Back to IndexPeak District

The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines.  It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, but includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.  An area of diversity, it is usually split into the Dark Peak, where most moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, and the White Peak, a limestone area,  The Dark Peak forms an arc on the north, east and west sides; the White Peak makes up the central and southern tracts.  It became the United Kingdom's first national park in 1951.

Inhabited from the Mesolithic era, it shows evidence of that from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.  Settled by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, it remained largely agricultural, though mining grew in importance in the Middle Ages.  Then quarrying grew as mining declined.  Tourism arose after the advent of the railways, thanks to the landscape, spa towns at Buxton and Matlock Bath, the Castleton show caves, and Bakewell, the park's one town.

The Peak District is formed almost wholly of sedimentary rocks of the Carboniferous period.  They make up the carboniferous limestone overlying gritstone, and the coal measures that occur only on the margins and the infrequent outcrops of igneous rocks, including lavas, tuffs and volcanic vent agglomerates.  The general geological structure is that of a broad dome, whose western margins have been intensely faulted and folded.

Uplift and erosion have sliced the top off the Derbyshire Dome to reveal a concentric outcrop pattern with coal-measured rocks on the eastern and western margins, carboniferous limestone at the core and rocks of millstone grit between them. The southern edge of the Derbyshire dome is overlain by sandstones of Triassic age, though they barely impinge on the National Park.  The White Peak forms a central and southern section with carboniferous limestone found at or near the surface.  The Dark Peak to the north, east and west is marked by millstone grit outcrops and broad swathes of moorland.















· Home Page · Site Map · What's New ·