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Bornean Bear Pigs and Animals

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Walks with no bears

Walking through Dovedale in the 21st century, one of the most iconic and popular areas of the Peak District National Park, it is difficult to imagine that it was once regarded by visitors such as Daniel Defoe, writing after a visit early in the 18th century, as a wild and frightening place. He referred to the Peak District as a ‘howling wilderness’, but then he used the same words to describe the Lake District, so one could suggest these are the merely the metaphors of a hack journalist attempting to earn a shilling with florid descriptions for his readers in London’s taverns.

Later in the 18th century people like the Reverend William Gilpin, born in mountainous Cumbria but living in bosky Hampshire, made a series of tours around Britain and began to change the perception of the wilder, unvisited places. He gave new meaning to the word ‘picturesque’ and taught us how to evaluate scenery, how to look at it, and how to choose the places worth visiting. Gilpin was followed by people like Byron, who wrote early in the 19th century: ‘Was you ever in Dovedale? I assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as in Greece or Switzerland’.

Nowadays up to two million visits each year are made to Dovedale and many take Peak District walks, although the majority of visitors are concentrated at the southern end of the dale. It is still possible to explore many parts of the dale, to appreciate its fine scenic and wildlife qualities, in relative peace and tranquillity. It enjoys a high level of protection from possible economic exploitation or development, for in addition to being part of the Peak District National Park it is designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Natura 2000 site under European legislation and nearly all of it is in the ownership of the National Trust.

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