The Peak District’s White Peak is another distinctive area within the park due to its gently sloping Limestone plateau, crisscrossed by the Limestone Dales. The Dales provide the area’s drainage and vary in steepness throughout the area. Some of the Dales are extremely steep and lead off the Limestone plateau rapidly, whereas others slope much more gently into the surrounding valleys. The rivers in the area provide habitats for a wide range of species from mammals that surround the shore to a diverse range of marine life in the river itself. The Dales are also clad in Ash woodlands which are currently some of the best preserved in the whole of Europe. Human interaction has also left a lasting impression of the landscape with dry stone walls creating hay meadows on the plateau. The Dry Stone walls show the significance of farming to the area, as well as the ability for both farmers and indigenous species to live in harmony.
The Peak District Authority wishes to see the area thrive still further characterised by White Peak consisting of diverse grasslands, wooded Dales and natural rivers. The vision for the plateau itself is for its dry stone walls to be preserved; along with the meadows they created, adding diversity in regards to animal species to the area. The Limestone Dales will also support a wide range of different scrub and grasslands which provide the natural habitat for invertebrates, which will, in turn, attract a range of different birds and land mammals. Dewponds are also to be created on the edges of the Limestone plateau which will provide a natural drinking source for animals grazing in the area. A large aspect of the vision for White Peak revolves around meeting the needs of both farmers whose livelihood depends on the area, as well as the species indigenous to the area. This ambition is completely attainable if farmers adhere to traditional farming methods which will help the development of the Hey Meadows that are crucial to the area. The success of the Hey meadows will also result in the reintroduction of a number of species to the area such as Skylarks who will feed on the expanding insect population.
Find out walks to and from the White Peak in our guide to the top 10 walks in the Peak District.