Dark Peak Walks Book

Dark Peak Walks Books waiting for dispatch
Dark Peak Walks Books waiting for dispatch

My book Dark Peak Walks arrived yesterday from Cicerone. People have ordered signed copies from our Wapentac  shop and we will need to replenish our stock soon.

The Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park is a unique place in Britain to my mind. No where else I have found the combination of gritstone edges, vast peat moors and the plateaus of Kinder Scout and Bleaklow. It has an enormous amount of history, geological interest and some of the most spectacular wildlife sights that can be found anywhere. For a sense of wilderness and isolation that brings a raw emotion to me when I experience it the Dark Peak cannot be beaten. It is a land full of comedy too, ask anyone who has sat and watched a friend desperately trying to extricate themselves from a peat bog, all sense of dignity gone, language become basic, anger rising. It is the best fun a person can have, watching this, its free too. A friend showed me a photo of an Adder, taken last week on Big Moor, it was just off the path and taking in the first hint of summer in the warm sun, a sight never to be forgotten.

It was Mark Richards who suggested my name to Cicerone for the guide-book to replace Marks iconic High Peak Walks. One day I dragged Mark through the bracken on Bamford Moor, hoping he wouldn’t notice that I had got lost.  Afterwards he made the suggestion perhaps I would like to write the book. It was a dream come true for me and I am very grateful to Mark and Jonathan Williams at Cicerone for their faith in me. The book took two years to research and write, many of the walks being covered several times, so that I could get the absolute best out of the landscape. Gone are my days of 30 mile walks in a day across peat bog. In the book I have attempted to produce walks that have interest and views, a little navigation here and there, making good use of the landscape, but most of all days that are memorable, the ones you want not to end and always to repeat.

In one of those odd turns of fate a new Facebook page Dark Peak UK was started by Paul Bridge and this has quickly become a community of like-minded people who all love the Dark Peak area and are not afraid to get out there and have some fantastic adventures. I realised that there was still a growing passion for the outdoors, that people were out there having great days out and sharing it with other like minded souls. The world has changed, and in this instance it is for the better.

We live in an age of instant notification, I was born in the days of press button A or B, and some of you will know what that means. But, it is the written word that still remains important and sits at the centre of all we do. It is the words that take us to places we have yet to see.

Derwent Village – Peak District

George VI Lamp Box, Derwent Village, Peak District
George VI Lamp Box, Derwent Village, Peak District

This is a Post Office lamp box. I never knew it had a name until I started to research Derwent Village. It is called a lamp box because it was designed to be attached to lamp posts. You can also find them attached to telegraph poles as this one is in the village of Derwent in the Peak District National Park. Some were also placed into walls, in fact I used to have one in the bathroom of my old house.

Along this section of the walk you can find lots of historical heritage. The old school is just on the opposite side of the road, it was a catholic school and still has the Virgin Mary statute above the doorway. A little further along the road is the old gateway to Derwent Hall and going the other way is the gateway to the old vicarage.

If you look carefully along the roadside you can spot benchmarks placed there by Ordnance Survey surveyors in the 1852 and 1896 surveys.

The Post Office lamp box appears on Walk No.12 in Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press