Peveril of the Peak Local Area


Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, Thorpe is one of the few places in the Peak District whose name betrays Norse origins (the Danish settlers did not penetrate far into this area). The road from Thorpe down to Dovedale passes The Peveril of the Peak and then the distinctive cone of Thorpe Cloud, the hill which guards the entrance to Dovedale.

Owned by the National Trust, Dovedale is famous for its wooded ravine, cave-like Dove Holes and, of course, its stepping stones.

Upstream from the stepping stones are the heights known as Dovedale Castle and the Twelve Apostles. These are best viewed from the grassy spur called Lovers’ Leap which, local legend says, was so named after a rejected maiden threw herself off the precipice but was saved by bushes below that broke her fall.

The path continues past Tissington Spires and the geological oddity of Reynard’s cave, named after a local brigand who made it his refuge, and on to the Lions Head Rock and Ilam rock which rises sheer from the water’s edge. Pickering Tor on the right is like a natural fortress.

Dovedale has many literary associations the most famous of whom is perhaps Izaak Walton, best known for his instructive book The Complete Angler or The Contemplative Mans Recreation. It remains the authoritative work on fly fishing.

Dovedale is part of the Peak District National Park. The first of Britain’s National Parks, it covers 542 square miles taking in, to the north, the wild Dark Peak where Curlews cry across desolate peat bogs and the more pastoral White Peak to the south west.

Walkers and cyclists enjoy thousands of stunning cross-country way-marked paths and several major trails including the Limestone Way rural footpath which runs for 50 miles north to south along the length of Derbyshire.

The area is rich in prehistory. Many hilltops are the sites of ancient burial mounds and the conical shapes of tumbled cairns can be seen throughout the area. The mysterious stones and ring-ditches at Arbor Low, the largest of the area’s ancient monuments is known as the ‘Stonehenge of the North’, and there is evidence of numerous stone-circles, especially on the eastern fringes of the White Peak where the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, the largest known Bronze-Age burial ground in Europe, lies at the centre of Stanton Moor.

Mankind’s presence in the Peak Districts journey history is clear. The old market town and spa of Buxton grew in fame as a spa town because of the pale blue water which bubbles up from thermal springs beneath the crescent. Its fame as a health spa dates back to Roman times and over the years it became popular with pilgrims wanting to take the waters. One famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots who suffered badly from rheumatism.

Buxton’s rival as a centre for healing is Matlock which, until the 1830s was a hamlet whose principal industry was agriculture. Then in the late 18th century, John Smedley established hydrotherapy and made Matlock one of the most celebrated centres for the treatment of ailments with water therapy. With the arrival of the railway in 1849, Matlock's development as a spa town flourished for the next 100 years.

The imposing ruins of the 11th century Peveril Castle stand high above the pretty village of Castleton which is also home the famous Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern

The medieval manor house Hayon Hall at Bakewell is described as "the most complete and most interesting house of its period" and dates from the 12th century while the small, market town of Bakewell itself (famous for its tarts) features a 13th century arched bridge crossing the River Wye.

To the east of Bakewell is Chatsworth House. Originally dating from the 15th and rebuilt in the 18th century, Chatsworth House, known as ‘the Palace of the Peak’ sits in 1,000 acres of rolling Derbyshire parkland and claims to be the most magnificent of all England's great country houses.

Ashbourne has been a market centre for the surrounding area since it was first granted a charter to allow stalls in its market place in 1257, being made a royal borough in 1276. Today it still has a twice-weekly market in the market place.
The historic Cromford Mill, dating from 1771, is a World Heritage Site. The former water-powered cotton spinning mill was built by industrial pioneer Richard Arkwright and was the first successful industrial-scale cotton production factory, paving the way for the north of England’s reliance on “King Cotton” for centuries to come.

Located near the village of Crich, the National Tramway Museum has an impressive collection of vintage trams. Running along a recreated historic street, these vehicles are a fascinating window into a largely forgotten form of transport.
Ashbourne has been a market centre for the surrounding area since it was first granted a charter to allow stalls in its market place in 1257, being made a royal borough in 1276. Today it still has a twice-weekly market in the market place.
For families visiting the area, Alton Towers theme park, just 30 minutes’ drive from Peveril, is an ever popular destination. Accessed by cable car, the hilltop park, The Heights of Abraham, with its two show caves, at Matlock Bath are another popular destination.


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