping holiday). For those looking for cheap and cheerful accommodation, there are more than ten Youth Hostels dotted around the region, in places such as Eyam, Edale, Hathersage and Castleton. You can also easily find bed and breakfast accommodation in any of the larger towns and often in the smaller ones.

      Ups of the Peak

      Hopefully the overload of information hasn't put you off the Peak District, as it is a place with many advantages. It is easily accessible, offers a huge range of landscapes and experiences, and has a huge amount of natural beauty. There're not many places in this country where you can spend a whole day out on the moor and be home to the city in time for tea - especially without the benefit of a car.

      Downs of the Peak

      The main down is caused by the Peak's main strength - it's location means that it is often chaotically busy, especially when the sun comes out. In most national parks walking a mile or so means you shed the crowds, but it is very difficult to be properly alone on the peak unless it is raining VERY heavily. It has the feel of something which was once truly wild, but in a way has been tamed...countryside, but not really wild country.

      Recommendation

      I would definitely recommend the Peak District as a day out or a holiday for absolutely anybody. Many places have variety, accessibility or beauty: but the Peak is a winner in the combination it offers of these three important factors. Of course it has its flaws - where doesn't? - in its busyness and crowds, but that doesn't limit its quality as an amenity for people and for wildlife.

      Being used to the more obvious drama of the Lake District, I didn't really understand the Peak until last Winter. England was shivering under its heaviest snow fall in years: after chafing at the bit for days, myself and my friends had finally escaped the study books in favour of a conservation project up on the Blacka Moor Reserve. Most of the day we were safe under the trees. But at the end of the day, just as the sun was turning the clouds red, we found ourselves on the edge of the woodland, where the high peat moor begins. Three of us, up to our knees in freezing snow, stared out over the blank landscape with its black trees, watched the fiery sunset, felt the bite of the bitter cold air. We felt like the loneliest people in the world. And away to our left, a bare four miles away, the lights of Sheffield were just coming to orange life.

      The Peak District is a precious island in our country's industrial heartland. It is a place which we should all strive to experience, and to protect.
      Thank you for reading :)

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        28.05.2009 11:29
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        Something for everyone!

        LLiving just down the M1 in Nottingham, I've taken many a trip to the Peak District National Park. It's a massive place, with too many beautiful walks to comment on - so I shall comment on the best I've come across so far - The Roaches. This fabulous ridge walk is rarely busied by families with pushchairs and suchlike, making it peaceful and nicely uncrowded, even in high season. There's a good, challenging climb up to the start of the classic walk (park just outside the Roaches Tearooms), after which you follow the ridge along , down and across some lower level ground to some woodland, where you'll eventually come across Ludd's Church (which isn't actually a building - it's a section of forest where some very dramatic rock creates cavern, where supposedly Wyclif Ludd preached anti-establishment views in secret to an avid group of followers). There's a great tearooms near the start of the walk, so if you're doing a circular walk, I can definitely recommend a re-fuel there at the end! The views from the conservatory at the back are to DIE for and the homemade cakes and hot, homecooked meals are fab! Just what you need after a hearty walk (see roachestearooms.co.uk for further info - I'd recommend parking near there too, so you can collapse in the car after your immense cream tea!). Just an observation about the Peak District in general though - leave early and always plan for the drive to take you 1/3 or more longer than you'd think from the map. There are a lot of winding roads, quite a bit of farm traffic slowing things down, and quite a few 30 zones through the pretty villages, so leave early, relax and enjoy the quaint pace of life without worrying about the time passing!

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        11.09.2008 04:16
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        Easy to get to, easier to enjoy

        I am lucky enough to live part way up a hill on the edge of the Peak District national park. You'd think this would mean I wouldn't have to walk any further than my window to see the beauty of this fantastic area. However, the landscape contains so many diverse features that the views from Chinley Churn provide a mere glimpse of what the park has to offer.

        The area is divided roughly into two areas - White Peak, where the ground is more chalky, and Dark Peak over the peat moors. These two types of landscapes then contain difference within them with the Dark Peak offering areas coated with purple heather, grassland moors and peat bogs at this time of year.

        For walkers, there are a range of difficulties of walk, ranging from the lowland Sett Valley trail, the Pennine Way (accessed easily from Snake Pass without climbing), through Mam Tor (with steps for an easy climb) to challenging routes up and ontop of Kinder (including to the beautiful upfalls where water is blown back up the hill as it crosses the top of the waterfall. History buffs will enjoy seeking out the many aircraft remains from the second world war. Climbers can get thir thrills at Pym's Chair on the White Peak or Stanage Edge on the Dark Peak. Castleton offers many caverns with guided tours, including one with an underground journey by boat. Mountain bikers will enjoy a plethora of bridleway trails and roadies are often seen out taking in the views and climbs on the A624 and A6187. Those enjoying watersports will find somewhere to enjoy their hobby on one of the Peak's many reservoirs. There is plentiful accomodation, from basic campsites in Edale to posh hotels on the edge of Buxton.

