Over 360 million years ago the Peak District lay under a shallow subterranean sea as coral reef. The limestone was formed by the millions of sea creatures, plants and shells of this early existence. Take a look at some of the milestone moments that have shaped the landscape we see today.
Winster Market House
This was the first property to be acquired by us in the Peak District. It is in the village of Winster, part way between the White and Dark Peak and now contains lots of information about our work and the Peak District.
It's open every day between April - October. Please call 01335 350 503 to make sure if you're planning to visit.
In October 1934 Ilam Hall was donated to us by Sir Robert McDougall. Since then, the main hall has been leased to the Youth Hostel Association and become a popular youth hostel for families and school groups. The hall was partly demolished in the 1930s and you'll spot remnants of the hall in the Italian Garden and surrounding gardens.
The surrounding parkland is maintained by our staff and volunteers and open to visitors year round. As you walk around the park, look out for ridge and furrow, the saxon cross on Paradise Walk, Bertram's well and the Boil Holes.
Ecton Engine House
In 2008 the National Trust acquired Ecton Hill in the Manifold Valley. The stone buildings on Ecton Hill relate to the former copper mine within the limestone hill, once owned by the Duke of Devonshire. The hill is also an important habitat for insects and you'll spot wildflowers including orchids and mountain pansy in early summer months.
Each summer a team of friendly volunteers lead fully guided tours inside the mine and into the engine house on top of the hill.
The limestone valley is full of rock pinnacles and caves high above the River Dove. A precious hoard of Roman and Late Iron Age coins were discovered in 2014 in a cave where they had lain undisturbed for more than 2,000 years. The coins are now on public display at Buxton Museum.
In 1653, Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton wrote 'The Compleat Angler', making the River Dove famous for fishing.
The stepping stones were first laid across the River Dove circa 1890, as the area became more and more popular with Victorian tourists.
In 1934, the stones were acquired by us and in 2006, Dovedale was declared a National Nature Reserve in order to protect its future. People visit from miles around to cross the River Dove via these stepping stones and there are many great walks up the valley.
Dovedale has been sketched, painted and photographed by many, and there are interesting views through the seasons to capture.
Enjoy the historical landscape and...
spot fossils in the stone steps in Dovedale valley
cycle the route of the former railway track in the Manifold valley
spot the old chimney pots in the Italian Garden at Ilam Park
join us on a guided tour down into Ecton Copper Mine
look inside Winster Market House
see the 'money trees' beside the path in Dovedale
see Viator’s Bridge at Milldale - an ancient packhorse bridge