The Peak District (3rd edition)


Geologists’ Association Guide No 26

By F Wolverstone Cope

As a holiday destination, you can’t go far wrong by visiting the Peak District. The walking and scenery are spectacular, and so is the geology. It is no surprise that it was made the first a National Park in 1957 and the ‘Great Trespass’ is worth researching for its early history.

This is one of the oldest of the GA’s guides and is currently in its third edition (the first having been published in 1957 and the second in 1972). Although there have been changes in classification and so on, the general exposures are largely as good as they used to be – or they were the last time I went!

Geologically and geomorphologically, the Peak District has a large central limestone area surrounded on all sides (except for the south) by extensive, peat-covered moorlands, based upon sandstones and shales younger than the limestone. That is, the rocks are formed almost exclusively from sedimentary rocks dating from the Carboniferous period. They comprise the Carboniferous Limestone, overlying Gritstone (Millstone Grit) and the Coal Measures, the latter occurring only on the extreme margins and infrequent outcrops of igneous rocks including lavas, tuffs and volcanic vent agglomerates.

Most of the 12 itineraries in this guide have specific locations marked on accompanying black and white sketch maps, but, where greater precision is needed, grid references are given.

After providing a good, general description of the area’s geology, the guide goes on the describea the following itineraries:

  • The Valley of the River Wye from Buxton to Miller’s Dale.
  • Miller’s Dale to Monsal Head.
  • Monsal Dale and Ashford-in-the-Water.
  • Castleton and Mam Tor.
  • Glutton Dale, Parkhouse Hill, Dowel Dale and Chrome Hill.
  • Eyam and Stony Middleton.
  • Matlock, via Gellia and Griffe Grange.
  • Dovedale.
  • The Valley of the River Manifold.
  • Mam Tor, Edale and Kinder Scout.
  • Ramshaw Rocks, the Roaches and Goldsmith Moss.
  • The headwaters of the River Goyt and the River Wye.

These are all great areas to visit on holiday, so I recommend taking this book with you if you are going to be nearby. This guide can be bought at the Geologists’ Association website.

The Peak District, Guide No 26, by F Wolverstone Cope, The Geologists’ Association, London (1999), 78 pages (paperback), ISBN: 0900717114

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