And so life continued – through the middle ages and the Tudors and so on. Not much happened bar the odd episode of bubonic plague giving rise to disease, pestilence, famine and fame for the village of Eyam, getting itself into the history books with its self imposed quarantine.
And then the Industrial Era made its mark upon the scene! Abundant water power and still lots of lead to be mined with nearby reserves of coal made this a perfect place for industry to thrive. New machines were invented powered by water mills supplying energy to the growing textiles industry in Derby, Cromford, Cressbrook, Litton and Bakewell.
To feed the growing industry, new roads, canals and most importantly of all – the railways! These opened the way to tourism. The working classes worked in those days. And when they didn’t, they came to the Peak District for a spot of fresh air and ‘romance’: it was considered to be a romantic place.
Then one day a fellow, enjoying the fresh air, walking on Kinder Scout comes across a gentleman who tells him to leave his land forthwith. “Why’s it your land?” asked the fellow. The gentleman explains that his father’s father’s father’s father had fought for it – and that’s why. “Ok” says the fellow rolling up his sleeves – “I’ll fight you for it” … And so there was a lot of tension about how no one was actually allowed on this land. Pressure was building up and moves were literally afoot to allow access to the land. A gang of walkers from Sheffield and a gang of walkers from Manchester decided that en-masse they’d walk on it anyway. It was 1932 and this was called the Kinder Mass Trespass.
Eventually and monumentally – the Peak District National Park was born on the 17th April 1951. This was the first national park in Britain. Today, the Peak District is said to be the second most visited National Park in the world. It has a new chapter in its varied history: the fight to preserve and protect the iconic landscape for future generations to enjoy and embrace.