The Peak District National Park was the first of the countries designated areas to be created April 1951, closely followed by the Lake District National Park in May of the same year.
The Park is located in the Central midlands and extends north covering an area of approximately 555 square miles, bounded by the cities of Sheffield, Manchester in the north and Derby to the South. The main towns in the area are Matlock, Buxton, and Ashbourne though the latter is just outside the park boundary though nonetheless popular as a area to stay and holiday with the park in easy reach.
The Geology of the area has given the park its distinctive feel that makes it such a popular place to visit, to the south the area known as the white peak consists of limestone with lush greenery softer rolling hills and caves, and extends up towards the Hope valley and the area around Castleton. Further north, in contrast, the dark peak and sometimes also called the high peak consists of millstone grit that has a and gives the appearance of a darker landscape where it outcrops and the area is predominately high moorland, with large open areas with little inhabitation. Tthe high point of the park can also be found in the High Peak area, Kinder Scout which, despite it's being a moorland plateau reaches 636 metres (2,087ft) in elevation and forms part of the Pennine way.
There are a number of popular areas in the Peak district National Park for visitors, the spa towns of Matlock and Buxton in the south, Bakewell a little further north. Continuing further north still and Castleton in the Hope Valley with its caves and the very impressive and Picturesque Winnats Pass with a road gradient of 1 in 3.5 is a must place to visit and don't forget the Speedwell Cavern at the foot of the pass which includes a boat ride though the tunnels.
Not too far from Castleton the small village of Edale is popular with walkers as it is the starting point of the Pennine way where both novices and adventurous walkers alike can take in the scenery . Despite the location and size of the village, there is a small train station here and in the height of the season, is a great way to arrive, leaving the platform and starting your walk.