Information about Derbyshire and the Peak District

Derbyshire is situated in the north midlands of England, bordered in the north-west by Cheshire, in the north by Yorkshire, in the east by Nottinghamshire, in the south by Leicestershire, in the west by Staffordshire. It measures about 52 miles from north to south, and for most of that length is only about 20 miles from east to west, in an area of approximately 2631 sq km (1016 sq miles).

Derby is by far the largest town in the county. Other towns of some importance are Alfreton, Ashbourne, Bakewell, Belper, Buxton, Chesterfield, Glossop, Heanor, Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Matlock.

map of derbyshire

The population of Derbyshire in 1994 can be broken down as follows

Amber Valley 114,200
Bolsover 71,800
Chesterfield 101,000
Derby 217,300
Derbyshire Dales 66,000
Erewash 107,600
High Peak 85,100
North East Derbyshire 97,200
South Derbyshire 72,800

Derbyshire is a brilliant place to live, work, play and visit. Its towns, villages, hills, dales and rivers, offer beautiful scenery, and a rich variety of customs that date back from time immemorial. In Derbyshire you find large country houses, like Chatsworth, Kedleston and Haddon, towns and villages associated with famous people or rare minerals, and crystal clear rivers and streams running through its valleys and dales.

Photograph from Chatsworth   in Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park - autumn

Derbyshire caters for nearly every kind of sport, from rock climbing and pot holing to fly fishing and canoeing on waters surrounded by beautiful scenery.

The towns and villages are often quite isolated and built of the abundant native stone. Here also, there are many more stone built reminders of the ancient past, including the many burial mounds or `lows` which crown so many hills in Derbyshire. Prehistoric monuments also remain such as the magnificent Arbor Low stone circle and henge near Parsley Hay and the Nine Ladies stone circle on Stanton Moor.

Photograph from arbor low stone circle

The hedgerows and arable fields which typify the Midlands, once you have passed Ashbourne, give way to mile after mile of drystone walls criss-crossing stoney pastures, where pastoral farming of sheep and cattle predominates.

Derbyshire today is perhaps best known for the Peak District National Park, the first to be designated in Britain, in 1951, in recognition of its outstanding and largely unspoilt scenery. It covers 555 square miles of the north of the county, taking in the limestone plateau and dales of the White Peak, and the brooding gritstone moors and edges of the Dark Peak. Over 22 million day visits are made to the Peak District National Park every year, making it the second-most visited National Park in the world.

Over the years this region has been immortalized on film in numerous movies and TV dramas, including, Lady Jane Grey, Women in Love, The Virgin and the Gypsy, The Prince and the Pauper and Moll Flanders. The ever popular British TV Series, Peak Practice, BBC's Pride and Prejudice and Frank Zeffirelli's Jane Ayre have had an immense impact on the area, and visitors come from far and wide to see locations used during filming.

The Derwent Valley Mills region is now a World Heritage Site, leading to worldwide recognition of the unique role this area, which snakes down the Derwent Valley from Matlock Bath to Derby, played in shaping the factory system, the industrial revolution and modern society. The site includes a series of mill complexes, river weirs, mill settlements and an historic transport network.

More general information on the Peak District at Peak District

Thousands of quality photographs on all aspects of Derbyshire and Peak District life can be found at Derbyshire Photographs

A good account of history in the peak district dealing with anglo saxons to present times can be found at Peakscan

For Genealogical research information on Derbyshire try GENUKI

A Derbyshire Genealogy links page can be found at

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