Not to be confused with the one where all the Lakes are. The Peak District sits in the heart of the country. Nestled between Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire. An area of great diversity, it is split into several parts. The Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found. The southern white peak, where most of the population live and the south west peak, which embodies both. The Peak District became a national park in 1951, With its proximity to the cities of Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield, and easy access by road and rail, it attracts millions of visitors every year.
Not surprising that it attracts photographers from all over the world. There is something quintessentially unique about the peaks, as it is affectionately known, that is unlike other British countryside realms. From the plague village of Eyam, to the ancient stone circle on Stanton Moor, the peaks is home to a victorian bath filled with Koi carp and underground boats that go underneath the rolling hills. If you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, feast your eyes on these…
1. Lady Clough Forest
Lady Clough forest could almost be mistaken for those ancient trees that line the winding roads of Washington and Oregon. There is a feel that you could be across the pond as you drive over the Snake Pass, which runs right through it.
2. Nine Ladies Stone Circle
High above the village of Birchover, lies an ancient secret that you can only find if you look hard enough. To this day it remains a spiritual place for pagans and druids alike who still gather to celebrate the sabbats and equinoxes throughout the year.
3. Mam Tor
Mam Tor is a 517 m (1,696 ft) hill near Castleton in the High Peak of Derbyshire, England. Its name means “mother hill”, so called because frequent landslips on its eastern face have resulted in a multitude of “mini-hills” beneath it.
4. Bamford Edge
Bamford Edge is one of those most exhilerating walks in all the peaks. The walk starts from the Derbyshire village of Bamford and climbs on country lanes towards Bole Hill and Bamford Clough. You then head north and pick up the Bamford Edge footpath on Bamford Moor. There are splendid views across the Peak District Hope Valley and down to the lovely Ladybower Reservoir below.
5. Red Deer Stag
On rare occasions, these beautiful and elusive creatures can be found grazing in the field behind the pub at Fox House. But approach with caution, they are very much wild.
6. Monsal Head
Perhaps one of the most breath taking peaks views is that from the Monsal Head Hotel, looking down towards the old viaduct. The Monsal Trail that we know today was once the old railway lines that ran through the countryside. These days its a haven for walkers and cyclists.
7. Derwent Reservoir
Back to Ladybower, that sits in the Derwent Valley. This part of the upper Derwent is home to the most spectacular views of the reservoir. They played a key role in the most famous bombing of the second world war, but today they are places of peace and tranquility.
8. Chee Gorge
Chee Dale is an absolute gem, secreted in the deep folds and curves of the Upper Wye Valley. You could drive along the A6 between Bakewell and Buxton any number of times, and have no knowledge of the delights of the river, hidden as it is from the A6 passing over Taddington Moor.
9. Paddly Gorge
A hot spot for paddling kids in the summer, if you follow the river down to where the trees begin to bend towards the water you’ll find a world almost long forgotten.
10. Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass is in the High Peak area of the English county of Derbyshire. It lies to the west of the village of Castleton, in the National Trust’s High Peak Estate. The road winds through a cleft, surrounded by towering limestone pinnacles. The pass was once thought to have originated as a giant collapsed cavern; however, a more recent explanation is that it was a ravine between the coral reefs that originally formed the limestone. The name is a corruption of ‘wind gates’. A local legend is that the pass is haunted after a young couple were murdered by miners.
11. Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath is famous for its seaside feel. With the river that runs by the main parade, the shop fronts are lined with fish and chip shops and arcades. For 3 months of the year, the Matlock Bath illuminations light up the waterway, and Gullivers Kingdom theme park that sits high on the cliff top bring in thousands of tourists each year.
12. The Heights of Abraham
If you’ve never seen them before, you can’t miss the cable cars that hang in the air above the road that brings you into Matlock Bath. The Heights of Abraham are home to two of the most famous caverns in the peaks.
There is something about Castleton that keeps me coming back. The cottages which seem to wind around the river are so tiny and magical, you could almost imagine tiny people living in them!