The Peak District is an absolutely stunning national park in England and is located at the southern end of a mountain range called the Pennines.
UK’s First National Park
It was the United Kingdom’s first national park established in 1951. It is known for its spectacular rolling hills and popular spa towns such as Matlock Bath, Castleton and Bakewell.
In these towns you can check out the local farmer markets which sell a range of products such as homemade fudge or try the famous Bakewell Pudding which originated here in the 20th century. If you like activities such as paragliding, mountain biking, sailing or even just relaxing in a traditional British country pub there is plenty to do.
Hiking in the Peaks
The Peak District is an excellent place for hiking too, especially around the area of Edale, here you are surrounded by the Kinder Scout plateau and the majestic Great Ridge which stretches for 2 miles from Mam Tor to Lose Hill.
The Great Ridge is the one of the most popular hiking routes in The Peak District, on one side of the ridge you have the valley of Edale and Castleton on the other. There is an expansiveness and openness which can be admired from start to finish walking along here especially on a clear day.
The photograph above is taken from Back Tor which is one of the many peaks along the way and in the background the highest point is a 517m hill named Mam Tor or “Mother Hill”. What is great about this hike is that there is a number of ascents and descents which means you are always getting a different view from various vantage points.
It is good to take a break after reaching each peak, sitting down enjoying the magnificent views whilst refreshing for the next stage of the journey ahead.
During the summer the Peak District is an especially enjoyable place to visit. There is nothing better than blue skies complimenting the luscious green fields of the English landscape. And of course there is plenty of wildlife with huge amounts of semi-natural habitat being home to a variety of different species.
You are able to see animals such as mountain hares, common lizards, short-eared owls and you guessed it – many, many sheep. The photograph above is taken from Lose Hill and shows the valley of Edale which is located on the north side of the Great Ridge and is also a great place to visit with many spectacular sights.
Visit Edale Valley
From the town of Edale you are able to take a short (but steep) walk up towards Nether Tor which stands at 590m providing some amazing views across the Peak District. There are many little streams flowing down the hills which makes for some nice photographs.
However, the main attraction here is the vast moorland stretching out for miles, so it is vital that you bring a map and compass to navigate your way around as it is easy to get lost.
There is certainly a feeling of solitude which is hard to find elsewhere in the United Kingdom, especially as most of the country is populated with mankind leaving signs of civilisation everywhere you turn. In fact the best untouched land is located on the famous Kinder Scout Plateau which is the highest point of elevation in the Peak District.
Find Peace in the Moors
Kinder Scout national nature reserve is probably the most challenging and rewarding of walks. The moorland can be seen above from The Nab in the above photograph – just where the sun is disappearing over the horizon. In good weather conditions from the moorland itself it is possible to see the city of Manchester and even mountains as far as Snowdonia in Wales (See the blog on Mount Snowdon here).
There is a waterfall named Kinder downfall which is the tallest waterfall in the peak district and even a legend of a mermaid giving immortality which once lived in a pool by Kinder Scout!
Many beautiful sunsets can be seen across the plateaus so pick a spot on a clear evening to watch the golden skies and round off the day, just make sure you’re not too far away from a town for when it gets dark.
Come rain or shine the Peak District is the perfect place to escape the confinement of busy city life and surround yourself in the fulfilling English countryside. Even the gloomiest of days can be enjoyed by just simply being away from the stress and anxiety of social environments.
One to Four days stay in the Peak District is perfect, depending on what you are looking for. But for however long and for whatever reason you decide to visit this wonderful part of England you will certainly not be disappointed by its beauty.
The Great Ridge