23/05/2024 12:40 PM


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10 wonderful walks in the Peak District, England’s answer to Middle Earth

White Peak and Dark Peak; their names sound like two warring kingdoms on Middle-earth. One can be found in the lush, green south of the Peak District, with its valleys, broadleaved woodlands, wild-flower grasslands and limestone caves, while the other dwells in the northern uplands, famous for its windswept moors and gritstone crags. In reality, these are the two main sections of the Peak District National Park, which, having become the UK’s first national park in 1951, is poised to celebrate its 70th birthday. Very different, they both make for inspirational walking. The White Peak area offers gentler walks in limestone valleys, with Dovedale and Monsal Dale among popular destinations. The footpaths are well-maintained and the atmospheric villages, with their limestone cottages and cosy pubs, are the perfect base for a walking holiday. Dark Peak, as the name suggests, has tougher walking terrain with its crags, tors and boggy peat uplands, but its rewards include landscapes such as Stanage Edge, the longest ridge of millstone grit in England, with its stunning views over the heartlands of Britain. At its core, heading north from the village of Edale, is the Pennine Way, Britain’s first national trail, opened in 1965. Kinder Scout, the Dark Peak’s moorland redoubt, was the scene of the legendary mass trespass in 1932, which pioneered the “right to roam” movement and led to the creation of the national parks we know and love today. Here are some of the best walking routes to be found in the history-making Peak District National Park.