        One of the criteria for British national parks is that it is accessible and close to centres of population - the Peak District certainly meets this, nestled between Manchester and Sheffield within easy reach of Leeds and Birmingham. There is a train service out to Glossop for Bleaklow and through the Hope Valley from Manchester, and there are many buses from Sheffield out into the Peak.

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          31.10.2006 00:05
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          WOW

          I have been to the peak district national park a couple of times and love it there, I think the beautiful surroundings and stunning scenes may have something to do with that. Not only that but I am a huge lover of conserving and protecting the environment so this is right up my street. Hope you enjoy reading about the peak district National Park

          Peak District National Park

          (The following time line is what is thought has happened to the peak district and how it has developed throughout its history)

          Time Line

          350 million years ago

          Derbyshire (The area most covered by the Peak district) is covered by clear warm seas and is filled with life forms. The species diversity is high and the area is filled with plant and marine life

          300 million years ago

          Derbyshire is in the centre of a huge river which collects and drops sand, stones and mud over much of England. The mud’s forming in deep water became shale; a weak rock which forms a barrier to water, and the sands became gritstone; a rock filled with tiny holes which water can move through without making an impact on the rock. Before this, limestone was the main known rock form; limestone dissolves in rain, so much of the limestone dissolved with the mass of water.

          280 million years ago

          Derbyshire now taken over by tropical swamps which are randomly flooded by the sea

          60-280 million years ago

          Derbyshire is at or below the sea level. Long periods completely underwater resulted in large amounts of rock forming above the base of gritstone

          60 million years ago

          Area finally emerges from the sea, the thick rock layers begin to erode and leave behind much of the current day peak district

          1 million years ago

          Ice ages begins, between periods of time when the weather is as it is now. At the start of the ice build up, the peak district was covered hundreds of feet high with ice, the ice stopped at Leeds south facing. The peak was put through an intense ice cold period. As the frozen areas slowly began to thaw out, many landslides occurred and boulders fell to create steep hills and rocks at low levels.

          20,000 years ago

          The first people came to the peak district in large numbers, these people modified the natural landscape by burning woodland and hunting. People living in the area continued to harm the National Park, which is why it has now become a protected area.

          The peak district national park is a much visited area and it is highly valued by the visitors and workers/conservers of the area.

          The peak district national park was initially established as Britain’s very first National Park in 1951 and it covers parts of 6 counties. This was put in place to help to conserve the beautiful and sometimes the wilder parts of our environment.

          Before the Peak District became a National Park, most of the walks within it were out of bounds to the public as they were considered dangerous and no safety measures had been put into practise. At this time the peak district was very natural and had not been recorded as how it developed as work was not done and the area was derelict.

          In 1935 the idea for making a public area in the peak district and creating walks which the public can use to view the area was first thought of.

          The Peak district was given the heading as a National park by 1951, and the first long distance footpath in Britain “Pennine Way” was opened.

          The purpose of the park is the following;


          • Remarkable beauty and character to the natural landscape

          • Very significant and relevant geological features

          • The public have reported a “sense of wildness and remoteness”

          • The area offers clean water, air and earth

          • The environment has a strong range of wildlife and an extremely unique biodiversity

          • There is much human history to be found on the landscape through many years of working on pathways and improvements, to keep the environment as natural as possible, but offering practicalities for visitors

          • There is a strong and distinctive character to the villages and settlements

          • There is a huge array of historic buildings, parks and gardens

          • The area is very quiet and offers much enjoyment to the visitors

          • There are many opportunities for outdoors adventures and recreation activities

          • The area is very easy to access

          • There is a strong and vibrant sense of community

          • There are many customs, legends, traditions and arts in connection with the area

          • The methods of farming and working on the land are environmentally friendly

          • There are many craft and cottage industries

          • There is much value attached to the park by surrounding communities.

          Most of the National Park’s land is now used for farming, forestry or game. These are very powerful in the shaping and maintenance of the landscape and they are responsible for a lot of the maintenance which takes place. For this reason farmers and workers in these industries are encouraged to practice effective management.

          More than 22 million visitors visit the national park every year, so there is a huge amount of pressure for the standard of the park to be very high. The visitors play part in a small problem as the impact is not thought to be good for the national park’s maintenance due to the constant impact cycles.

          The European Union has been a big influence on the Peak district and it has grown dramatically since the first national park plan was written, various areas of the park are bound to the Union programmes or protection.

          The environmental act of 1995 was a significant part of the legislations for the national parks. This was a reminder that national park designation provides a very high status of protection for the landscape and beauty in the area.

          The main things about sustainable development is the link between global and local environments, as well as people and the economy and in this park it has already been addressed. This was shown and talked about at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. This was the first time that the worlds leaders accepted that the way they had been working was no longer working.

          The government has offered numerous initiatives, such as putting in indicators to measure the sustainability. The local measures will then be based on this and used to test whether actions used from the management plan are going to move the national park toward a sustainable future.

          The authorities work in company with communities and both are willing to break boundaries to improve on their listening skills and work together as part of a team. Plans are worked on for the communities and local authorities to improve quality of life.
          The park is now working for a better environment. They aim to produce and implement management action plans, recognising distinctive assets and issues, for specific areas of opportunity or concern.

