The National Trust look after several key areas of land in the Peak District, balancing tourism and local needs. The nature of the area means that this isn't always an easy task! They do a decent job, meaning that the footpaths, bridleways and access points to open country are well maintained. Much Trust land here is free to access, so you can fully appreciate the Peak District views, woodlands and gorges.
In the south, the White Peak Estate includes Ilam Park and Dovedale plus the Manifold and Hamps Valleys.
Further north, the Longshaw Estate, Burbage and the Eastern Moors are in the hands of the Trust. The Trust owns large tracts of the beautiful heather-clad moorland further west too, for example, Kinder Scout. These sensitive upland areas have been either gifted, bought or transferred through the National Land Fund procedure.
Bricks and Mortar
The National Trust also manage some properties in the Peak District as well as several major stately homes just beyond the borders. The first property they acquired was well before the National Park was even considered - Winster Market House.
Winster Market House is an intriguing mix of stone and brick. The lower story is where the market was held and comprises five impressive stone arches. The Market House was neglected after the closure of the lead mines and the upper storey was demolished for safety. The upper story was reconstructed shortly after the building was purchased. It is now an information centre but is not always open, so check the times if you intend to visit.
Lyme is an impressive house and park right on the western edge of the Peak District. The park offers 1,400 acres in which you can walk and take in the stunning views. There is the obligatory folly, deer, variuos themed gardens and childrens' play area. Lyme is also one of the locations used to film the BBC's version of Pride and Prejudice.
Full information can be found on the National Trust website.
National Trust and Conservation in the Peak District
Just in case you are unfamiliar with the National Trust...
It was founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill and 31 years later the National Trust for Scotland was set up. Since then, this registered charity has bought and saved many stately homes, country houses, areas of countryside including complete islands, protecting the heritage from development or destruction.
The Trust has diversified over the years and the organisation today is a multi-faceted operation, offering holiday cottages, days out, public events and more. They are committed to education, conservation and getting people involved in the preservation of out British heritage sites.
Membership of the Trust allows you to visit their properties free entry and parking to Trust properties, the National Trust magazine, members handbook and more at a remarkably small cost considering the savings you make if you visit half a dozen Trust sites over the year.
The National Trust has conservation as its foundation stone, thanks to Octavia Hill. She worked with the poor during the second half of the nineteenth century. Octavia realised that simple charity was not a long term solution and that they needed to learn to help themselves. She also appreciated that open spaces were important, particularly in the urban environment. These two principles came together on a grand scale with the foundation of the National Trust in 1895.
The National Trust 'Muck in' Days
The National Trust generates income as a charity to finance projects throughout the UK, not just the Peak District. The specialist work is carried out by contractors, for example, renovation of lime mortar pointing on historic buildings. Tree planting and scrub removal are tasks that can involve the wider public.
One example of how this functions is the work carried out in the High Peak Moors. Rangers, volunteers and contractors have planted thousands of native trees in the upper Derwent valley. This long-term plan is designed to provide a haven for wildlife and assure biodiversity for the future. Local primary school pupils are involved too - growing acorns to produce oak saplings to plant in surrounding valleys.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to be involved wherever you are staying in the Peak District. You don't need to commit all of your holiday, just a day or two is fine. To find out more about these Peak District conservation days, visit the National Trust website.
You could also consider joining the team of volunteers who monitor the state of walls, paths etc. on Trust land if you are local.
National Trust Properties in and around the Peak District
Here in the Peak District, the National Trust manage a significant proportion of the region. The Trust also have a good number of properties within easy striking distance of the National Park ...
Winster Market House
Mr Straw’s House (Nottinghamshire)
The Workhouse (Nottinghamshire)
High Peak Estate
South Peak Estate
Marsden Moor Estate