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Peak District National Park
By Patrick Skemp April 07, 2007

The Peak District National Park is in fact the second most visited National Park in the world (after one in Japan) with 22 million visitors. This figure is based on the number of visits which includes day visitors which consistutes the majority. The Peak Distirct is close to so many major cities and towns, including Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham, all being within one hours drive and of course many of these areas being almost on the doorstep.

The area stretches right up to Homfirth in the North (famous for the TV series, Last of the summer Wine) – this is as far north as Oldhom, which is to the North East of Manchester (in the North of England), to Dovedale, just north of Ashbourne and well south of Buxton in derbyshire which is in the East Midlands.

The Peak District National Park is in fact the second most visited National Park in the world (after one in Japan) with 22 million visitors. This figure is based on the number of visits which includes day visitors which consistutes the majority. The Peak Distirct is close to so many major cities and towns, including Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham, all being within one hours drive and of course many of these areas being almost on the doorstep.

The area stretches right up to Homfirth in the North (famous for the TV series, Last of the summer Wine) – this is as far north as Oldhom, which is to the North East of Manchester (in the North of England), to Dovedale, just north of Ashbourne and well south of Buxton in derbyshire which is in the East Midlands.

The National Park is generally regarded as being split into two sections: the Dark Peak and the White Peak. The Dark Peak is mainly moorland and principally in the north of the area. In particular the famous Kinder Plateau is located fairly central to the Dark Peak, which is about 2000 feet high and made famous as the area for the mass trespasses of the 1930s, leading to the formation of the National Parks in 1948 and ultimately in this new millememium to the ‘Right to Roam’. The Penine Way passes over Kinder, starting just south of this in a small village called Edale.

The White Peak is the area of rolling hills, dales (valleys), and limestone villages and is most frequented by the visitors.It is much softer and easier on the eye. The villages are facinating without being naturally beautiful, having numerous tracks and entries off the main routes and are well worth exploring. The area is famous for its abundance of dry stone walls. Nearly every field is bordered by these walls, many of which are several hundred years old. The most famous area of the White Peak is Dovedale and this is where the early Victorian tourists used to come. (The River Dove is split by name into different sections, Dovedale is on the sourthern edge of the National Park, immediately upstream is Woflscotte dale and upstream of this dale is Beresford Dale, all equallly attractive, and benefitting throughout their length from a good riverside path.)

The White Peak is surrounded by the market towns of Bakewell (attractively sited on the River Wye and much frequented on market days on Monday), Buxton, (a famous Victorian spa town, that has had millions spent on it recently), Matlock and Ashbourne.

There are various ruins of stately houses in the area, but the Peak District boast Chatsworth, one of the great stately homes of England, although the nearby Haddon Hall rivals Chatsworth for its beauty.

The White Peak area of the Peak District benefits from numous trails, made from old railway lines, which are particularly suited to cycling, (of up to 17 miles in length), but for the walker, there is unlimited walking with footpaths and bridleways appearing to run through almost every other field in the White Peak. These are well sign-posted and as there is little ploughing in this area, there are no problems with blockages and the like. Indeed tourists are made particularly welcome by both farmers and other rsidents, which is reflected in the numerous inns and public houses in the area, - almost every village having at least one of these, due to their support from tourism.

There are almost certainly more attractions in the White Peak area of the Peak District than any other area in the UK all within a short distance of each other. This fact, together with the very extensive footpath network, the number of cycle trails and the numerous quiet country lanes criss-crossing the area, ensure that rarely does the Peak District ever feel crowded.

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