          It is also being worked for better people relations within the park. This is meant to be done by fostering sustainable communities with a range of local services and ‘affordable’ homes, focusing on designated local plan settlements.

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            28.04.2005 15:40
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            Located in Derbyshire, The Peak District is one of the best places to go in England if you want to have a holiday in the countryside. In fact, if you want to consider that you have seen the best sights that England has to offer, visiting the Peak District is a requirement.

            Perhaps the scenery lacks the grandeur of the Alpine region and the weather is less than perfect (understatement of the decade), but there’s so much to do and see in the Peak District, along with some wonderful walks, great scenery, and plentiful local services that it rates very highly indeed.

            Accommodation

            There is a wide range of accommodation based in and around the Peak District, from posh hotels to cottages you can rent for yourself. (This is what we did for our honeymoon and it felt much more special than going to a hotel.) If you want to be in the best place for all the sights and attractions, your best bet is to go to Matlock. This is likely to be busy most of the year though as for some reason it’s the bikers’ capital of England, and there is often some sort of motorbike rally going on there. If you do choose Matlock be sure to book up a long way in advance! Otherwise, it’s a case of seeing where you want to go / what you want to do and picking a location based on those factors.

            Local Services

            With a few decent-sized cities nearby in case you need them, the services you’ll use most often are the plentiful pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops scattered around. You’ll never have to go far before you find somewhere to stop and have a drink or a meal – well, unless you’re really doing some serious hiking! The prices are extremely reasonable, for the most part even at the big tourist centres and attractions. The range of foods etc available is pretty good and there are often local speciality dishes available, the only one that immediately comes to mind is Ale Pie but there are others. The local pubs and coffee shops (and we’re talking about little independent ones, often attached to a Post Office, not the soulless environs of Starbucks and the like) have a charm and quaintness about them that can only be achieved by places where you feel you’re walking back in time – it looks as though they’re practically unchanged over the decades. The friendliness of the locals certainly adds to the experience. (Despite the quaintness, however, you’ll very rarely find places that don’t accept credit cards!)

            They also like their cheese Up North, and there are some seriously gut-expanding ranges for you to sample, both at the restaurants and the little local shops. The shops too have an air of antiquity hanging over them, and you can quite often get some pretty unusual items to take back as keepsakes, along with the normal touristy items, postcards, etc.

            Walks

            Most holiday cottages (and possibly hotel rooms but I can’t verify this) have at least one local guidebook with walks available to you. The walks vary quite considerably in length, difficulty, and estimated time to complete, so there’s something for everyone. As usual, if you live in a city you may find that you’re nowhere near as fit as you thought you were and a “gentle” 4-hour walk nearly kills you! On a sunny day these walks offer some glorious views, but obviously if it’s a dull, damp day you may need to be a dedicated hiker to still enjoy them.

            Attractions

            But if you don’t fancy walking among the hills and dales (and occasionally mountains) of the Peak District, there are plenty of other places to go. There’s a train line populated with working steam engines, if that’s your thing; there’s Chatsworth House, a renovated historical house and gardens (voted the best in England), which apparently would take you more than a day to see all of the house alone (a bit pricy though - £14 a couple of years ago, we decided that was a bit too much), and many other things. Buxton is well worth a visit, though we didn’t stay there very long so I can’t remember too much about it. (Hey, we were on our honeymoon at the time, you can’t seriously expect me to remember details?!?!?)

            I’ll let you do your own research as to what else is there – I’m just going to give you some details about one of the attractions we visited on our second visit to the Peak District:

            The Heights of Abraham

            Or was that “Abraham’s Heights”? Hmm… Anyway, this is named after a place in Canada (of the same name… duh) which I think has something to do with a war, can’t remember and anyway it’s not really important. The site is basically a mountain with on of very few working cable cars in England, two lead mines, a visitor centre, and some other stuff stuck on top of the mountain for good measure. (Stop me if I’m getting too technical for you.)

            The cable car is damn fast, it seemed much quicker than most of the ones I’ve been on in Austria. You get some breathtaking views as you go up, and in the visitor centre, the story of how they actually got the cable car pylons in place is pretty breathtaking in itself. The novelty value of actually going on a cable car in England was in itself enjoyable (though of course it wasn’t an English company that made and installed it – they were French).

            Quite a bit of effort has gone into making the tourist centre, walks, games of kiddies, restaurant, shop, and other facilities go a long way with a little space. The highlight though has to be going down the first of the mines (the second, a little way down the mountainside, is much smaller). It’s not as cramped as many so tall people aren’t so likely to have a headache and backache by the end of the journey! There’s a brief video before you go in and then a guided tour. If you like historical titbits then you’re in for a real treat. Of course, if you couldn’t give a damn about history, then you probably wouldn’t go there in the first place…

            The walk down to the second mine is very enjoyable (if you’re luck y enough to get a sunny day, anyway). The walk up is pretty painful though, so beware! (It would be a good idea to get some training in beforehand…)

            The only downside to the attractions in the Peak District is that if you do a few of them, the cost adds up very quickly. I would advise planning before you get there what you want to do. There’s quite a bit of variety in what you can do and see, but it is a tad on the expensive side, so be warned. (In fact, this is my only real reservation about the destination as a whole.)

