Sunday, 29 November 2009

No Peaks in the Peak District?

Last week I spoke about the place name of Shrewsbury. Speaking to a fellow historian in the week I heard the same thing I hear from every Derbyshire man and woman when I speak in and around Derbyshire and the Peak District - hence I was told there are no peaks in the Peak District, that this comes from the tribe of this name.

It will come as no surprise to find I disagree, there are peaks in the Peak District and there are even peaks in the Norfolk Broads. The problem lies in our understanding of 'peak', which brings about images of the Matterhorn, when all it really describes is a summit. If we describe a 'peak' on a graph we don't expect to see high points, we are just talking about the high point on that line. Similarly the peaks of the Peaks District are merely the contour lines with the highest numerical values, not soaring summits but gentle rises - and even these can look rather different when viewed from alternative vantage points below. Thus the Peak District did give the name to the tribe.

The area of the National Forest not only is not national, but contains more acres without trees than with trees.

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