Peak District settlement
The most important influence on the location of towns and villages in the Peak District was water availability. The limestone outcrop lacks surface streams, (the River Wye is the only river flowing across the limestone throughout the year).
However, in some areas, volcanic rocks and patches of shale, form impervious layers supporting ‘perched' water tables, e.g. at Taddington, Tideswell and Middleton by Wirksworth. Otherwise, all towns and larger villages (such as Hartington, Buxton, Castleton, Hathersage, Calver, Bakewell, Matlock, Cromford and Wirksworth) are located around the edge of the limestone .
Transport was another factor, with villages located at important river bridges, along salt or lead packhorse routes, at the junctions of former Roman roads, then turnpikes or, even later, along railways.
Industries, particularly mining and quarrying, resulted in the expansion of Eyam, Wirksworth, Bradwell, Winster, Cromford and Tideswell. The world's first factories established by Arkwright at Cromford were copied at Lea, Cressbrook, Tideswell, Calver, Litton, Wirksworth, and in the Via Gellia.
Buxton and Matlock (including Matlock Bath) grew rapidly from the 18th century as a result of tourism, with visitors in the early days looking for a cure at the hot springs.