The Peak District is one of the UK’s most popular national parks located in the East Midlands. Founded in 1951 the Peak District was the first National Park in England. The park itself is in close proximity to a number of major cities in the North of England, which include Manchester, Stockport, and Leeds.
Although the name Peak District might suggest mountainous terrain this is not actually the case in reality. The Park spans an area of around 550 square miles and its terrain consists of rolling hills, farmland and moorland. The Peak District is however significantly higher than much of the terrain in the surrounding area. This means that the park is often prone to extreme weather conditions in the winter months which may include heavy snowfall.
When it comes to visiting the Peak District there are a number of points of entry which often include the surrounding villages. Many visitors opt to drive directly to areas within the park they wish to visit, especially those accessing the more remote areas. Public transport in the form of both buses and trains is also a popular route of entry, however, there are trains to the park from Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton, Chinley, and Matlock, as well as trains from Sheffield to Chinley, Edale, Hope, and Grindleford. Long distance coach services also connect the Peak District towns of Matlock, Buxton, and Bakewell with the rest of the country.
One of the most popular pursuits for visitors to the Peak District is hiking. There are a number of public footpaths and bridleways which weave their way across the terrain. The most famous of these is the Pennine Way which is 251 miles in length beginning at Edale. The Pennine Way passes through the North of the Park and extends all of the way to the Scottish border. Another popular route for hikers is the Limestone Way, which spans 50 miles and provides visitors with the opportunity to see the famous White Peak. Cycling is also a popular activity among visitors with the Pennine Bridleway being a great choice for those in search of long distance cycles ways. The Pennine Bridleway runs from Carsington Reservoir to Hayfield.
The Park also boasts a number of fantastic local pubs as well as a number of products which originate in the area. These include the famous Bakewell tart from the town of Bakewell which is famous throughout the British Isles. One of the most famous pubs within the park is the Three Stags Heads which is located in Wardlow Mires. The pub is famous for its strict adherence to local ales, with mass market draught lager’s being unavailable. You can also find a variety of places to visit and things to do in and around the Peak District including Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall.
There is a wide variety of accommodation available within the park for those planning on staying for an extended period of time. The best accommodation choices are those which carry the Environmental Quality Mark, which ensures they make efforts to protect and improve the park. Accommodation options vary from campsites and B&B’s to hotels. Prices tend to increase significantly during the popular summer months so booking early is strongly advised. The cheapest option for those planning on staying overnight is camping wild. It is possible to camp wild in the Peak District though wood campers must make sure that the camp on land which is not privately owned, or if so they have sought permission from the landowner.
The Park is also popular with groups taking part in more adventurous activities and excursions. Each year thousands of young people complete expeditions within the park for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. These groups often camp wild as part of their expedition though there are also a number of Youth Hostels available on the route. The Peak District is also recognised throughout the country as one of the best places for climbing and caving, with many options available.
The Peak District National Park provides visitors with an endless amount of choices and is immensely popular with a wide range of visitors. The area is protected due to its outstanding natural beauty and hosts some of the most beautiful towns in the whole of England.