Rural Peak District

The Peak District has many characters and moods and they change throughout the seasons. I’ve been trying to capture some of the Rural Peak District throughout the summer months, to showcase the greens of the landscape and the farm life. I admit, it was a tough challenge for myself, pushing me at times completely outside of my comfort zone. I think it is probably fair to say I am more of a high up on the hillside photographer who doesn’t mind a little walk to get the shot.

So, I think I’ll start off with my favourite photograph from the series. This is from near Tansley Dale, just outside of Litton. Litton has one of the highest concentrations of parallel drystone walled fields in the Peak District. Look at any OS map and you will be presented with a patchwork of fields surrounding the little village. I had done some work on the area a few nights before at sunset, but returned for what I admit was a chance shot. I had been at Water Cum Jolly trying to cover that location off for my book and was heading for some food in Litton. I drove by this spot I hadn’t seen on the previous visit and was intrigued by the view down to Tansley Dale as well as the freshly mowed grass. I pulled over and set up this quirky composition. Previously I had worked mainly with the telephoto concentrating on the lines and light but the wall stretching out in front of me along with the shape of the mowed grass really appealed. I loved the big cumulus cloud building in the sky and the soft light even though it wasn’t golden hour. I just like how overall the image is perhaps not what you would expect from me, the area and it is probably quite unique in that fact.

Rural Peak District

Litton Fields - Rural Peak District Photography

Litton Fields – Rural Peak District Photography

The next shot is of Winster Barn. Since moving to Matlock last September, a regular route in the White Peak for me was to go via Winster. This derelict barn at the side of the road caught my eye every single time I passed by. I had intended to capture it in autumn with the trees beyond a vivid orange but the weather didn’t play ball. Instead I re-visited in May when the Mayflower and Buttercups were out. Again, it wasn’t a one attempt afair and took two visits to capture. The second attempt the Mayflower had already started to die off despite only being a week later but I wasn’t going to turn it down. It was a fun affair, even though the barn is next to a public footpath the cows that roam the field clearly aren’t used to human intervention. On both visits, the cows got very nosey and started to run towards us leaving us to make a quick retreat. On this second visit after my girlfriend had got her shot, she kindly summoned them to the next field for me while I grabbed my shot. She did manage to keep their attention, but it doesn’t make for a comfortable shooting experience knowing if you have to retreat the only escape route is over the barbed wire as they would block the footpath off!

Winster Barn - Rural Peak District Photography

Winster Barn – Rural Peak District Photography

Next, we move onto Hartington. The first shot is not my own idea, it was suggested by my publisher so I can’t take all the credit. Again, this was a second visit photo (notice a pattern here? British weather!). It had started off sunny but the clouds had started to build, I literally felt 10 minutes too late when I got on location. I wasn’t leaving without a shot though, while the wind didn’t feel strong I could see the clouds were moving. I waited around 40 minutes and finally caught a break creating some great light across the scene. The skies may look blue here, but I assure you the cloud was all built up out of shot:

Hartington Barn - Rural Peak District Photography

Hartington Barn – Rural Peak District Photography

Once I had grabbed the shot, I decided to continue my walk along the Dove Valley and make the most of it. The sunset didn’t happen, needless to say but I managed to grab a shot of Staden Barns along the route:

Staden Barns - Rural Peak District Photography

Staden Barns – Rural Peak District Photography

The last shot of this little series is taken from near the village of Foolow in Silly Dale. Yes you read that right. I had been to Tideswell to capture the cathedral and moved over to here after spotting a contact on Flickr had been here a couple of weeks before and I thought it may have some potential in the right light. It didn’t quite get there, probably more of a sunrise location in fairness but the obvious composition was too strong to ignore:

Silly Dale - Rural Peak District Photography

Silly Dale – Rural Peak District Photography

I hope you enjoyed viewing them and my take on the Rural Peak District. As I said, not my usual style but hopefully I have done it justice. Back to the normal photos soon I hope!

For some walks in the White Peak to walk among this rural kind of scenery I would suggest heading here

By |2016-11-02T23:14:29+00:00September 25th, 2014|Peak District, Peak District Photography|2 Comments


  1. Andy Keeble September 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Another interesting blog post mate, the accompanying pictures are excellent.

    I love to see the dry stone walls, they make such interesting patterns. Some that I have seen high up in Northumberland/Cumbria really are at staggering altitudes. I also saw some way up in the Munro’s, at such altitude as to make me wonder how on earth the builders obtained the materials to build them.

    Thinking out of the box slightly, I wonder if anyone has actually done a project on the walls, the materials and those that build them? hmm I could actually be tempted thinking about it!

    Anyway, that’s more than enough jabbering from me lol. Take care mate and let me know when you have a solid date for the publication of your book. Have you seen that the Landscape Photographer Of The Year volume 8 is now on pre-order for a November release? Amazon are offering a £5 discount for those that do pre-order (yay!!)


    • James Grant September 26, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Thanks as always Andy.

      I agree with you, some puzzle me beyond belief. Especially the ones that seemingly stop half way down the hill, I can think back to one particularly on High Street in the Lakes. Its always amazing to think that not one bit of cement is used to hold them together too.

      I’ve seen TV programs on the walls, I know in the Peak District you have to build using drystone walls to keep the look of the landscape. A very talented skill indeed, perhaps you could learn?

      Cheers for the heads up on that, I might get it but I’m not sure. I spend enough on the entries! 🙂

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