Sightseeing in the Peak District
Sightseeing in the Peak District
The Peak District has a rich diversity of things to see you could spends months or even years. During the summer, you should try and visit one of the many Well Dressings that take place across the Peak District. For a calendar of Well Dressings click in the link below.
Well Dressings in The Peak District
Well Dressing is the traditional art of decorating springs and wells with pictures made from natural materials. Complex, beautiful pictures are created often with many members of the town or village involved putting in many hours of effort.
It is unclear how long ago this tradition started but it was done to celebrate the blessing of clean water from the local spring or well.
To set a foundation for the picture, a wooden board is soaked for a few days and then filled with clay. Different villages use different methods for transferring the outline of the picture onto the clay. Some use wool, while others use bark or alder cones, known locally as 'blacks'.
The picture is then coloured in, known by some villages as 'petaling' or 'flowering' depending on whether the whole flower head or just the petals from various flowers are used to construct the picture.
There are often religious themes to the pictures but you will also see historical scences, animals and birds and farming depicted. You may even see the occasional Disney scene shown.
These Well Dressings are immensely intricate and detailed and can take a team of people up to a week to complete even though the Dressing itself will only last 7 - 10 days before the clay dries out and the flowers fade.
Well Dressings run at various places from May to September and are well worth a visit.
Robin Hood's Stride
This one is a spectacular tour of gritstone rocks perched on a ridge between Harthill moor and the Alport-Winster road. An alternative name for Robin Hood stride is 'Mock Beggar's Hall'. From a distance mainly in semi-darkness or mist the tumbled rocks and turrets can be mistaken as fortifications. There are real fortifications nearby which can be seen from the Stride is an Iron Age fort.
There are traces of barrows, Bronze or Iron Age enclosures and hut circles, with the most visible monument being the stone circle known as the 'Nine Stones'. Another Bronze Age monument connected with the Portway and is the most impressive in the area. An impressive crag made up of huge blocks of gritstone and largely hidden by trees to the northeast lies the Cratcliff Tor, it also has a hermit's cave hidden by an ancient group of yew trees as being one of the hardest gritstone climbing crags.
This is an artificial lake created for the local canal system. Along the side of the lake a narrow gauge railway is running for 2 kilometers. As a local pleasure resort it became popular with the opening of the North Staffordshire Railway that ran along the lakeside. The visitors are mainly from the local towns such as Leek, Stoke and Macclesfield and also from all over the country. Rudyard Lake is now the centre for fishing, rowing, walking and sight seeing.
Pleasure cruises, boats for hire, signed walks and fishing permits are all available. British Waterways owns the lake where there is a sailing club. The Rudyard Lake Steam Railway is a narrow-gauge railway runs for 4 kilometers along the lake along the track of the former North Staffordshire Railway. Steam trains are operated at weekends from the middle of March to the end of the October.
This is the largest and the impressive gristone edges and is a famous location for rock climbing and a popular spot for walkers. Stanage is situated quite high and can be snowbound during the winter. The rock face attains the maximum height of 25 meters. The length is between 15 to 20 meters. High Neb that lies near the north end is the high point of the main edge. The edge is ideal for rock climbing as it is made of one of the finer gritstones.
The climbers have given different names to the sections of the edge. The edge currently has over 800 recorded rock climbs with more every year. After the Second World War the floodgates were opened as access got easier and more climbers visited the edge. Stanage is suffering from its popularity. The vegetation has worn away with erosion occurring around it. Many of the popular climbs are quite polished through the ascent of the climbers.
Winnats Pass is a long collapsed limestone cave system which now forms a steep and craggy valley. Winnats is a short form of 'Windygates' for the wind seems to swirl around everywhere. Winnats has cliffs on all sides that climb out of the Hope valley and was created by the action of water eating away at the limestone rock. As the limestone dissolves the streams tend to change their path underground that enlarges the cracks and fissures in the rock.
There are numerous underground stream systems and one of these streams created a large cave system beneath the edge of the cliff overlooking Castleton, because of the water the rock underground was worn away and the cave system collapsed leaving the steep sided valley. There are numerous potholes and Speedwell Caverns along the sides of the valley and it's entrance is at the foot of Winnats Pass. There are numerous footpaths around the Pass.
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