Who would have thought just a few short months ago that our glorious countryside would suddenly become out of bounds, our streets would be deserted and homes a sanctuary. Yet, when the fullscale lockdown was announced on 23rd March, the world around us changed.
While many restrictions remain, there has at least been a partial loosening, to the extent that our love of walking for more than an hour in the great outdoors can be rekindled. Traveling abroad may continue to see limitations and restrictions in place, encouraging, even more, to explore here in the UK, and there can surely be no better way to achieve this than on two feet!
Whether ambling or rambling, the Peak District and Derbyshire offer a pleasure ground of walks suitable for all ages and abilities.
A gently undulating landscape of arable farmland and rich pasture dominates the south of the county, an area of easy walks and good pub lunches. The National Trust estates of Kedleston and Calke provide a maze of walks through acres of managed and manicured grounds. For those who enjoy a waterside wander, a pleasant stroll beside the Derwent, Derbyshire’s main river that flows some 66 miles from north to south, is hard to surpass.
I often saunter the six-mile stretch of the path alongside Cromford Canal for a nature study and history lesson overload as this is not just a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Nature Reserve, but part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stunning to boot.
The limestone hills of the White Peak offer up-downs, field, and stile footpath walks through a choice of picturesque dales or along trails and tracks beds of former railway lines. Here, industrial and archaeological heritage abounds and ancient traditions can often be seen. Dotted with picture-postcard pretty villages, the Derbyshire Dales are famed for wooded valleys of sylvan beauty, perfect for strolling beneath trees. There are also uphill routes over the open or enclosed pasture to hilltops for more muscle-tasking hikes. Ironically, many high summits are called ‘lows’ where early man buried their dead as close to the sky, sun, and stars as was possible.
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