Elevated plateau of the south Pennines in northwest Derbyshire, central England; area 1,438 sq km/555 sq mi. It is a tourist region and part of it forms a national park. The highest point is Kinder Scout (636 m/2,087 ft), part of High Peak. In the surrounding area the main cities are Manchester, Sheffield, and Derby, and the town of Bakewell is located within the Peak District.
The Peak District National Park, established in 1951, was Britain's first national park. Britain's first long-distance footpath, the Pennine Way (opened in 1965), traverses much of the region, from north to south. In addition to tourism, which includes rock climbing, exploring caverns, and grouse hunting, industries include sheep farming and mineral extraction. Limestone is quarried, particularly in the vicinity of Buxton, and the area also produces potters clay and Blue John (a type of fluorspar).
The Peak District covers the plateau north of Buxton. The rocks are formed of millstone grit and shale grit, underlain by limestone. The northern area, with underlying gritstone, is sometimes known as Dark Peak, while the southern part, predominantly limestone, is known as White Peak. High Peak is the highest elevation in the south Pennines; other peaks include Axe Edge (566 m/1,857 ft) and Mam Tor (518 m/1,699 ft), and approximately half of the Derbyshire Dales lie within the Peak District. The rivers Derwent, Dove, and Wye rise in the area. The village of Chapel-en-le-Frith is known as ‘the capital of the Peak’. The Peak Cavern nearby goes 450 m/1,476 ft into the limestone. Rock-climbing edges are found at Laddow in the Woodhead valley, Stanage near Sheffield, Windgather, Castle Naze, Black Rocks, and Cratcliffe Tor.