When driving through the Lake District, I was surprised to find the area had a good balance between isolation and population. I wouldn’t say it didn’t feel like a national park, but it had areas that felt like any other town. It was a similar first impression to when I visited the Black Forest in Germany.
When I think of a national park I think long stretches of road with little to no civilization. I think of rocky terrain with pot holes that make my heart dip into my stomach wondering if I scratched the side of my vehicle. I think of endless rolling hills that will swallow me whole if I don’t respect the vastness of their proximity.
I think of places like the Peak District.
There is no one size fits all national park, the exact definition is an area of countryside, or occasionally sea or fresh water, protected by the state for the enjoyment of the general public or the preservation of wildlife. Definitions aside, I still have a specific vision in my head when I think of a national park.
Perhaps my summer spent in Yellowstone, or growing up near Olympic National Park skewed this vision for me, but either way I tend to enjoy national parks that are a bit more isolated. The Peak District is a little over two house south of the Lake District, and the differences between the two were obvious right away.
I absolutely loved the Lake District, but I equally loved the Peak District for different reasons.
The Peak District felt more spread out when it came to civilization, there were cafe’s scattered throughout the roads we drove, but they didn’t sit in tiny towns. They were their own isolated building on top of a hill overlooking the wonder of the hills below. This park is so sporadic we had a hard time keeping a cell signal, which made it sightly difficult to find our Air B & B.
After some time, we finally found our tiny house.
We had quite a few laughs in regard to this place, it was a bit too small for three people, but we made it work. All three of us are flexible and chill people, so I slept on the tiny couch while the other girls slept on the tiny bed. We had no wifi, no reception, and no visibility for our first evening in the park.
Before arriving in the Peak District we spent the morning walking the Lake District a bit more, and we arrived in the Peak District in the afternoon. I always like finding a new place in the daylight just to minimize stress. It would have been a nightmare trying to find this place in the dark.
After finding our house, we decided to drive back to a cafe we saw when driving in to the park for a late lunch/early dinner.
I had been in England for five days at this point, and had yet to eat fish and chips. It was an easy choice when looking over the Peak View menu. We enjoyed our meal and headed into the nearby town for breakfast supplies before heading back to the tiny house to unwind for the evening.
The following morning I made us all coffee, eggs, and scones. When I say made us I mean I tried to do a makeshift pourover that turned out too weak, made scrambled eggs in a tiny microwave, and opened a package of scones from the grocery. It was a memorable and comical morning in the tiny house. We listened to 80’s music videos on the TV while we ate, and then we packed up our stuff and headed off for a morning in the park.
We drove until we saw an area that looked worthy of exploration, and then we parked and walked. We walked for a few hours – some on country roads and some in open fields with free roaming animals. We walked through fog, and mud, and thick open fields.
I fell deeper and deeper in love with the UK each step I took. The cold crisp air, the green hills, the roaming cows, the scones, the black pudding, the people, the accents, the language (I understand English!), everything about these countries continues to sweep me off my feet. The stone houses, the random castles, the history, the energy of a slow paced way of life.
I’ve never felt more myself somewhere than I do in the UK the last six years.
After our morning of exploration we drove to the Manchester airport where we flew back to Germany later that evening. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to England, or a better group of girls. There are few people who I work with who I enjoy spending time with, but the few who I enjoy are good people.
I don’t always enjoy solo travel, and sometimes it’s more fun experiencing the world with others. I’m thankful for the two girls who accompanied me to England, it was a trip I will never forget. Now if someone can find me a good scone in Germany, that’d be grand.
Q: What do you visualize when you think of a national park?
19 thoughts on “Peak District National Park”
I always felt like national parks were busy and too touristy. But I haven’t been to many. When I went to Mt St Helens for an overland trip for a few days we only did 2 things that was “touristy” and it wasn’t even a mad house. But we explored and camped in a new spot every evening and explored trails in our 4x4s, don’t worry we tread lightly, and it was an amazing experience.
There are definitely more touristy spots within the parks than others, so I try to find the more isolated areas. When I was in Yellowstone we often escaped to the mountains where there were not tourists!
Ah! You were in my stamping grounds when I go backpacking. I love about 50 -60 miles from the Peak District and that cafe you went has had a fair bit of my money over the years!
I love the Peak District. The White Peaks are more rural with rolling hills and dales while the Dark Peak is much more wild. A friend and myself were nearly candidates for a mountain rescue due to hypothermia in June ( if you’re interested I blogged about it) so if you go up Kinder, Alport Castles or Bleaklow treat the area with respect. It’s beautiful but it can hold nasty surprises for the unwary like sudden drops in temperature, zero visibility, peat bogs, etc. I love it there.
The Lakes are equally gorgeous but different. The high fells are dramatic and harsh while the valleys are gentle but overseen by huge fortresses of rock.
There’s two wonderful videos made by Terry Abraham about the Lake District. They’re part of a series called the Life of a Mountain. The videography is superb and Terry has the happy knack of not imposing himself of the camera: the mountains and the people speak for themselves. One of them is about my favourite mountain called Blencathra. Highly recommended viewing!
Wow, thank you for sharing! Scary about the near mountain rescue, I’m glad you guys made it out.
Yes, it was scary at the time. The really odd thing was once we got down to the valley it was lovely and warm.
Girl… You are SOOOOO going to move to the UK!!! I can feel it in my bones!! It’s just a matter of when — NOT if! 🙌🏻❤️
I love your confidence, and I agree!!
When I think of national parks, I think of rugged landscapes, mountains and lots of sheep – though it varies a little from one part of the UK to another, and from one country to another. Snowdonia and the Yorkshire Dales both hold a special place in my heart, and Dartmoor really took me by surprise – I was expecting bleak moorland, but when I visited the UK was in the midst of a heatwave so it was the complete opposite of ‘bleak’! Personally, I think the Broads is the least exciting of the UK’s national parks – in part because its system of waterways is man-made, but also because East Anglia is completely flat!
SHEEP!! The sheep are my favorite part of UK national parks. I will have to add these other places you mentioned to my list of places to visit!
Me too, especially the Herdwick sheep in the Lake District with their thick grey fleeces!
Landscapes…terrains…water…wildlife…floral and fauna …Soooo many shades of Green,
Brown and Grey
I have been to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Arches, and Grand Canyon. I think wide open rustic places are great. It seems like this is pretty much the same. What’s next?
Great places! I hope to visit more parks in the states when I leave Europe.
Many safe and great adventures to you, Brittney.
I love the peaks district! One of my many favs in England.
Often national parks are touristy and busy in the main areas but get off the beaten path and you find out why the area is a national park. Banff comes to mind for me as a Canadian – prime example of the above statement.
I am dying to go to Banff! That’s how Yellowstone was for me when I worked there, getting into the backcountry was the best.