The Peak District is a fantastic National Park that was set up in 1951 and is located a short distance away from Manchester in the North of England. With it’s close proximity to Manchester and the surrounding areas, it attracts millions of walkers each year to the area to see what the park has to offer and to experience all that the area has to give. In terms of size, it’s a mid-range National Park consisting of just over five hundred square miles of landscape of which of the majority is flat grassy landscape perfect for organising day-walks.
There are peaks, however generally they are very easy to walk up with the summit of the highest peak at Kinder Scout at just over two thousand feet. Given that the majority of this National Park is located at above one thousand feet, it tends to be a pretty wet and boggy place meaning that unless you have your hiking boots on or stick to the pathways, you can easily end up with very wet feet. The park consists of two key area of landscape that offer walkers and hikers a choice of locations depending on the type of walking they want to do.
In the South is an area called White Peak which is predominantly an area of low flat landscape that contains the villages of Hartington, Ashford in the Water and Youlgreave and offers hikers a fantastic location for day-walks combined with the opportunity for lunch in one of the many country pubs along the route. The only downside to this area is that it’s quite wet meaning that if it’s been raining in the past few days the area is easily swamped by water meaning that you will need to stick to the main paths that occupy the area if you want to return to your car with dry feet. Within this area there are a number of fantastic walks that offer walkers an opportunity to see the countryside whilst at the same time taking some exercise. These include the Ilam to Hartington walk or the Monyash to Youlgreave pathway which are the most popular in the area and do get quite busy in the summer months especially in the afternoon when generally walkers in the area head out for an afternoon walk.
The North contains a very different set of pathways that can really test even the most experienced of walkers. The area is known as the Dark Peak because it contains a thick layer do peat that especially during the winter months, often is completely water logged. Walking in this area can be both very difficult but also quite dangerous and therefore it’s highly recommended that you take the right safety precautions before you head off on your walk. Generally if you want to avoid the wet bog land, it’s a great idea to give this area a miss during the summer months and only hike in this National Park in the summer months after a dry spell.
Within the North Side of this National Park there are four areas each with their own different characteristics that make walking in this area both enjoyable and challenging;
- The North-Western area to the west of Buxton which generally contains flat moorland with the only highlight being that it also contains the Three Shires Head where three counties meet.
- The North Area, directly to the North of this National Park contains the worst of the bog land that you have ever seen. Walking in this area is really only for the brave who want a challenging walk. Dry feet here is really not an option. The most popular area is the Edale Valley which is as the name sounds a valley that is approximately two thousand feet above sea level and whilst the majority of this area is pure peat-land and virtually impossible to walk across, the area does have some fantastic walking and hiking locations as long as you stick to the pathways.
- The North-Eastern side of the National Park contains the Derwent Reservoir and a number of decent, although very flat walking locations. Again the area is very wet under foot meaning that unless you’re wearing the right walking clothes, you can easily end up with very wet feet.
As long as it’s dry the Peak District offers fantastic walking conditions and most importantly some amazing countryside views. If the Peak District is not your thing, then how about a trip to Wales and a visit to one of the best locations in Wales, the Brecon Beacons.