            Overall

            If you like the countryside, hiking, history… you’ll be in heaven here. Well, unless the weather’s really against you, and you could say that about anywhere. I’m not sure how much smaller children would enjoy it, but I loved going to Austria when I was much younger and it was much the same sort of destination in many ways. Perhaps best for couples… though I’ve only been there with my wife, so I can’t compare what it’s like to go there with a group of people.

            Well, enough of my waffling. You should certainly know enough by now to decide whether The Peak District is somewhere you’d want to visit. If you do, I hope you get the chance someday – I promise you won’t be disappointed!


            Thanks for reading.


            CaptainD


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              29.08.2003 06:28
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              Instead of our usual jaunt to the seaside, my husband and I decided that what was really needed was something different. We wanted peace and quiet but we also needed to be able to keep the children occupied and happy too. We were lucky enough to find a cottage, high on the moors of Derbyshire, on the edge of the Peak District. Not only did we get the peace and quiet we craved, we were perfectly positioned to explore the Peak District and all the delights it had to share. I don't think that there are many who could fail to be moved by the beauty of the Peaks. The valleys and the Dales, The Black Peaks and the white, the moors and the forests. I am trying to find the appropriate words to describe the breathtaking views and the exhilaration of standing on the edge of the Moor, looking out at the valleys below. It really is a unique experience. There are 1,600 miles of walks available to you as well as miles of bicycle paths and bridleways. For those of you that fancy a challenge there are too many places to see and explore to mention but that does not mean that the less adventurous of us would be unable to enjoy some of the bounty's that this great area has to offer. Think of great TV programmes like Peak Practice and All creatures great and small and you will get an idea of some of the pretty little villages that nestle in the hills and in the valleys around the area. Believe me though, the camera does not do them justice. They are far more quaint that they appear on the box. Many of you will have read my opinion on Eyam, the plague village which can be found in the Peaks. This is only one of the great places we were able to visit. I think of all the villages that we explored, Bakewell was my favourite. Bakewell is not only a picturesque place, with its church steeple, it's majestic bridges straddling its babbling river and it's quaint little shops. It is also the birthplace of the good old Bakewell tart or puddi
              ng as it should be called. We visited an old shop that made these culinary delights and whisked one home for tea. The Bakeswell Pudding that is available in Bakewell is nothing like the ones that we can buy in our supermarkets and resembles an egg custard in some ways although the distinct almond flavour and the dollop of jam is still there. There is an abundance of farm shops in and around the Peaks and the food available was absolutely excellent. Being able to buy a pad of butter, freshly churned was wonderful and as you can imagine breakfast in the morning was an excuse to try all sorts of fresh and natural products. For those of us that like to explore there are some fabulous show caves in the Peaks. Poole's Cavern at Buxton is a delightful experience and what I thought was great was the fact that they have done a lot of work to make it as accessible to everyone as possible. The paths were quite level to make access possible for wheelchair users and the cave entrance was level and easy to enter. We had a great time here. The guides were great and well informed and the tours were really interesting. The experience we had here made us want to visit more caves and we found ourselves a few days later visiting Peak Cavern in Castleton, better known as the devils arse because of the rude noise that the water made as it flooded the cave. Unfortunately I found this cave a bit too much and the dreaded claustrophobia struck. I had to be taken back to the beginning of the tour and the mouth of the cave. The rest of the family thoroughly enjoyed it though and said they definitely got their money's worth. If castles and stately homes are your thing then you will find plenty to satisfy you here. Chatsworth House is a beautiful stately home with its wonderful halls and beautiful gardens. Occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire this is a real royal residence where even the chickens are housed in a listed building. For the children, Chatswor
              th has its own working farm where they have regular demonstrations and petting is allowed. There is also an impressive adventure playground for the kids to play in too. There is a charge for all of this and if you don't have time to do it all you might like to sit by the river in the grounds of Chatsworth. The river is so shallow at this time of year that children can quite safely play in it and my youngest spent a good few hours paddling and exploring. Most of the pubs do food, although we did find that many of the pubs actually shut in the afternoons and reopened in the evening during the midweek. There were lots of places to eat and cream teas were a specialty. If after all that peace and quiet you find yourself yearning for something a little more lively, you can pay Matlock Bath a visit. Named because the waters around there were though to have healing qualities Matlock Bath is well known for being the home of the biker, Matlock Bath has all the attraction of a seaside resort, only instead of the sea you have the beautiful river Derwent. There are the fish and chip shops, arcades, novelty shops and great pubs. We were luck enough to visit Matlock Bath during the illuminations where the town is all lit up at night with beautiful lights and there are little boats on the river with fantastic lights and designs. The kids loved Matlock Bath because it satisfied all the yearnings they had for the seaside. For those of you that do not suffer from a fear of heights there is an impressive cable car ride that carries you up above the trees to The Heights of Abraham, a little theme park high up on the cliffs with a play park for the children and a restaurant with one hell of a view. For the little ones there is Gulliver's Kingdom, built into the hills of Matlock Bath. Great for the little ones this is one steep park and totally unsuitable for those with wheelchairs or those who struggle to walk. I wish I could share all the delights
              of the Peak District with you but we would be here forever. I will tell you that everything was well signposted which was really useful as many of the long and winding roads looked the same. We found that parking was really good and in many places it was free, parking signs were well marked and accurate. There were plenty of toilets in the tourist areas and everything was clean and well equipped. Some advice I would offer if you are planning a visit. Make sure that your car is in good condition. Some of the hills are really steep and very narrow and some of the routes are difficult. Check your tyres before setting out. Take a map with you. As I have said before, many of the roads look similar and it is reassuring to have a map with you. There are some really good guides for the many walks on offer. I would also suggest if you are walking near the moors that you go in two's. It's very easy to get lost. Take a coat. The weather can change really quickly. Wear goos flat shoes. Some of the foot paths are a bit steep and your feet will take a hammering. Take a camera. The views are breathtaking and you will want to share them. Stop overnight. There are loads of campsites dotted around the Peaks, in fact some of the little pubs had them alongside and they were cheap too. Watch out for busy traffic, especially at the weekend. The Peaks are a very popular tourist attraction. Drink it in. In my opinion the Peak District is the eighth wonder of the world. Make the most of it. We had a fantastic time and have returned home shattered but definitely satisfied. We were worried that there would not be enough to keep our picky teenager and hyperactive 11 year old amused. We were wrong, they loved it and are already hoping for a return visit

