If you want to explore the great outdoors, you will enjoy spending time in the Peak District of Derbyshire. The walks in the area and beautiful scenery have been an ongoing attraction for naturalists, birdwatchers, hikers, and cyclists for centuries. Besides the aforementioned activities, visitors often take part in horseback riding, rock climbing, caving, sailing, and swimming.
A Remote and Rustic Area
Indeed, you can find plenty of reasons to stay active whilst on holiday as the Peak District is home to approximately 60 kilometres of bike trails. The area is also famous for its cattle and sheep, and crops have been harvested in the area for thousands of years.
A good portion of the Peak District National Park has been named a scientific interest site. That is because researchers regard the area as an important venue in terms of geological formations and plant and animal life.
The highest point in the region is Kinder Scout. It stands at just over 635 metres. Approximately 500 square kilometres of heathlands and moors can be accessed in the district as well.
A Birthplace of Industry
Whilst Derbyshire is home to Peak District scenery and activities, its history also points back to industrial innovations. In fact, the Derwent Valley in the area is known as being the birthplace of factories. The site is also noted for its historical canals and once-water-powered mills; as such, the lovely landscape of Derbyshire also features some of the former mill buildings and the water courses that were used to run them. Worker homes, schools, and churches still stand in this part of the country as well.
Mill history is found along a 24 kilometre span of the river valley. Mill structures and sites begin at the centre of Derbyshire County, or Masson Mills, located in Matlock Bath, and run up to Derby’s Silk Mill. The water at the Silk Mill was once used to power silk-throwing machines. Mills located at Abbey, Belper, and Darley feature the first representations of fire-proof buildings.
Some Noted Mill Sites
The 24 kilometre mill site provides plenty in the way of walks for visitors. In fact, you can walk the entire stretch. One noted walking path runs past the Cromford Mill and Cromford Canal and along the Leawood Pumphouse. It leads walkers to the High Peak Junction Workshops, which also offer further attractions for explorers, and whilst in Belper, stop in at the Edwardian River Gardens – a pleasant place to stop and relax during a walking excursion.
Indeed, you can spend several days adventuring in this part of the Derwent Valley. For instance, the Cromford and High Peak Railway, which was established in 1831, is a must-see site. The railway once transported foods and miners between the canal at Cromford and the Peak Forest Canal. The rail system was used instead of a canal as the hills in the area made the building of a waterway impossible.
A Historic Railway
At the time, the railway used horses or steam engines for transport. Travel for the 48 kilometre trip took two days overall. The idea of the rail system was to provide an easier and shorter route for the transport of coal, but it also was seen as offering a way into Manchester from London.
Steam locomotives made a debut in 1833, but only in the sections that were particularly steep. Horses were used for the next three decades. Passenger service was added between 1874 through 1877. Only one train ran one way each day.
Needless to say, you will want to book accommodation at Derbyshire Country Cottages during your stay in the area. Staying in a cosy cottage will enable you to walk the High Peak Trail, which was developed from the area’s former railway lines. The trail is now a popular path for people who like to horseback ride, walk, or cycle.
Another part of history that can be seen on a Derbyshire walk is the aforementioned Cromford Canal. The waterway ran 23 kilometres from Cromford to the canal in Erewash in Derbyshire. Established in 1794, the canal was used to transport lead, iron ore, and coal. Most of the waterway was deserted in 1944, however, except for a small section, which ran up to Langley Mill.
The Cromford Walk
The Cromford Walk is a walking path that stretches beside of the towpath of the Cromford Canal. This walking path, as well as other pathways, enable you to experience the various historic sites and natural attractions that can only be found in Derbyshire and the Derwent Valley.
Besides this fascinating area of Derbyshire, you will also want to include some other noted sites on your Derbyshire itinerary. For example, one of the beloved historical estates is Chatsworth House. The estate, which is home to art galleries and gardens, is also a venue for fine shops and dining. Located in the Peak District National Park, the estate is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
A Visit to Matlock
All of the attractions at the mansion can be seen until the end of December, though the surrounding park and restaurant are open year-round. Whilst staying in Derbyshire and visiting the Peak District, you will also want to visit the town of Matlock, which is located at the perimeter of the area’s National Park. Once a former spa town, Matlock is situated along the River Derwent. Meanwhile, just a short jaunt from the town is Matlock Bath, which is a well-known resort.
Other must-see attractions include the Crich Tramway Village, which is located next to Matlock, the Heights of Abraham, Bolsover Castle, and Peak Cavern, which is situated in the village of Castleton. Visitors to the cavern experience one-of-a-kind walks and can see the biggest cave entrance in Britain.
Regardless of when you choose to go to and where you choose to roam within the Peak District, you are in for a treat with respect to exploration and discovery. People who love the great outdoors as well as history buffs will find that this part of the UK is especially appealing. Now is good as any time then to plan a Peak District holiday.