5 of Derbyshire’s most stunning beauty spots – and why they need protecting

Winnats Pass

Beautiful Winnats Pass in the Peak District - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

From Daniel Defoe to Lord Byron, Derbyshire – and the Peak District in particular – has inspired many a writer to pay homage to its natural and unspoiled beauty. 

It’s also inspired literary greats from Charlotte Bronte to D.H. Lawrence. 

Home to Britain’s very first national park, it is an area of outstanding landscapes. 

Beauty spots are plentiful and have been popular with the public for centuries, both those local to the area and those from further afield. 

Yet, in order for such locations to be enjoyed by our children, grandchildren, and our grandchildren’s children, they must be protected from harm. 

As has been widely reported throughout the country, with images of litter-filled beaches and disposable BBQs and empty cans in our countryside – this is a battle far from won. 

Nowhere is the issue more prevalent or potentially destructive than beautiful Derbyshire.  

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But first to the positives. 

We have an embarrassment of riches on our patch, freely enjoyed by those who seek the quiet peace, tranquillity and life-affirming beauty of the peaks. 

Litter in Peak District beauty spots

Littering is a big problem in the Peak District - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The reality is that wherever you go in the Peak District or the wider county, you’re likely to be in touching distance of some of the most breath-taking places on offer across the UK. 

Here are just five of them. 

Dovedale - Famous for its stepping stones, cliffs, unique landscapes and for inspiring many a world-renowned novel, beautiful Dovedale is never far from the top of any beauty-seeking visitor’s list. 

Lathkill Dale - Three miles from Bakewell, Lathkill Dale is known for its crystal-clear waters, undulating hills and tranquil setting. Few places can match this area of Derbyshire in terms of peaceful bliss.  

Upper Derwent Valley - If water is your thing, the Upper Derwent Valley takes some beating. Full of majestic scenery, wonderful reservoirs and rolling, endless landscapes, this part of the world is admired and enjoyed by many. 

Stanage Edge - If you’re one for heights, Stanage Edge is the perfect location. Famed for its steep cliffs (and the views at the top of them) this area close to Hathersage is popular with climbers and beauty-spotters alike. 

Hope Valley - Just type Winnats Pass in to Google and you’ll get an immediate appreciation as to why people visit Hope Valley in their droves. This perfect part of the Peak District offers some of the most amazing views to be experienced anywhere in the country.  

Ladybower Reservoir in the English Peak District

Ladybower Reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

READ MORE: Top 10 picnic spots in Derbyshire and the Peak District

But these places, and many more besides, are not indestructible. 

One of the precious few positives of the disastrous pandemic that is Covid-19, is that it has given nature a chance to breathe and reset. 

Traffic in 2020 was down, man-made destruction was limited, and our precious wildlife and the places that have been their home since time infinitum have thrived as a result. 

Yet this progress threatens to be halted by the selfishness and carelessness of a small minority who treat these beauty spots as if they were in their own backyards – often worse. 

Writing in his monthly Baronet’s Diary column for Derbyshire Life, Sir Richard FitzHerbert of Tissington Hall recently remarked: 

‘Chris Pierson led me to Milldale one sunny morning to walk the dale and discuss the problems of last Summer (when, readers will recall, the local area was inundated with visitors from all over the Midlands only to leave these beauty spots in a trail of detritus and devastation).  

‘Chris met me at Viators’ Bridge which crosses the River Dove at the tip of the hamlet. Researching the origins of the bridge it appears that Izaak Walton in his Compleat Angler book of 1653 was scathing about it since ‘it is a bridge only wide enough for a mouse or wheelbarrow to cross’ perhaps because at that time it had no parapet.  

Peak Districtlandscape of view from top of Hen Cloud

The Peak District should be enjoyed by all for years to come - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

‘Nowadays it is the gateway to the dale and the access for portable barbeques and the like that groups then take to the nearby Dove Holes and Reynard’s’ Caves.  

‘Last year our visitors left bags and bags of rubbish collected by locals such as Chris. I know that this year the local authorities are collaborating with the National Trust on an educational campaign in order to prevent this despoliation of these wonderful places.  

‘I truly hope that the Countryside Code is observed and we can all enjoy a busy yet litter-free Dovedale.’ 

The Countryside Code and impetus from local authorities is, of course, important – but arguably more pertinent is our responsibility, both as individuals and as a collective community, to respect our stunning scenery and important wildlife. 

What’s clear is that it is the responsibility of everyone that we ensure our stunning county can be enjoyed for generations to come – because it most certainly can’t be taken for granted and the damage littering, in particular, to our ecology, wildlife and human health cannot be understated.  

And of course these places have been linchpins of our local communities since way back.

Only by taking our litter home with us and having a conscious appreciation for the upkeep of these spots, which can’t protect themselves, can we secure their longevity and ensure our county’s communities continue to thrive – to the benefit of tourists but, also, us as Derbyshire dwellers. 

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