Portal:Derbyshire/Article Archive/November 2008
The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire.
Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, whose designation in 1951 made it the earliest national park in the British Isles. An area of great diversity, it is conventionally split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is gritstone, and the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and where the geology is mainly limestone-based. Proximity to the major conurbations of the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire, coupled with easy access by road and rail, make it the most visited national park in the UK.
The Peak District forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 300 m, with a high point on Kinder Scout of 636 m. Despite its name, the landscape lacks sharp peaks, being characterised by rounded hills and gritstone escarpments (the "edges"). The area is surrounded by major conurbations, including Huddersfield, Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.
The National Park covers 555 square miles (1,438 km2) of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire, including the majority of the area commonly referred to as the Peak. The Park boundaries were drawn to exclude large built-up areas and industrial sites from the park; in particular, the town of Buxton and the adjacent quarries are located at the end of the Peak Dale corridor, surrounded on three sides by the Park. The town of Bakewell and numerous villages are, however, included within the boundaries, as is much of the (non-industrial) west of Sheffield. As of 2006, it is the fourth largest National Park in England and Wales.
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