A day behind the rest of you, but here we are at the next letter in the A-Z blogging challenge of the letter “P”. And for me, P is for Peak District.
The Peak District is Great Britain’s first national park, designated as such on 17th April 1951. It is 555 square miles of outstanding natural beauty in central to northern England, covering areas of Derbyshire to the south and West Yorkshire in the north by way of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire in between.
It is an area where some of the earliest signs of human habitation have been found. Evidence has been found in caves in Dovedale amongst other areas, and there is a scattering of Stone Age circles and neolithic burial barrows throughout the area. Later, the Romans settled there and evidence is still seen today such as the spring at Buxton which was dedicated to “Aquae Arnemetiae” – the local goddess.
Speaking of water, the Peak District is the source of many rivers including the Goyt, Tame and Mersey. It is also the location of the Ladybower reservoir which as well as providing water for the population of the East Midlands, was the place that Barnes Wallace perfected the “bouncing bombs” of the Dambusters fame in WWII.
The Peak District is home to more than 38,000 people and at the high points in the season, visitors from cities such as Manchester and Sheffield swell those numbers by more than 10 million each year. They go for a variety of reasons, from visiting attractions such as Chatsworth House and the Blue John Mines, to hiking or fell running up the slopes of Kinder Scout or Mam Tor. Some even go for the festivals and events such as the Opera festival in Buxton or to watch the Royal Shrovetide Football match which is an annual tradition dating back to the 12th Century. Others might visit places such as Eyam which was made famous for its self-isolation in 1665 to avoid passing on the Black Death to other villages, or the villages dotted around and about who take part in well dressing ceremonies in the spring and summer each year.
Personally, I love visiting the Peak District for its stunning natural beauty that is found within a half hour car drive away from my house. I am so lucky to live on the doorstep of such a wonderful place and it is a source of rest, relaxation and reflection to me. I urge you go take a trip if you can, or to follow any of my links to find out more about this truly amazing piece of God’s earth.