Picture Post: Meet the Peak District’s magnificent rock stars

A solitary figure stands transfixed, looking out across the boulder-strewn moorlands from Burbage Rocks in the heart of the Peak District.

PIC: Scott Merrylees
PIC: Scott Merrylees

Artists, climbers, ramblers and those of us who simply appreciate the great natural treasures we have on our doorstep, have been coming here for generations simply to marvel at the sweeping vistas across one of England’s most stunning landscapes.

And little wonder. From the giant rocks that lie, half swallowed by the earth, you get a great vantage point overlooking Stanage Edge and Hope Valley.

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This gem in our countryside’s crown is a great way of exploring the geology and industrial archaeology of the Upper Burbage Valley and Hathersage moorlands.

The view from Stanage Edge, on the fringes of the eastern moors above Hathersage, is one of the finest in the ‘Dark Peak’, extending across the Derwent Valley and northwards towards Kinder Scout.

There are over 650 rock climbing routes along the edge, many of which have been given names such as the Left and Right Unconquerables.

Hope Valley is a large, wide valley running east to west along the boundary, between the gritstone moors and edges of the Dark Peak and the limestone outcrops and deep dales of the ‘White Peak.’

This is popular walking country although it’s also a haven for bikers, pony trekkers and potholers as well as those who prefer more tranquil pursuits such as angling and birdwatching.

At the head of the valley is the redoubtable Mam Tor, the ‘Shivering Mountain’. Today, it’s become something of a launch pad for hang-gliders, but during the Iron Age it was home to people whose fort can still be seen on top of the hill.

The landscape here is honeycombed with potholes and together with its gorges, old lead mines and limestone crags it makes for a breathtaking sight.

So if anyone ever asks you what’s so special about the Peak District, just tell them to go to Burbage Rocks to see for themselves.

Tech Details: Nikon D800, 35-70mm lens, 1/800th sec @ f3.5, ISO 100.