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Travel / Tours / England / Peak District
Photos from the Peak District
  Longdendale Valley
  Monsal Head
  Further information


The Peak District is a large National Park which is close to the major cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Derby. Many people visit this area to go walking or to take part in a wide range of sports.

Cattle and sheep graze on the fields

This is a popular area for walking

Insight Guides: Peak District
(guide book)
Publisher: Insight Guides
Date: February 1997
Peak District (Official National Park Guide)
Authors: Roly Smith, Ray Manley (photos)
Publisher: David & Charles
Date: March 2000
Peak District Panoramas
Photographer: Simon Kirwan
Publisher: Myriad Books
Date: May 2005
The Peak District Short Walks
Author: Kevin Borman
Publisher: Jarrold Publishing
Date: June 2001

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Longdendale Valley is in the northern part of the Peak District. The soil in this part of the park is dark, and it is covered mainly with moorland and forests. Grouse (a type of wild bird) live in the woodland, and are hunted at certain times of the year. There are several reservoirs which are used to provide water to the neighbouring population centres.

Enjoying the views over one of the reservoirs

Sailing is popular on Longdendale Reservoir

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Castleton is a beautiful village in the middle of the Peak District. You can follow the side of the river up the hill to go to see the ruins of Peveril Castle, which was built by the son of William the Conqueror and gives you good views of the surrounding area. Alternatively, you can spend time in the local tea-shops or crafts shops, and you can buy jewellery made from a local stone called Blue John.

The keep of Peveril Castle

View of Castleton from the path up to the castle

Blue John jewellery

A local wool shop

Around Castleton are a series of caverns (underground caves) which can be visited. The limestone soil is much lighter than the stone found in the northern part of the Peak District. Speedwell Cavern used to be a lead mine and contains a flooded tunnel which leads to a lake known as a "bottomless pit". You can take a boat ride to go and see this. Guided walking tours are also available in the Peak Cavern (also known locally as the Devil's Arse).

At Speedwell Cavern you need to put on your safety helmet ...

... before taking the boat to the "bottomless pit"

Entrance to Peak Cavern (known as the "Devil's Arse")

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Buxton is the largest town in the Peak District, with a population of about 20,000. It is most famous for its mineral water, which can be sampled from a public fountain in the town. The Crescent was built in 1780-90 (during the Georgian period of British history; see: Britain/History/Georgian), copying the similar crescent in the other spa town of Bath (see: Travel/Tours/England/Bath).

Tasting the water from St Ann's Well


"A well of living waters"

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There is an attractive view from Monsal Head. The hills are known as Monsal Dale. The Midland Railway used to cross the viaduct, but this is no longer used except by walkers.

View of Monsal Dale and the viaduct

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Bakewell is a small market town with a population of about 4,000. One of its most attractive features is a medieval bridge with 5 arches which crosses the River Wye. There are pleasant walks along the river. This is an agricultural area, and holds a regular cattle market.

Bakewell Puddings originated here: it is said that in about 1860 a cook at a local hotel was making a jam tart, but instead of putting the egg mixture in the pastry he accidentally spread it on top of the jam. To make a Bakewell Pudding:
- create a pastry case
- spread strawberry jam on top
-cover with a mixture made of eggs, butter, sugar and ground almonds
- bake in an oven
Two shops in Bakewell each claim to have the oldest recipe: The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop on Bridge Street, and Bloomers Original Bakewell Pudding Shop on Water Street.
Bakewell pudding (often served with hot custard) is a popular dessert in places which serve traditional British food. Smaller versions (usually known as Bakewell tarts or Bakewell slices) can be bought in bakeries or supermarkets throughout the UK.

Bakewell pudding shop

Bakewell Pudding

Large and small Bakewell puddings ...

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A couple of miles east of Bakewell there is a magnificent country house called Chatsworth. Sheep graze in the parkland around the house. The house and its gardens can be visited during much of the year.

View of Chatsworth House

Photo opportunity

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The next major town is Chesterfield, which is famous for its church (St Mary & All Saints Church), which has a strange crooked spire. There are many legends which try to explain the reason for the unusual shape. One story which is popular with the locals is that a virgin was once married inside the church, and the spire was so surprised about this that it bent down to look - it will only become straight again the next time that a virgin is married there ...!

The Crooked Spire in Chesterfield

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* Booking a tour
Guided walking tours within the Peak District:

* Visitor information
Peak District official tourism website:
Peak District National Park:
Peveril Castle:
Speedwell Cavern:
Peak Cavern:
Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop:
Chatsworth House:

* Transportation

- Train journeys from Manchester to Chesterfield take about 1h20. Train journeys from London St Pancras to Chesterfield take about 2 hours.
For train timetables and to buy a ticket online, see: Shop/Company/TheTrainline.
- By coach direct services take about 3h30 to Chesterfield from London's Victoria Coach Station. For timetables and to buy a ticket online, see: Shop/Company/NationalExpress.

* Weather forecast for Buxton

* More photos
360 degree panoramic pictures:

Lonely Planet verdict: The Peak District
"The Peak District National Park is a remarkable region, with pretty villages, historic sites, grand houses, fascinating limestone caves, the southern-most hills of the Pennines, and some of England's most wild and beautiful scenery ... To escape the crowds, you should avoid summer weekends, but even then, with a bit of imagination, it's still easy enough to enjoy this wonderful area in relative peace and solitude"
(extracts from "Lonely Planet Great Britain - 2003 edition", used with permission)
Lonely Planet Great Britain
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: May 2009
Lonely Planet England
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Date: March 2009
Other Lonely Planet publications

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Trip to York: Travel/Tours/England/York
Trip to Haworth: Travel/Tours/England/Haworth
Visit Windermere in the Lake District: Travel/Tours/England/Windermere
British food and drink: Britain/Food

Home page: Home

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