The Peak District

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Peak District

In the UK, throughout the 1930s and 40s, huge levels of public protests took place over rights of access. Such protests intended to highlight the unfairness of severely limited rights to access outstandingly beautiful areas of the country. These areas were rarely farmed by its wealthy, aristocratic owners but rather kept only for occasional grouse shooting.

The Kinder Trespass

The most famous instance of these protests is the Kinder Trespass of 1932. Hundreds of ramblers from Manchester and Sheffield set off for the highest point of the Peaks.

Starting at Bowden Bridge near Hayfield the trespassers made their way to the plateau of Kinder Scout. Along the way, violent scuffles with gatekeepers ensued. The ramblers were able to reach the plateau and meet with another group at Ashop Head.

On their return, five ramblers were arrested, with a sixth detained earlier. Trespass was not a criminal offence in any part of Britain at the time. However, jail sentences were handed out for offences relating to violence against the gatekeepers.

In the aftermath and in response to these protests, in 1949, the government passed an Act of Parliament establishing designated areas of national parks throughout the UK.

Photographing the Peak District

A diverse mix of landscapes and an extensive network of public footpaths make the Peak District a firm favourite amongst hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and paragliders. It's also the perfect place for a far less strenuous picnic.

Naturally, the Peak District is a photographers paradise. It is home to breathtaking landscapes containing gritstone outcrops such as Stanage Edge, The Roaches and Derwent edge. The region is pulsating with history, manifesting through ancient settlements, medieval castles, and grand stately homes.

The charming Spa towns of Buxton and Matlock Bath complement historical buildings such as Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall. All combining to keep your trigger finger busy than a one-armed paper hanger with winnits.

Boring factual stuff about the Peak District

  • There are no actual peaks in the Peak District. Its name doesn't allude to any mountain top but from the Anglo-Saxon tribe Pecsaetan, who are believed to have settled in the area around the 6th century
  • Encompassing five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, it is the most accessible national park in the UK
  • The Peak District has 2,900 listed buildings (buildings and structures of special architectural and historical interest)

Origins of the Peak District

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The region has been inhabited from the earliest periods of human activity. Finds of Mesolithic flint artefacts and palaeoenvironmental evidence from caves have been unearthed at Dovedale and elsewhere. Neolithic activity is evident in monumental earthworks or barrows such as that at Margery Hill.

Subsequently, during the Bronze Age, the region was extensively populated and farmed. Evidence of which survives in henges such as Arbor Low near Youlgreave, and the Nine Ladies stone circle at Stanton Moor. During the same period, and into the Iron Age, hillforts such as that at Mam Tor were established.

Moreover, 2000 years ago, the Romans began exploiting the area's rich mineral assets, exporting lead from the Buxton area along well-used routes. Buxton was a Roman settlement, known as "Aquae Arnemetiae" (Spa of the goddess of the grove) in recognition of its spring.

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