The Peak District lies in Northern and Central England but mainly in Derbyshire. Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, whose designation in 1951 made it the first National Park in the British Isles. This beautiful area attracts an estimated 22 million visitors every year, making it the second most-visited national park in the world. The park covers an area of 555 square miles and 12% of the Peak District National Park is owned by the National Trust.The high moorland plateau of the Dark Peak and the high ridges of the White Peak are the sources of many rivers.The western side of the Peak District is drained by the rivers Etherow, Goyt, and Tame, which are tributaries of the River Mersey. The north east is drained by tributaries of the River Don, itself a tributary of the Yorkshire Ouse. Of the tributaries of the River Trent, that drain the south and east, the River Derwent is the most prominent. It rises in the Peak District on Bleaklow just east of Glossop and flows through the Upper Derwent Valley with its three reservoirs, the Howden Reservoir, Derwent Reservoir and Ladybower Reservoir. The River Noe and the River Wye are tributaries. The River Manifold and River Dove, rivers of the south west whose sources are on Axe Edge Moor, also flow into the Trent, while the River Dane flows into the River Weaver.
Tourism is the main source of employment for the residents of the park along with quarrying and farming. At Buxton and Ashbourne there are springs whose natural spring waters are bottled. Buxton has a long history as a spa town due to its geothermal spring which rises at a constant temperature of 28°C, it was initially developed by the Romans around AD 78.
There are many opportunities for outdoor activities within the park, there is an extensive network of public footpaths and numerous long-distance trails,over 1,800miles (2,900km) in total.There are also many horse riding trails. The many gritstone outcrops,such as Stanage and the Roaches, are recognised as some of the finest rock climbing sites in the world. The many natural caves and old mine workings offer opportunities for potholers.On some of the large reservoirs such as, Carsington Water,have become centres for water sports which include sailing, fishing and canoeing.
The Park encompasses many beautiful villages dotted throughout the area and during spring and summer months hold ‘Well Dressing’ ceremonies which are said to date back to pagan times, the villages are adorned with flowers and attract visitors to the area. Buxton holds to annual opera festivals, the Buxton Festival and the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.
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