Touring the Derby Peak District with Elizabeth

"according to the present plan, were to go no farther northward than Derbyshire. In that county, there was enough to be seen to occupy the chief of their three weeks; and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a peculiarly strong attraction. The town where she had formerly passed some years of her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, was probably as great an object of her curiosity, as all the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak."

--Chapter 42 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The "celebrated beauties" of Derby are toured by Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth. The Peak District is well worth a look. Let us join Elizabeth in her tour of Derbyshire.

The Peak District in Derbyshire and Staffordshire offers incredible views. The dramatic landscape ranges from percipitous valleys edged in loose stones in the Dark Peaks to lush valleys with limestone outcrops in the White Peaks all bisected by streams. Birds and wildflowers abound. The Peak District is featured in both the new Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen and in the BBC/A&E miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

Dovedale is a meandering, deeply-cut two mile valley on the River Dove in the Peak District. The River Dove originates in the high moorlands of Axe Edge and joins the River Trent after a 45 mile circuitous journey through a series of spectacular limestone gorges: Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale, Milldale, and finally Dovedale. Dovedale is best enjoyed on a walking tour in which the views of valleys and rock spires are gradually revealed.

The Peak District and Dovedale are the result of extensive erosion of limestone [White Peaks] beds by waters rich in debris at the end of the ice age. The erosion cut through a conglamerate limestone resulting from a river delt overlaying an older limestone bed laid down in a shallow tropical sea 350 million years ago. The harder coral reef limestone remained. The ice age scouring revealed the coral islands as the Peaks from which the district derives its name.

Mr. Gardiner may well have stopped for a day of fishing in Dovedale. Trout fishing in the valley was made famous by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton who wrote The Compleat Angler in the 17th century. Elizabeth must have greatly enjoyed the scenery.

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