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                29.05.2003 08:38
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                I was visiting a friend from Tintwistle a year ago and his only mode of transportation was his Harley. He took me to all of the normal places, Manchester (a real snooze, once you've been to one city you've seen them all), a really cool rope factory near Glossop, it was a great time....but one of my two favorite days of all was when we went for a long bike ride through Snake Pass.... I'm from Northern California coast and used to scenic beauty and fog, Snake Pass rates right up there in the top 5 for me.... if you're out in the area and want a beautiful ride with loads of places to stop and sort yourself out, Snake Pass is one of the best..... Have a peaceful life...

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                  25.11.2002 03:25
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                  Not a million miles from where I live in Shropshire is the Peak District in Derbyshire, around 70 - 80 miles to be a little more precise. I am ashamed to admit it but until the end of August this year I had never visited this area, and what a revelation it was to me. It must be one of England's best kept secrets! Our week was spent in what used to be a Gamekeepers Lodge, now converted and improved to include every comfort of home, with lots of privacy and a large garden, with views over the Hope Valley. I was struck immediately by the stone walls, everywhere the fields were bounded by dry stone walling, I wondered just how long the walls had been standing, many years I?m sure, and the craft of dry stone walling is really something when you see it in it?s natural setting and on such a scale. The countryside is full of contrasts, wild and windswept moorland, rolling pastures and woods, streams and rivers, just wonderful. The area is a magnet for hikers, and there are maps in the local shops containing detailed information on various routes across the hills. Just about a mile or maybe less to the east of Hope is Castleton, famous for Peverill Castle which stands above the town. Castleton is very pretty, especially along the riverside walk; there are the usual gift shops, pubs, cafés, and last but not least the caves, which are open to visitors. We visited Speedwell Cavern, where you have to don hard hats, climb into a small boat and travel along a water filled tunnel for about ten minutes until you get to the actual cavern, when you can get out and stretch your legs while the guide gives you the lowdown on the mining history of the tunnel and cavern. There are over 100 steps down to the tunnel, and of course, the same coming up when your tour is finished :-) It was fascinating, but I did feel a little claustrophobic in the boat! The price for each individual is between £5 and £6. I must mention Blue John, the
                  semi precious stone that can only be found in this area, there are some lovely pieces of jewellery available in the local shops that contain Blue John. I was also surprised to learn that examples of pottery have been found in Rome made from Blue John stone! A good example of the stone will be purplish blue with a yellow vein through it. Another village I just had to visit was Eyam, now more commonly known as the Plague Village. Firstly let me say do not visit on a Monday, we did and the Museum and Hall were closed. We tried again on a Wednesday and did a tour of the Museum, where information about the Plague in 1665/66 was on display. We learned of the tragic tale of the family from Riley Farm, where one person survived, this lady buried her husband and all of her children, the burial site is known as the Riley Graves. Also in Eyam is Eyam Hall, we were too late to visit as it closed at the beginning of September, but we did visit the Craft Centre and The Buttery which are in the grounds of the hall. I can recommend the Steak Sandwich with Red Onion Marmalade at The Buttery, wow, it was delicious! Another treat for me at Eyam was the Well Dressing, an old tradition in Derbyshire where a giant picture made of flower petals and grasses and seeds is created by villagers every year, the previous weekend had been Well Dressing week, and it was a work of art. Other places within easy reach are Chatsworth House, and Tideswell where the church is known locally as The Cathedral of The Peak, also the beautiful Derwent Valley. The holiday was a really enjoyable one, the people were friendly, the scenery fantastic, and the history fascinating, in fact a week was in no way long enough to see all there is to see. That is why I will be back, very soon.

