The Peak District National Park is no stranger to starring roles in major period drama productions - recent box-offices smashes Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess were both filmed at Chatsworth - and the UK's first National Park finds itself in the limelight yet again, after Sir Ridley Scott chose Dovedale, near Ashbourne, as one of the locations for this year's Robin Hood blockbuster.
And the Peak's connection to the heroic outlaw goes beyond Hollywood. The 35,000 acre park surrounding Chatsworth features ancient oaks of which some have survived from the days when the park was part of Sherwood Forest.
More well-known is the fact that Little John, Robin Hood's fellow outlaw and trusty sidekick, is reputed to be buried in Hathersage where his grave is still maintained today, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Although robbing from the rich cannot be advocated nor condoned, Robin Hood's high-octane outdoor adventures can be mirrored in the Peak District. Charging through woodland on horseback and firing arrows indiscriminately is not an option, but the Peak provides a wealth of outdoor and adventure activities for all the family and is an ideal place for a family summer holiday.
Archery is one of Britain's oldest target sports, almost as aged as Robin Hood himself. If you fancy yourself as a budding 'Prince of Thieves'-style marksman, there are a number of archery schools where you can hone your skills with the bow and arrow and live out those Hooded Man fantasies. Derwent Pursuits and Archery Events, to name but two, run classes and organised days out, for archers of all abilities.
The Park offers fantastic and near-endless walking opportunities. Suffice to say the walking world is your oyster here, with walks to suit all abilities - from gentle strolls to stiff, gruelling hikes. A Peak District walk is one of the best and purest ways to experience and enjoy this wonderful part of the world.
Some of the trails, such as Manifold, and High Peak, run along disused railway lines now functioning as cycling and walking routes. The region also offers the enthusiastic cyclist plenty of opportunity of touring via the quieter lanes. The Monsal Trail is one ride for all the family, running for just under nine miles between Monsal Head and Blackwell and following the old Midland Railway line.
In climbing's formative years, the Peak District was an important and significant area. It was easily accessible from the cities of Sheffield and Manchester and there was a huge variety of climbing, from bolted sports routes to some of the hardest traditional routes - and this still applies today. Peak District climbing provides both gritstone and limestone rocks to overcome, and over 10,000 routes - making it one of climbing's premier regions in the UK.
With such an abundance of activities on tap, and the range of quality Peak District accommodation to return to - to rest those aching limbs - this National Park is a national treasure to rank alongside Robin Hood, and it's an essential a place to visit as it is to cherish.
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