From quaint little limestone cottages and ancient gritstone halls to red brick town houses; property in the Peak District appears in all shapes and sizes.
Due to an abundance of local stone, substantially built properties have long since been constructed which not only reflect the geology and topography of the Peak District but also the wealth and impact of employment and industry to the area.
To the far north of the Peak District it is possible to find isolated farmhouses dotted around the exposed moors built from locally quarried stone taken from the Dark Peak hills, whilst terraces of workers cottages nestle alongside mills and rivers throughout the National Park
The arrival of the railway resulted in a myriad of new properties being built throughout the Peak District, not just for railway workers, but also commuters who could now live in the countryside but work in the towns and cities. The Hope Valley is a classic example with a wealth of ornate and architecturally rich Victorian villas.
Limestone is particularly hard to dress and shape into blocks so that property in the Peak District built in this way was costly and took time to construct. Many of the traditional village houses in the White Peak area were erected by constructing a sandwich of outer walls filled with rubble, similar in nature to the mile upon mile of dry stone walls which criss-cross and divide the Peak District into a patchwork of enclosed pasture intersected by a network of roads, country lanes and old tracks.
Some property in the Peak District is made up of a combination of materials which shows quality of workmanship but also adds significant character to the finish and appearance. For example, gritstone being easier to cut and dress can often be found as lintels, quoins, mullions and mouldings but in-filled with limestone walls.
In the last century pre-fabricated materials were used in the construction of property in the Peak District using concrete and Davy blocks which were a pre-formed and cast mixture incorporating limestone chips. Now in the 21st century there are environmental issues and a challenge to use sustainable materials whilst not detracting from the intrinsic policies and appearance of the Peak District National Park.
Pits around Ashbourne to the south of the region were found to be rich in silica sand, used in the manufacture of red brick which is evident in the wonderful Georgian facades and buildings to be found not only around the town centre, but also in houses and cottages for miles thereabouts. Occasionally a splash of red brick can be observed in property and features further afield in the Peak District which thankfully adds charm and character and a little red brick warmth to the otherwise neutral shades of natural stone.
There are few timber constructed properties in the Peak District or thatch, stone having always been so readily available. It was also utilised as a widespread roofing material in the form of stone flagging, although slate and tile became increasingly popular over the last three hundred years or so.
From picture postcard prettiness to grand and opulent luxury, property in the Peak District demonstrates how wealth and prosperity spread through the area whether it was as a result of lead and copper mining, mill-owning, manufacturing or the spa era. Not to forget of course the stately homes and estates of the long term rich and aristocratic families that helped form and create the landscape and fabulous country residences in this picturesque part of England.