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                    06.12.2001 20:23
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                    INTRODUCTION I must start here by admitting that I'm not a real fan of trekking. However last Sunday I was convinced by a couple of friends to go walking in the Peak District,and more specifically to Edale Horsheshoe,one of the most spectacular areas in Derbyshire. I should start by saying that this area isn't as crowded with Sunday trekkers, as the more popular Jacob's Ladder (or Grindsbrook Clough as it is also known) but is just (and in fact more)scenic. THE ROUTE Since we were quite new to the area, we decided to follow the recommended route: This covers the approach to the widely known Kinder Scout plateau and follows a circular route starting and finishing at Edale End. By that way the woderful peaks of Lose Hill, Black Tor, Mam Tor, Lord's Seat, Brown Knoll, Cowden Tower, Upper Tor and Nether Tor were included and although it's a very tiring walk (can last about 6 hours-if you take the whole at once),the beauty of nature pays for that.The view is (with one word) amazing. ACCOMODATION Since we wanted to follow the whole route we thought that it would be a better idea to get there the night before and start walking early in the morning.There are many places to stay but we would recommend Edale which is the nearest village to our area of interest. Around the village square there are several houses which offer tea and bed-and-breakfast but the best thing is too book as quickly as possible since rooms are limited. We stayed at the Edale Youth Hostel (tel. 01433 670302)-situated in the village square and which is only 11 pounds per person per night. Mind however that you need to be a member to be eligible for that price: The membership fee is 12.50 per year and can be paid when booking. The Peak National Park Information Centre (tel. 01433 620679) can give very useful info on rooms and prices. PUBLIC TRANSPORT Getting to Edale is quite easy: There are trains (from Sheffield a
                    nd Manchester to Edale Station),buses from Sheffield and of course you can get there by car-Whatever suits you better. RECOMMENDATION Mam Tor stands amongst the most beautiful locations that we visited that day.It is actually a very popular location for shorter walks and many people go there just to admire the view. I would recommend however that you resist the temptation of staying there and follow the path:It's worth a lot. IN OVERALL Edale Horsheshoe is among the most beautiful parts of Peak District. Although walking around long distances can be quite tiring, trekking in Edale (and Mam Tor more specifically) it's a fantastic experience and I'm sure that with careful planning you won't regret it.

