Excerpts from 1,200 word article
PEAK DISTRICT PARK IS AN ENGLISH MEDLEY
To the occasional passer-by I suppose we
looked a little odd there, sitting on a rock
as he talked and I scribbled in a tiny
notebook, both of us pausing when a sheep's
baa-aa interrupted the interview. Still, it
seemed natural enough to us. Where better to
discuss Britain's oldest national park with
Warden Gordon Miller, than here in its core
with a stream trickling by our feet, meadows
all around and the sun warming our backs?
Peak District National Park in central
England is one of Britain's 11 national parks
created to conserve outstanding landscapes.
Most of its 542 square miles are owned by
farmers and local authorities. Right of way
on foot and bridle paths has existed on
farmlands for centuries. Now, as with 10
other areas subsequently designated national
parks, recreational services and facilities
are provided. Here in the Peak District one
of the wardens' more important roles is to
have an ever- ready rescue service available
to climbers and skiiers in trouble. Another
is to keep peace between farmers and walkers
who allow their dogs to worry the sheep....
Accommodation in and around the park is
as varied as the scenery. I stayed at four
hotels in twice as many days. It is just as
practical to take day trips from a single
home base, or to change your address daily.
Area attractions include cavern tours,
stately homes and wonderful country walks.
There is good theatre, as well as many fetes
and parades that have been community affairs
for centuries. Busy market towns, resorts and
sleepy hamlets all coexist where life is at a
pace more gentle than most of us have ever
The Pennine Way, Britain's longest
footpath (285 miles) starts at Edale in the
park's centre, and continues beyond the
Scottish border. A 25 mile segment is
contained within the park. On a warm and
sunny Sunday I found Edale busy with hikers
of all ages, even seven- or eight-year olds
trotting along with their colourful
backpacks. Because much of the moorland is
peat-covered, the average walker can't expect
to cover more than about two miles per hour.
Whether your choice is a week long hike, or
an hour's stroll followed by lunch in the
Jolly Rambler, it is bound to be an enjoyable
experience. In Spring forest floors are thick
with bluebells and trees are in blossom. June
brings magenta rhododendrons the size of
balloons against ancient stone cottages and
walls. Summer gardens are picture perfect.
IF YOU GO: Centre of the Peak District is
about a three-hour drive north of London,
leaving via the M1.