It’s National Parks Week! This week is all about celebrating the UK’s 15 national parks and all they have to offer. Throughout the week, each park will host free family events to encourage people to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the British countryside. As someone who loves nature and the great outdoors, I am determined to show you just how the county of Staffordshire matches up to these treasured national parks. That is why I have devised Local vs National, a series of blogs that will shine the spotlight on one local green space, either in Stoke-on-Trent or surrounding Staffordshire, alongside one national park, in the hope that I can encourage at least one more young person to pause the box set autoplaying on Netflix and discover some of the true wonders within our county and country alike.
Day 1: The Trentham Estate vs The Peak District
The Trentham Estate
About: Located just south of Stoke-on-Trent, the Trentham Estate and its fantastic gardens is one of the country’s top visitor destinations. Set within 725 acres, it showcases the last remnants of one of England’s great garden estates. It attracts around 3 million visitors a year due to its diverse activities and attractions on offer to people of all ages, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Where to visit: The great attractions on offer within the estate include the award-winning Trentham Gardens, the adjacent Trentham Shopping Village and Garden Centre, and the unique Trentham Monkey Forest. If you really want a challenge, it is also home to Aerial Extreme, an adventure course of high ropes and treetop obstacles.
What to do: There are also several community clubs and associations you can get involved in at this magnificent estate, including Trentham Coarse Fishing Club, Trentham Watersports Association and Trentham Bowling Club…and even take a Hot Air Balloon ride!
I have many fond memories of spending time in this estate, whether to take a stroll through its gorgeous gardens or to visit the Monkey Forest. If you’re a Staffs student and fancy a day out with a diverse range of activities to do and outdoors to explore, this place is ideal, and there is a direct bus route to it from around campus.
Peak District National Park
About: This is Britain’s first national park, found between the cities of Manchester and Sheffield. The landscape is a contrast between heather moorland and rock edges to the north, and limestone dales and rivers to the south. The land that is open to the public covers 200 square miles, with 34
miles of family-friendly trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The land itself reaches five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. More than 10 million people visit each year, making this one of the most popular national parks in the UK.
Where to visit: Found within the park is the world-renowned Chatsworth House, as well as listed stately homes Haddon Hall, Lyme Hall and Peveril Castle, all of which are excellent days out. There are also a variety of well-known towns and villages including Bakewell, Castleton and Buxton that are worth exploring.
Where to walk: A popular walking route in this national park is the trek to Kinder Scout which, at 636 metres above sea level, is the highest point within the Peak District. More than a third of the national park is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, where important plants, wildlife and geological formations are conserved. Most are privately-owned but often publicly-accessible, so look into the area of the park closest to you and find a trail to explore in this beautiful English countryside!
This is one of my favourite national parks, and is the closest to Stoke-on-Trent. There is so much to discover within this huge area of land, and I have highlighted only a few of the wonders it has to offer. So, take a look for yourself to see what interests you can pursue within the Peak District National Park!
Both the Peak District and the Trentham Estate are two wonderful places to visit, and I hope whether you want to celebrate National Parks Week or stay local, one of these places sparks your imagination!
Next: Westport Lake vs Snowdonia