6 of the best Peak District views
- Credit: Gary Wallis
Imagine a world with no subjectivity, where everybody has the same view and ways of looking at things.
Of course, you can find general consensus – is there anyone who genuinely doesn’t believe the Peak District is an area of outstanding natural beauty?
Drill down deeper, however, and the Peak District’s best views becomes an altogether more personal matter.
Landscapes are emotive and mean different things to different people and there are scenes that resonate with some more than others.
Here Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park, picks some of his favourite Peak District views.
The huge rocky crag that towers over the River Derwent at Matlock Bath was supposedly the last place in England where eagles nested, and with its sheer faces and inaccessible ledges it’s easy to see why this story persisted.
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It was once part of a complex of pleasure grounds popular with tourists, although it’s now owned and managed by the local council and access via waymarked paths is free.
One of these routes is so-called Giddy Edge, which as its name suggests is not for the faint hearted. Luckily you can enjoy the dramatic views in comfort and safety from several other locations around the lofty hilltop.
Although long gone, the former Bakewell to Buxton railway line has left a legacy of tunnels, bridges and viaducts that today’s visitors on foot and bike can utilise.
The most famous of these is below Monsal Head, where the elegant five-arch viaduct soars almost 80ft (24m) above a huge meander in the river.
It forms the centrepiece of a stunning view, with the huge man-made structure framed by plunging wooded slopes as the deep-cut dale wriggles its way through the heart of the National Park.
The view from the viaduct itself is no less stunning, especially when you emerge from Headstone Tunnel straight on to it.
Ladybower Reservoir from Derwent Edge
Although the flooding of the upper Derwent Valley to create three mighty reservoirs was designed to meet the growing thirst of residents of Derbyshire and the East Midlands, the resulting landscape of narrow fingers of water bordered by dense conifers has become something of a favourite with visitors to the National Park.
Whether lifeless reservoirs and dense larch plantations are intrinsically beautiful is probably in the eye of the beholder, but nevertheless the view down to and across the reservoirs from the heather moorland to the east, with Bleaklow’s semi-wilderness in the distance, is certainly captivating.
The famous gritstone escarpment high above the Derwent valley extends for almost four miles and generations of climbers have cut their teeth and grazed their knuckles on the hundreds of different climbing routes.
The views along the rugged line of rocks are impressive, set against slopes of bracken and rough grazing; but from the top of Stanage the whole of the central Peak District is laid out at your feet and this is definitely the place to go on a sunny evening for spectacular sunsets.
Approach it from the car park at Upper Burbage Bridge or the gradual ascent up Long Causeway.
Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill
Unlike the Lakes, the Peak District doesn’t have too many pointy bits, but these two angular hills in the upper Dove Valley south of Buxton are well worth searching out.
They were formed millions of years ago out of tiny marine deposits when this was a tropical sea (they’re known as reef knolls).
Their serrated shape has given the nickname of the Dragon’s Back and there are walking routes over both summits.
It’s a little steep in places, but not dauntingly so once you’re on them, and although it will no doubt get you puffing these wonderful miniature peaks reward the effort.
The Great Ridge from Mam Tor
This classic and much-loved National Park view has graced so many publications and websites – and for good reason.
Like the summit of Mam Tor itself, there are ‘wow’ views in every direction, with Edale and Kinder Scout one side and Castleton and Winnats Pass the other.
The ridge path ahead draws you irresistibly into the view, as a well-composed photo should, with a backdrop of commanding hills and moorland edges.
What I particularly like is that this newly repaired path is so accessible so that almost everyone can share one of the highlights of the Peak District.
To find more fantastic views of the Peak District, join our Derbyshire and Peak District walks group