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The Peak District: Landscape and Geology

27 January 2022

This publication is welcome and timely. 2021 marked the 70th anniversary of the Peak District National Park, the first of the designated national parks in the UK, and 2022 is the 90th anniversary of the Kinder Mass Trespass, which led to much greater accessibility to the Peak District for walkers, particularly from the industrial towns and cities surrounding this unique part of the British landscape.

The book provides fascinating insight into the landscape and geology of the Peak District. The author’s long association with and in-depth knowledge of the area, which extends over many years, combined with his enthusiasm for its geology and landscape evolution, together with its modification through anthropogenic activity, is clear in the content, style and delivery of the publication. The book is written in a fluent and understandable manner that will appeal to a wide audience and is supported by a wealth of fascinating photographs (many drawn from the authors own personal collection), together with very useful and informative maps, sketch profiles and cross sections.

An introductory chapter sets the scene, describing the contrast between the White Peak (characterised by Carboniferous limestones) and the Dark Peak (characterised by Carboniferous gritstones), which defines the Peak District geology. The remainder of the book is split into three main sections: the first, Starting with the Rocks, contains chapters that cover the White Peak limestone, the Dark Peak gritstone and the Derbyshire dome. The second section, Creating the Landscape, contains chapters that capture the shaping of the Peak District—the impact of the ice ages, the limestone country that includes karst and underground caves, as well as the contrasting moorland associated with the Dark Peak and the ‘sheepwalk’ grassland of the White Peak. The third section, Impact of Mankind, covers the mineral riches of the Peak District and the stone industry (quarrying and the use of stone commercially), including how stone has been used in construction, giving the villages, towns and historic buildings within the region their distinctive character; together with an interesting section on dams and reservoirs. Humankind has also helped to shape the landscape for our enjoyment, and suggestions for walks and places to visit are provided, giving the reader the opportunity to appreciate the best of the National Park’s landforms, perhaps inspiring a visit to a location not previously visited.

The author is to be congratulated for providing such a wealth of information and illustrations in a book of its size.


Reviewed by Colin J Serridge


BY: Tony Waltham (2021). Crowood Press Ltd. 160 pp. (pbk) ISBN 978 1 785000 874 0

PRICE: £16.99 www.crowood.com