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                      11.09.2001 02:40
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                      Well, I just seem to have the most exciting sort of holidays don't I? more like disasters that hit the poor english countryside, for the people never to recover from me or the whirlwind that my friends create! So, I wrote about my love of the Lake District but in answer to a query, yes I have been to the peak district and althought it's scenic my experience was one of... humour. Thank god I have a sense of humour to be able to cope with the nightmare I managed to make myself go through!!! Oh, this started when I was sixteen, wow, that long ago... two years ago. It seems an eternity to me away that long, but it was my first true holiday away, without adults with only my friends. This is what happened.. My birthday is at the start of august so, maybe a year before we started planning, three of us to go away for the summer, over my brithday so we could celebrate without adult supervision but mainly to try and grow up some! So, we made lists of what we need. Sturdy sleeping bags, sturdy tents, money and some food, plus warm clothes. We did, after all, live in england and knew what the weather would be like ^__^ So we all got packed up and got ready for the train on the saturday morning, really early, like, eight am! I felt tired because my best friend Sam had kept me up snoring and we met the members of our expanded ontourage. It had been just me, sam and richard going but along the way we had managed to add James and Emma to it! So, we got on the early train from Donny Station to Derby, where we switch for matlock. Everything went fine on the train to derby, if for lack of room! We couldnt sit down nor nothing, and my love of trains has dwindled since then.. -__- and we got to Derby. The train was late from there, giving us chance to draw out some money, grab a drink and talk. When the train finally arrived it was as crowded as the bigger one to and past derby had been and we squished on. Maybe an hour or so later we got to matl
                      ock, after reaching derby. houldering our eighty five litre backpacks, stuffed with clothes, pots and pans and tents and sleeping sacks, we lumbered our way to the scenic trail Richard had marked out as a route to comfortably walk. I wasn't the most energetic person ever, nor the fittest but after ten minutes of walking emma began to whine. Half an hour of whining later and me, rich' and james we're plotting how to murder sam's friend in her sleep. It was hot, muggy rather and I hate people who whine on and on and on... but we kept moving relentlessly. We walked for maybe two miles to the camp site we meant to stop in before we came across a pub. It was early afternoon by now and we all needed a drink. We ordered cokes and Pint each, then sat down. As we did, I remember eating salt. But then again, I had sweat most of it out of my body. I dont know much about this history of the peak district, but it is beautiful. It reminds me of a warm and not so windy dales at times, but when climbing the varied hillocks about, It also reminded me it was a death trap for accident prone people like me. Pretty, I thought as I drank the remainder of my coke, then brought out a can of red bull before we set off again. Me and Richard shared it. No one else liked the taste but us... so we shrugged and finished it off. Walking resumed as we waded past pictoral villages in our hunt for richards' elusive camp site. Suddenly it all went steep on us. Sam, Miss Whine a lot<emma> and James demanded a rest before we rounded the corner. They must have been glad me and richard agreed, because about the bend lay the biggest hill yet and the sides were vertical, I mean sheer! At this point my vertigo half kicked in but I climbed on and upwards, just thinking to myself that the sooner I did it the sooner we'd be back on flat ground again. The trio wheezed up after me and the oddly energetic rich. They said we lookd like mountain goats with backpacks. I took
                      that rather well considering how tired I felt ^__^ Not long after and we finally made it to the campsite for early evening. It had taken us so long to get there due to people always whining, but it was worth it. I can't remember the name of the campsite, but it was a small farm just on the outskirts of a village with cows in the fields, a lovely farm house, and trees sheltering the camping area. We set up the tents and decided who was kipping where, then we went to wash off all the dirt of the day. We went out that night and to my shame I do admit we got tipsy. I woke up without a hangover, but everyone else looked like death, so I left them to burn bacon in what they called "breakfast" my stomach roiling at the thought of it, and I wandered off into the hills to see what this place had to offer to try and make me like it as I liked the peaks. Nothing could rival it sadly, for even though the peak district is pretty, I missed the chill scent in the air, the bite of water and the soft grey mornings of the lakes. Im a poet at heart... and the steel evenings and bleeding sunsets of the peaks didnt charm me. I spent the rest of the day walking about and playing in long grass like I was ten years old again and talking to the Tolkien Recreational Players who were camped just up from us, asking them how to get involved and how often their camps out happened. This was the place where Breakfast at Tiffany's became Breakfast at Frodo's.. and the song stuck in my memory to remind me of fun and wet weather in the Peaks. On the Tuesday we decamped to another camping site that had better amenities on site, but to be honest there was nothing within a miles radius of it, so basically, the next morning, we all went back to the original camping site. I took the taxi back, instead of walking, like I had to the new campsite. haven-something it was called the one we didn't like. My feet resembled blisters... we set up the tents again, got s
                      ome booze and settled in to toasted eggy bread, ravioli and salad. The night passed nicely and I went for a walk under the stars. That's when I think the peak district looks better, at night. The stars were more easy to see than in the Lakes, bright and well defined but I yearned for the lakes reflecting them back... and the quiet lap of the water. Disgruntled I went to bed. The next day we all went out for walks, sam stayed in her tent. when we came back it wa to find sam on her back, groaning and sweating. She wasn't well. Emma went and fetched the junior doctor on site who, at a complete loss, called for an ambulance. Sam was checked into Chesterfield hospital that morning, Emma gone with her. It came back to us that night when Emma came home, that sam had food poisonin. I knew it was the eggy bread... I hadn't cooked it right and I felt so guilty.. the accident strikes again! It was whilst I was cooking dinner that night my finger slipped on the tin and I gouged it, with the sharp edge, and blood ran everywhere. I went to look for TCP to put on the cut, and found a bottle of it in richards bag, but when I poured it over it stang too much and I screamed in pain. "Sorry" said he.. "I re-filled the TCP bottle with vinegar..." It just wasn't my holiday... was it? Sam got visited by emma and richard the next day, leaving me and james alone to sunbathe and talk. We both went cherry red and peeled.. it was also my birthday the next day but we were going home so on the thursday we went to the local restuarant in the village and ate till we felt stuffed then crawled back to our tents, drank booze and talked of silly stuff until we fell asleep. Ok, so the Peak district was a bad experience for me, with heights to make me feel ill and bad things happening to everyone I knew, I just wanted to go home. But, as I am a country girl at heart, when it did come time to go home... despite the peaks being wet, damp, and
                      miserable in total... I HAD had fun, I did like the serenity countryside offered people and I didn't want to go. Hey, we went capming on the cheap, had some fun, but the peaks arent without their dangers... be careful... Use your loaf! Minus the egg.. ^__^ 'Rith xx

