White Peak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Typical limestone scenery: Thor's Cave, Staffordshire, from the Manifold Way.

The White Peak is the lower, central and southern part of the Peak District in England, enclosed by the Dark Peak in the west, north and east.[1] However, in contrast to the Dark Peak, the underlying limestone is not capped by impervious millstone grit, so caves, limestone gorges and dry river valleys are common features of the area. The soils are poor and calcareous, creating grazing land for both sheep and cattle.

Broadly speaking, the White Peak covers the Derbyshire and Staffordshire parts of the Peak District from the Hope Valley southwards[2] to the Weaver Hills[3] near the Churnet Valley. The White Peak is one of 159 national character areas defined by Natural England; their defined area covers an area of 52,860 hectares (204 sq mi) and includes the area approximately bounded by Ashbourne, Buxton, Castleton, Matlock and Wirksworth.[4]

The largest towns in the White Peak are outside the area of the Peak District national park. These towns include Matlock and Buxton, while Bakewell and most of the villages in the park are in the White Peak area. Around the areas of Tideswell, Hartington, Flagg, Chelmorton and Youlgrave, long thin fields created by the enclosure of medieval strip fields can be seen. The region is rich in footpaths, bridleways and green tracks that give access to the area. Longer-distance routes include the Limestone Way and the Pennine Bridleway, and former railway trackbeds such as the Monsal Trail, the High Peak Trail, the Tissington Trail and the Manifold Way.

Notable valleys in the White Peak include Dovedale, Monsal Dale, Lathkill Dale and the Manifold Valley. The area is of interest to geologists, since much of the underlying strata have been exposed by extensive quarrying, and can be seen in the old railway cuttings along the Monsal Trail through Monsal Dale and Millers Dale.


  1. ^ "Accommodation in Derbyshire and the Peak National Park". Discover Derbyshire and the Peak District. Discover Derbyshire and the Peak District. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  2. ^ "The White Peak". peakdistrictonline.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  3. ^ Walks in the Ancient Peak District. Robert Harris. p. 143. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. ^ "NCA 52: White Peak Key Facts & Data" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  • Bull, John. The Peak District: A Cultural History (Signal Books, 2012). Explores the culture and history of the two landscapes of the Dark and White Peak.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°12′N 1°48′W / 53.2°N 1.8°W / 53.2; -1.8