Friday, 28 August 2009

Derbyshire



Derbyshire (pronounced /ˈdɑrbɪʃər/ ( listen) DAR-bi-shər or /ˈdɑrbɪʃɪər/ DAR-bi-sheer) is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire.





Thorpe Cloud Derbyshire

The northern part of Derbyshire overlaps with the Pennines, a famous chain of hills and mountains. The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. Derbyshire can make some claims to be at the centre of Britain: a farm near Coton in the Elms has been identified as the furthest from the sea, whilst Rodsley and Overseal were the centres of population during the twentieth century.


Irongate Derby

The city of Derby is now a unitary authority area, but remains part of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. The non-metropolitan county contains 30 towns with between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. There is a large amount of sparsely populated agricultural upland: 75% of the population live in 25% of the area.
Although Derbyshire is in the East Midlands, some parts, such as High Peak, are closer to the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield and these parts do receive services which are more affiliated with northern England; for example, the North West Ambulance Service, Granada Television and United Utilities serve the High Peak and some NHS Trusts within this region are governed by the Greater Manchester Health Authority. Outside the main city of Derby, the largest town in the county is Chesterfield.
History
The area that is now Derbyshire was first visited, probably briefly, by humans 200,000 years ago during the Aveley interglacial as evidenced by a Middle Paleolithic Acheulian hand axe found near Hopton. Further occupation came with the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age when Mesolithic hunter gatherers roamed the hilly tundra. The evidence of these nomadic tribes is centred around limestone caves located on the Nottinghamshire border. Deposits left in the caves date the occupancy at around 12,000 to 7,000 BCE.


The henge monument at Arbor Low



Burial mounds of Neolithic settlers are also situated throughout the county. These chambered tombs were designed for collective burial and are mostly located in the central Derbyshire region. There are tombs in Minning Low, and Five Wells, which date back to between 2000 and 2500 BCE.
Three miles west of Youlgreave lies the Neolithic henge monument of Arbor Low, which has been dated to 2500 BCE.
It is not until the Bronze Age that real signs of agriculture and settlement are found in the county. In the moors of the Peak District signs of clearance, arable fields and hut circles were discovered after archeological investigation. However this area and another settlement at Swarkestone are all that have been found.
During the Roman invasion the invaders were attracted to Derbyshire because of the lead ore in the limestone hills of the area. They settled throughout the county with forts built near Brough in the Hope Valley and near Glossop. Later they settled around Buxton, famed for its warm springs, and set up a fort near modern-day Derby in an area now known as Little Chester.
Several kings of Mercia are buried in the Repton area.
Following the Norman Conquest, much of the county was subject to the forest laws. To the northwest was the Forest of High Peak under the custodianship of William Peverel and his descendants. The rest of the county was bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers, a part of it becoming Duffield Frith. In time the whole area was given to the Duchy of Lancaster.


River Derwent at Hathersage


Meanwhile the Forest of East Derbyshire covered the whole county to the east of the River Derwent from the reign of Henry II to that of Edward I.
Economy


The rugged moorland edge of the southern Pennines at Kinder Downfall

Derbyshire is a mixture of a rural economy in the west, with a former coal mining economy in the northeast (Bolsover district), the Erewash Valley around Ilkeston and in the south around Swadlincote. The landscape varies from typical arable country in the flat lands to the south of Derby, to the hill farming of the high gritstone moorlands of the southern Pennines, which effectively begin to the north of the city. This topology and geology has had a fundamental effect on Derbyshire's development throughout its history. In addition it is rich in natural resources like lead, iron, coal, and limestone. The limestone outcrops in the central area led to the establishment of large quarries to supply the industries of the surrounding towns with lime for building and steel making, and latterly in the 20th century cement manufacture. The industrial revolution also increased demand for building stone and in the late 19th & early 20th century the railways arrival led to a large number of stone quarries to exploit the natural resources of the area. This industry has left its mark on the countryside but is still a major industry a lot of the stone is supplied as crushed stone for road building and concrete manufacture and is moved by rail. The Limestone areas of central Derbyshire were found to contain veins of lead ore and these were mined from roman times.



the Ruins of the Magpie Mine near Sheldon


Its remoteness in the late 18th century and an abundance of fast-flowing streams led to a proliferation of water power at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, following the mills pioneered by Richard Arkwright. For this reason, amongst others, Derbyshire has been said to be the home of the Industrial Revolution, and part of the Derwent Valley has been given World Heritage status.
Nationally famous companies in Derbyshire are Thorntons just south of Alfreton and JCB subsidiary JCB-Power Systems have an engine factory in South Derbyshire. Ashbourne Water used to be bottled in Buxton by Nestlé Waters UK until 2006 and Buxton Water still is. Other major employers in the county, especially around the Derby area, are Rolls-Royce plc, Egg Banking plc and Toyota.
Local attractions
The county of Derbyshire has many attractions for both tourists and local people. The county offers spectacular Peak District scenery such as Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, and other more metropolitan attractions such as Bakewell, Buxton, and Derby.


Bolsover Castle
Set high above the Vale of Scarsdale and with romantic picture-book looks

Local places of interest include Bolsover Castle, Castleton, Chatsworth House, Crich Tramway Museum, Peak Rail steam railway, Midland Railway steam railway, Cascades Gardens, Dovedale, Haddon Hall, Heights of Abraham and Matlock Bath.
In the north of the county, three large reservoirs, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower, were built during the early part of the 20th century to supply the rapidly growing populations of Sheffield, Derby and Leicester with drinking water. The land around these is now extensively used for leisure pursuits like walking and cycling, as the surrounding catchment area of moorland is protected from development, as part of the Peak District National Park.


Hardwicke Hall


There are many properties and lands in the care of the National Trust, located in Derbyshire that are open to the public, such as Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall, High Peak Estate, Ilam Park, Kedleston Hall, Longshaw Estate near Hathersage, and Sudbury Hall on the Staffordshire border.


Chatsworth House across the River Derwent, with the Hunting Tower visible above





County emblems

Flag of Derbyshire

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Jacob's Ladder as the county flower.
In September 2006, an unofficial county flag was introduced, largely on the initiative of BBC Radio Derby. The flag consists of a St. George cross encompassing a golden Tudor Rose, which is a historical symbol of the county. The blue field represents the many waters of the county, its rivers and reservoirs, while the cross is green to mark the great areas of countryside

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