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Located in the British Midlands, not far from Manchester, the lovely hills and unspoilt countryside of the Peak districts became Britain’s first national park over 50 years ago, Today it continues to attract nature lovers to the many B&Bs and camping grounds set among the picturesque little villages of the area.
In addition to a wide variety of scenery and spectacular vistas, the 450m2 of National Heritage land also has a rich cultural and historic vein, dating from pre-historic times, including; ancient stone circles, Roman remains, Saxon churches and medieval castles.
Five towns, Buxton, Ashbourne, Bakewell, Glossop and Matlock are good bases from which to explore the peaks and moors. They all have clusters of delightful B&Bs, and relaxing camping parks.
Ashbourne affords the most conveniences and dates back 500 years with an interesting market square and historic buildings. Bakewell is best placed if you want to hike into the surrounding countryside, it is located right in the park, with a pretty setting on the river Wye. Nearby is a fascinating Iron Age fort.
Buxton has an interesting history as a Roman Spa town, with its warm water springs and is situated on a number of other freshwater springs for which it has become famous. Glossop also has an interesting history, of Saxon origin, but has also been an important cotton producing centre during the industrial revolution. Matlock is a bustling Derbyshire centre and tourist town, south of the Park.
The high moors of the Northern section are ripe for exploring on foot. It offers some of the most rugged and challenging landscape in the park, where hikers can enjoy a true sense of freedom.
The ‘Central Peaks’ is less wild and isolated, where the two main rivers, the Wye and the Derwent, begin to meander through the gentler countryside, offering more sedate walks. The area is also abundant in wildlife and a variety of wild plants. The area is best known for the beautiful Dovedale, a wonderful valley nearby.
Hiring a car is the best way to truly appreciate the Peak Districts, as rail access is limited and buses terminate at towns on the outskirts of the area. The nearest international airport is Manchester, but London Heathrow and Gatwick offer far more scope for arrivals. Trains run to Buxton, Matlock and Glossop from London and Manchester.