MUSEUMS AND HERITAGE - HISTORY OF THE PEAK DISTRICT & DERBYSHIRE
Prehistoric cave paintings, ancient druidic stone circles, hilltop forts and the legacy of Roman and Norman invasions are all part of the history of Derbyshire. Centuries of farming, mining and quarrying, great monuments of the industrial revolution - fascinating, unique markers in history for us to explore and uncover today.
Check out this short video about one of Derbyshire's hidden treasures, Heage Windmill near Ripley. Open to the public during weekends and bank holidays from April until the end of October.
Visit a working Windmill
The history of the Peak District & Derbyshire unfurls through our many museums. Come and discover the museums and heritage of the area by using the search facility on the right or use the "SEE & DO" tab and select from the drop down menu.
Peak District rocks and minerals, such as limestone, fluorspar, Blue John and lead, have been used for thousands of years. Today, quarrying and mineral-workings leave holes in the landscape but remain an important part of the local economy. The industry has a long history - lead mining was first carried out by the Romans and reached its peak in the 18th century when the industry employed more than 10,000 miners.
The remains of this intensive lead mining activity can still be seen today in the form of distinctive humps and hollows, as well as numerous old pump houses and kilns throughout the Peak District, such as Magpie Mine near Sheldon, now a scheduled monument. Visit the Peak District Mining Museum at Matlock Bath where you can experience first hand the forgotten world of the Derbyshire lead miners.
Also evident are the many unfinished or broken millstones along the area's gritstone edges - carved in situ out of the local gritstone and originally destined for the nearby mills of Sheffield, the stones were discarded or abandoned when they were no longer required by industry.
Further back in time, the stone circles at Arbor Low, Hartshill, Nine Ladies, Gardom's Edge, near Baslow and the many cairns, tumuli and burial mounds are evidence of man's long presence in the region, while in the caves that honeycomb the limestone gorge at Creswell Crags, ice age people documented their lives with rock paintings and engravings around 13,000 years ago!
Travel thousands of years forward in time and visit Peveril Castle, positioned high above the pretty village of Castleton and built by one of William the Conqueror's knights, or Bolsover Castle, built in 1612 by Sir Charles Cavendish and completed by his son William.
Come and discover Peak District history by visiting museums and heritage sites. The history of the Peak District is wide and varied and there's sure to be something to interest the whole family!