Discover the two sides of the Peak District

Peak District, Derbyshire

Two contrasting personalities, one national park... White Peak Vs Dark Peak.

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The Peak District may be classified as one national park, but it has two contrasting personalities. In the northern part you’ll find the wild and wonderful Dark Peak, where wide open spaces are punctuated by clumps of unkempt heather, gloopy bogs and outcrops of black granite –the latter whipped into exotic shapes by centuries of wind and rain. It’s the kind of place where you expect to see a Victorian horseman clad in a black cape racing across the horizon – maybe Mr Rochester, from the novel, Jane Eyre? After all, Charlotte Brontë is said to have based the character’s house on North Lees Hall, near Sheffield.

Head further south and the landscape gets softer (along with everything else) as you enter White Peak territory. Here you’ll find limestone caves and lush green valleys – filled with iconic mill towns like Matlock. Keep going south from here, to the town of Wirksworth, and you could sample both Dark and White in one day, with a walk along the Ecclesbourne Valley. Take yourself to the top of Alport Height and you can see for 60 miles (100km) on a clear day – all the way to Malvern Hills in Worcestershire in fact. Don’t forget the binoculars…

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CCouple walking on Mam Tor, near Castleton, Derbyshire © VisitBritain Images
AA couple walking on a footpath at Dovedale © VisitEngland Images
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