Peak District scenery
The Peak District of Derbyshire is at the southern end of the Pennine 'backbone' of hills which runs up through northern England. The Peak is made up of a limestone upland plateau dissected by river valleys (the 'White Peak') surrounded to the west, north and east by high moorland outcrops of sandstone and shale (the 'Dark Peak').
The White Peak is made up of limestone, with distinctive pale grey outcrops, dry stone walls and stone-built farmhouses with grassland over the thin soils. Deep, narrow, tree-lined valleys (or 'dales') form a drainage network on the limestone plateau. Many of these valleys are dry and water flows underground. Villages are often sited where springs arise from the subterranean streams. This scenic simplicity is diversified by outcrops of volcanic rocks, of dolomite and mineralised areas, and by human activities such as quarrying and mining.
The Dark Peak is composed of sandstones and shales and is characterised by dark heather moorlands. These are fringed by prominent sandstone escarpments known locally as 'edges'. Valleys contain good farmland, but the high moorlands are wet and blanketed by peat bogs. The Dark and White Peak areas were together designated as Britain's first National Park in 1951, reflecting the scenic, cultural and recreational importance of the area.