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                        02.10.2000 05:22
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                        For me the beauty of the Peak District is encapsulated in the dry stone walls that snake across the hillsides for mile after mile in this wonderful part of the country. Away from the Midlands it seems that not too many people are aware of the Peak District, but for the people in this area it is a very popular place to visit with a great variety of attractions. The Peak District nestles between four major cities (Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby) and this is one of the reasons for the popularity of this National Park as people from the cities can very quickly travel into the hills and dales and away from the hustle and bustle of town life. Bakewell is the only town of any size within the Peak District, and although Matlock and Buxton are technically outside of the National Park, most people think of them as being part of the Peak District. If you have watched the television programme “Peak Practice” then you may already have seen some of the beautiful scenery that there is in this area. Across the Peak District there are a wealth of attractive villages with many small craft shops, tea rooms, pubs and churches. During the Summer there are the Well Dressing festivals when villagers decorate the local wells with flowers to show off a feature or history of the village. These floral displays can be over ten feet tall and are made with thousands of flower heads with a skill that has been handed down the generations. At any one time there may be four or five festivals taking place and normally there may be other activities taking place in the village during the well dressing period. The southern half of the Peak District tends to be more gentle hills and is ideal for casual walking or cycling. The northern half tends to be more rugged and this is the area for the serious hill walkers. The Pennine Way starts from the village of Edale (and continues up to Scotland) and the area around the hills of Ki
                        nder Scout is very bleak and challenging. The geology of the area is a mixture of Limestone with igneous intrusions. This gives the dramatic effects of cracks and splits in the Limestone and a whole wealth of caves throughout the whole area. Everywhere in the Limestone you can see fossils, you only need to look at the dry stone walls. Please remember that as a National Park it is an offence to remove any of the rocks without permission, so please don’t be tempted to take the fossils home, leave them for everybody else to enjoy. The igneous veins in the rocks have brought minerals to the area, particularly Lead and Blue John which have been mined for centuries. They do also say that there is gold in the hills so do keep your eyes open. Of course the Limestone itself is quarried extensively for road chippings and cement, but the quarries are very well hidden and do not affect the beauty of the area. Sheep graze throughout the hills and this keeps the grass short and ideal for walking. There are an enormous number of footpaths throughout the area and the vast majority are very well marked, however I would strongly recommend you take a map along with you, especially if you are walking in the north of the area. There are so many individual delights in the Peak District that you really do need to travel into the area to appreciate them all. In time I hope to write more reviews on the attractions in the area and why people like us are drawn to the area over and over again. I would highly recommend the Peak District and if you do visit the area then don’t just drive around. Get out of your car and wander into the hills and really appreciate what this area is all about.

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                          13.09.2000 02:43
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                          The Peak District stands at the south end of the Pennine Chain bordered by Derby, Manchester, and Sheffield, about 540 square miles are included in the Peak District National Park, it is the first National Park to be created by parliament. It has been popular with visitors since the seventeenth century. By the romantic era The Peak District was valued like The Wye Valley and the Lake District as a minature of the Alps. If you go there there is plenty to see such as Mam Tor, The Limestone Caverns near Buxton and Castleton, and Chatsworth Hall. All the towns and villages have a well dressing which is where the wells are decorated with flower petals pressed into a clay base, to form pictures or designs which are then blessed at a religious ceremony. This probably originated as a pagan thanksgiving for water.

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                            12.09.2000 01:37
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                            I actually lived in Glossop Derbyshire about 2 years ago, it was one of the most wildest places I have ever lived. Most weekends I would go for drive, because the scenery was so breathtaking. The most beautiful place near me was the Snake Pass, when you reached the peak it was so amazing the majority of the time the road would just be full of fog, you couldn't see anything, when you could see it was so barren and bleak. The Snake Pass has a pub called the Snake Inn, it's a really friendly little pub, most interestingly is the pub is adorned with pictures of every really bad snow storm, some years it was about 20 foot deep. Further down the Snake Pass towards Sheffield is a country park, which has loads of activities for walkers and hikers, cyclist's etc. This park has a big dam, which is really famous it has been used in some dam buster films. I'm just talking about one road in the peak district, the area has mile upon mile of similar stretches, each with it's own characteristics, the area is a haven for everybody whether you’re a cyclist, hiker or you just want to drive the roads and take in the scenery. Smell the air the air is different maybe because of the height, you see steam coming off the hills, it can be sunny one minute and the next minute it's snowing or hail stoning. The Peak District is probably one of the most beautiful and yet horrible places I have ever been, if you understand what I mean. Maybe because I lived there I saw so many sides to this unpredictable place.

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                            27.08.2000 15:40
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                            This end of the Peak District may not be so rugged as some areas but it is beautiful. Ilam is a very small village at one end of Dovedale but it does have Ilm Hall a National Trust property which is a very good Youth Hostel on the bank of the River Manifold - which you can walk alongside for some way. Dovedale is a narrow valley with a well maintained path following the river Dove. It can get very busy even on a fine winters weekend but the further you walk the fewer people. Without aa friend to ferry you back the only drawvback is having walked its length you have to turn round and come back the same way as one side of the vally is deliberately kept without paths for conservation reasons but its worth it.

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                            03.08.2000 04:28
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                            Edale is in the northern part of the Peak District...well situated for trains from Manchester, and Sheffield. It's ideal for camping, B&B, walking and unwinding. We stayed at the Fieldhead campsite, which is pretty basic (no powerpoints, so don't bother with your hairdryer), but there are others. The proximity of the railway station is convenient for access, but a bit of a nuisance when freight trains are rumbling past at 11pm. Edale consists of 1 church, a few houses, the Peak Visitors Centre and 2 pubs. There's the Ramblers Inn (good beer, not so good food) and the charming 16th century Old Nag's Head (good beer, good food). Neither place is cheap. Edale is at the start of the Pennine Way, and consequently gets more than its fair share of walkers passing through...but there are some excellent day-long walks to tackle, if you are just using Edale as a base. If you are competent with a map and compass, and are fairly fit then there is Kinder Scout (about 8 or 9 miles away) but there loads of less strenuous walks (and come to that loads of EQUALLY strenuous walks!). If you are used to life in the city, Edale is great for relaxing you...and just as good at wearing you out!

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