IF YOU would like a holiday with a difference, why not take a trip to the Peak District National Park? A short drive from Doncaster Airport, the Peak District is a unique and atmospheric mix of heather moorland, quaint villages, plus dramatic and desolate ‘blanket bogs’, providing not only one of the world’s rarest habitats, but a great place for a true, getaway from it all, short break.
With remote wind-blown tops and tranquil dales, hard rock edges and traditional flower filled meadows, great show caves and gentle river valleys, the scenery is enough to take your breath away.
Magnificent moors and
Some of the ‘must sees’ in the area include the Derwent and Howden Moors – important historic landscapes lying above Ladybower and Howden Reservoirs. Deeply incised by many spectacular ‘cloughs’, or valleys featuring fast-flowing streams, the moors provide an important area for upland breeding birds.
The famous Marsden Moor is 6,000 acres of open moor with a wealth of industrial and archaeological remains. Public footpaths and the challenging Pennine Way give easy access to many peaks, crags, reservoirs and valleys, and you can easily join one of the guided walks, which take place throughout the year.
For the keen walkers among you, a leaflet detailing six self-guided walks around the estate is available from Marsden Moor estate office. While there, you can also see a fascinating exhibition entitled Welcome to Marsden, which shows the development of the area and offers information as to what to do and see in the area.
The village of Marsden sits on the edge of the Moor and is home to the famous Standedge Tunnel, the Marsden Jazz Festival, the growing Ripple Art Fair and a host of other events, plus plenty of places to enjoy a hearty pub lunch or a rejuvenating cream tea!
Another Marsden treasure, Standedge Tunnel, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest, longest and deepest canal tunnel in the country. A glass-roofed boat travels into the first part of the tunnel and, with the help of a guide, you can learn about the trials and tribulations of the men responsible for this amazing feat of engineering.
The Visitor Centre reveals more about the characters involved in the original idea of the Tunnel, the local people who worked on it, and the goods which were transported from one side of the Pennines to the other. Enjoy a cup of tea at Tunnel End Cottages and then head off on either the Standedge Trail or the Colne Valley circular, two of the popular walks around the area.
The Tissington Trail
The Tissington Trail is another scenic route, 13 miles in length, running from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay, and is ideal for both walkers and cyclists. The trail follows the old Buxton to Ashbourne railway and the rambler, or rider, finds himself/herself travelling through the countryside of the National Park without the interference of cars, pollution or noise. There are car parking points for people joining the trail at various stages, and the walking and cycling routes take the visitor to various local places of interest. There are also shorter routes for people who do not wish to wander too far and circular routes based on several of the car parks along the White Peak Scenic Route.
And finally, if this all seems far too energetic, pay a visit to Dovedale. A gentle river, featuring stepping-stones, winds through this most picturesque and peaceful dale. Roll out a rug, set out the picnic, sit back and enjoy!
• To find out more about the Peak District, go to www.outdooryorkshire.com or www.visitpeakdistrict.co.uk Flights and accommodation can be booked at www.thomsonfly.com. Those without internet access can book by calling 214 159 122.