Did you know...
The National Park reaches into five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire,
Staffordshire, Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. It is the most
accessible national park – close to Manchester, Sheffield, Derby,
The resident population is 38,000.
More than 10 million people visit each year. Contrary to the popular
urban myth, it is NOT the second-most visited national park in the world
after Mount Fuji - this is an error widely repeated on the internet !
An estimated 20 million people live within one hour’s journey of the
Peak District. More than 50 million people live within four hours’
The Park has 1,600 miles of public rights of way (footpaths,
bridleways and tracks) including 64 miles accessible to disabled people.
It has 65 miles of off-road dedicated cycling and walking trails – many of which are disused rail routes.
The southern end of the Pennine Way, Britain’s oldest long-distance
national walking trail, is at Edale in the Peak District National Park.
Completed in 1965, it stretches 268 miles from the Nag’s Head pub in
Edale to the Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm, Scotland.
Around 520 sq km (202 sq miles) is open access land - open to walkers without having to stick to paths.
The varied landscape includes impressive gritstone edges (the Dark
Peak); steep limestone dales (White Peak); 196 sq miles (51,000ha) of
moorland; rolling hills and farmland (south west Peak). Caverns famed
for rare Blue John stone, 5,440 miles (8,756 km) of dry stone walls, and
55 reservoirs supplying 450 million litres of water a day.
Average rainfall is 1025mm a year (national average is 985mm), average
sunshine is 3.9 hours a day (national average is 4.3), and average
temperature is 10.3ºC (which equals the national average !!).
The name ‘Peak’ does not relate to mountains (there are none) – it is
thought to derive from the Pecsaetan, an Anglo-Saxon tribe who settled
Highest point: Kinder Scout, 636 metres (2086 ft).
Tallest cave: Titan Shaft, Castleton, 141.5 metres (464 ft) - taller
than the London Eye, it is the largest known shaft of any cave in the
British Isles, and was discovered on New Years Day 1999 by local cavers.
Bakewell is the only market town within the Park bonudaries. Dating
from medieval times, it is home to one of the UK’s most important
agricultural markets, famous for Bakewell puddings (flaky pastry base,
moist almond and jam filling, said to be invented by lucky mistake by an
18th century kitchen maid), and close to the stately homes of
Chatsworth and Haddon Hall.
Villages of interest include Castleton (famous for caverns, “shivering
mountain” of Mam Tor, Winnats Pass, Peveril Castle), the “plague
village” of Eyam, Hathersage (reputed the grave-site of Robin Hood’s
friend Little John), Tideswell (14th century “cathedral of the Peak”),
Ilam (Swiss-style architecture), Ashford-in-the-Water (a classic English
riverside village), and Tissington (with its magnificent Hall).
The most popular leisure activities are walking, climbing, cycling,
mountain-biking, caving, angling, photography, nature-watching, gliding,
visiting historic houses, country pubs and tearooms.
The main industries are tourism, quarrying, farming, and manufacturing.
Nearly 90 per cent of the national park is farmland (there are around 1,800 farms).
With 70 active and disused sites, the Park has more quarries than
all other UK national parks put together. This is due to centuries of
mineral extraction, abundance of sought-after stone and central
location. Some of the sites are very large (eg: Hope Cement Works,
Tunstead, Ballidon), whilst other much smaller workings provide
traditional building stone. Modern conditions require sites to be
More than a third of the national park (35%) is designated as Sites of
Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where important plants, wildlife and
geological formations should be conserved. Most are privately-owned
though often publicly-accessible.
Included in the 2,900 listed buildings are the world-renowned
Chatsworth, medieval Haddon Hall, Peveril Castle (Norman), centuries-old
farm-buildings, cottages and Bakewell’s medieval bridge, crossed by
traffic every day.
Equally important are the 109 conservation areas – often in the heart
of a village, specially protected for their character, architecture,
history and landscape.
More than 450 scheduled historic monuments include Nine Ladies Stone
Circle (Bronze Age) on Stanton Moor, and the Neolithic henge at Arbor
Well dressing is a distinctive local custom. Originally a pagan
ceremony to honour water gods, it is now a summer tradition in dozens of
villages. Week by week, different villages decorate their wells or
springs with natural, ephemeral pictures made of flowers, petals, seeds,
twigs, nuts and berries, pressed into soft clay held in wooden frames.
Well dressing weeks also include carnivals and streets decorated with
The Peak District is a great place for ‘set jetters’ – As well as the
spectacular scenery, film, TV and literary locations: Chatsworth (The
Duchess, Pride and Prejudice), Haddon Hall (Jane Eyre, Pride and
Prejudice, Elizabeth, Henry VIII, Moll Flanders), Lyme Hall (Pride and
Prejudice), North Lees Hall (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Other