In 1951 the Peak District became the premier place in the UK to be named a National Park. The vast majority of the park is in North Derbyshire however parts of Manchester’s, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Cheshire are also included. The peaks are split into two designated areas consisting of the southern white peak, and the Northern dark Peak. Most of the population inhabits the southern white peak area.
Reasons you should visit the Peak District:
For hikers, the peaks are a walker’s paradise and there is literally a route for everybody. You can walk on dramatic high moors on a challenging walk or even just take the shortest walk around pretty villages. Taking in some of the amazing country pubs and coffee shops along the way.
You can create your own routes or follow designated local and national trials; there is 202 square miles of open access land and there are 2000 miles of rights of way access for walkers!
If you are a cyclist and are not scared of the odd huge hill or three, the Peak District is the perfect cycling location. Beautiful villages, fantastic views, an amazing and diverse history, a broad spread of wildlife and it’s all there to be appreciated while you ride your bike.
The peaks are suitable for both mountain bikers and road riders, the Tour de France even now passes through the Peak District. There area a massive array of downhill routes for mountain bikers and also cross-country trails. The routes cater for beginner, intermediate and advanced level riders and you can literally ride as far as you want.
There is a huge array of beautiful birds to be seen in nature reserves in the Peak District and some of these consist of unusual and rare species. The dark Peak moor has a fantastic array of bird life which can include the Merlin, golden eagle and protected species which are very rare like hen Harriers. Falcons are also resident and active in a number of abandoned quarries in the area in addition to Skylarks, green woodpeckers and lapwings.
The Peak District is located in very close proximity to the main Sheffield universities of Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield University. For students considering studying in Sheffield, the Peak District offers a wide array of activities and things to do while they continue their studies. There are a number of clubs run by both universities that involve activities taking place in the Peak District, and if you want to be located near to the Peak District you could look at places such as strawberry student homes for accommodation that sets you right on the edge of the Peak District and about 10 minutes’ drive from some amazing climbing routes.
If you have got itchy feet to leave the ground you could always consider hang gliding or paragliding and see the Peak District from above in the air! There are of a variety of BHPA schools in the area that offer introduction flights or complete courses.
You could book a tandem flight if you want to have a taster or if you really sure you’re up for it you can sign up to complete a course.
Alternatively, if you go and visit Mam Tor in the Peak District this is a big centre for paragliding and hang gliding and you could watch the others as they partake in this beautiful activity and spend a nice day with a picnic on the sides of the mountain. This is, of course, weather dependent.
Fell running is the perfect pastime for the fitness fanatics within the Peak District; indeed the High Peak Marathon which is a 40+ mile night-time endurance run in teams of four becomes a must do. The High Peak Marathon crosses the Derwent watershed and begins and ends in the gorgeous village of Edale.
The Peak District is famous across the world for its fantastic rockclimbing gritstone. Indeed many Sheffield famous climbers such as Ben Moon have made their name in the Peak District and honed their significant skills there. Locally to Sheffield, there is Stanage edge, Burbage edge, Froggatt and indeed within Sheffield, there is a wide selection of indoor climbing walls where you can practice your skills, train and speak to more advanced climbers to gain insights on how they do it and how you can improve.
There are of course also a vast array of training courses available that are run out in the Peak District.
It may be landlocked but Derbyshire offers a lot of different chances to enjoy watersports. The mighty damn flask near high Bradfield offers dinghy sailing in a wide different array of boats. Indeed it also provides a sailing club where you can moor your own boat if you’re fortunate enough to own one.
Rather Valley Country Park which is just on the outskirts of the Peak District offers a huge range of watersports including water skiing, speedboats, cable skiing, windsurfing, jet skis, dinghy sailing and pretty much any other water sport you can think of.
All these reasons make the Peak District a must visit a place, combine that with some of the most amazing countrysides in the world, and you are winning!