Finding Things to See in the Midlands
A look at the way in which things have gone over the last few decades would lead one to suspect that there is a certain British disrespect for counties as local authority areas. Taking that further, fingers could be pointed at various U.K. governments when it comes to expressing this kind of disdain for local government. With all their chopping and changing, it's amazing that English counties have such a profile when it comes to the provision of visitor information, more so than at English national level as it happens. In a way, it might be said that the association of local folk with a certain traditional county area far surpasses the ebbs and flows of political organisation.
In spite of all this jostling, England's counties and regions are the places to look when planning an outing and there's so much available that covering it all here would for a very large collection. Clearly, localism is very much alive and well with communities displaying a certain pride in their local patch. So, rather than attempting to get it all included like local news sources, I have opted instead for a more select approach: starting with those areas that I have visited myself and including over time those areas that I have investigated from afar.
With all that has kept me busy around the north of England, counties making up the English midlands haven't seen me as often. Of these, Derbyshire has seen the most of me though it is in an unusual position as far as I am concerned in that it feels northern yet is associated with the East Midlands region of England. Things are more clear cut with Staffordshire and Shropshire and they have attracted my footfall from time to time too. Of course, they should see more of me than they do but time may fix that. In the meantime, you can enjoy whatever it is that attracts you.
Finding Things to See Around Derbyshire
The National Park extends into Yorkshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire but Derbyshire is the main focus. Well, it does host most of the area protected by the National Park. Nevertheless, I see that the Staffordshire Moorlands tag on here if the mention of the council at the bottom is any reflection of the truth. It is small wonder that Cheshire is making a fuss over having a piece of the Peak District too.
Moving away from the matter of geography, the website presses all the right buttons when it comes to planning a visit from afar. It makes me wonder how different things might be for me if it wasn't on my doorstep here in Macclesfield. As things stand, I am but one of the hoards of day trippers that pour into the place from time to time. Would my staying over do more for the local economy?
Having mentioned the National Park already, here's the website for its main custodian. It's not hard to detect its role in conservation and education and I do hope that it lives up to its aims with all of the pressures continually upon the area.
These three are bundled together for the reason that they are part of the same visitor information website network. Among them is a city that seems to get overlooked: Derby. Then again, that's not hard to fathom with the countryside that lies to its north.
Here are three interesting towns lying only just outside of the national park. Buxton is a former spa town with the architecture and landscaping to match. While I have frequented Buxton many times, Chesterfield is a place that I have only passed through on an indirect journey home but the website does the place justice; a proper visit might be in order. Ashbourne too has seen summary visits from myself, first on a spot of walking reconnaissance and then at the end of a long walk along the Hight Peak and Tissington trails. Like Chesterfield, I reckon that another visit is needed.
Tideswell is famous for its church, which has earned the name "the Cathedral of the Peak" on account of its grand architecture. Surrounding it is a pretty village as well as some equally attractive countryside. Because this website is maintained by local accommodation providers so a listing of places to stay should come as no surprise but there's history and suggestions regarding things to do around the place.
This is the home of the National Tramway Museum and there seems to be an air of a heritage park to the place too as well as a woodland area. All in all, there looks to be a lot to see and it does sound varied.
It seems to be me that the Amber Valley lies between the southern reaches of the Peak District National Park and the city of Derby. While it takes its name from the river Amber, the Derwent also passes through the area. There's a World Heritage Site in the form of the Derwent Valley Mills to go with other heritage attractions (such as the Crich Tramway Village above) and any pleasing countryside that is there to be savoured.
Both of these websites appear to be maintained by the same people so I have gone and grouped them together. As it happens, these were places that I frequented a few times, especially near the start of my explorations of the English countryside on foot. Now that I think of it, maybe it's high time that I revisited their respective charms. For that, these websites may have a role.
Finding Things to See Around Gloucestershire
There seems to be quite an amount of wildlife in this part of Gloucestershire with even wild boar living in these broadleaved woodlands. Though these creatures need some care should you encounter one or more of them, there seems to be a generous range of outdoor activities on offer all the same. Included among these are walking and cycling, two to which I have been known to be amenable.
Finding Things to See Around Shropshire
There websites are probably as good as any to start when looking to learn about the attractions of Shropshire. The first one is belonged to the local tourist board and it admits that this is one of England's quieter counties but I am far from considering that a bad thing. In one respect, that sounds surprising; after all, it is not that far from Birmingham but I have never found the place overrun on my all too explorations of the area. For those who fancy peace and quiet, that easily has its attractions.
Shropshire does not have high hills but their steep sides make them look impressive to anyone passing along the railway line between Shrewsbury and Cardiff. It should be no surprise that shapely attractive hillsides attract walkers and that's why folk from Birmingham do come out to these parts. Nevertheless, you can find plenty of quiet spaces around there for anyone wanting to escape from the hurly burly of modern life for a while.
Shropshire's county town mightn't come up too high on anyone's list of desirable destinations but it deserves better than that. There's a good collection of architecture that possesses a solid feeling of antiquity. Not only that but there are associations with Charles Darwin too with a statue of the great biologist next to the town's library. The place needs more than the short spans of attention that it has received from me until now.
Coalbrookdale is the first place in the world where a cast iron bridge was built and it hints at an industrial past on the banks of the Severn.There are plenty of museums in the area these days to attract the visitor and these websites try to tell you about the delights that await in this part of the world.
Finding Things to See Around Staffordshire
It has been its hosting of part of the Peak District National Park that has drawn me into the part of the county that surrounds Leek, Rushton Spencer and Biddulph, known as the Staffordshire Moorlands. Some of those incursions have been muddy too but there's more to the county than that so highlighting much of what is on offer is what this website sets out to do. It does so in an inviting way too so I must spend more time on it myself. After all, Staffordshire is adjoining Cheshire, where I live, and is not that far away from me.
It may be upstaged by Stoke-on-Trent but this still is the county town of Staffordshire. Naturally, the good people who live in the town and its surrounding area want to attract visitors and that is what this website sets out to do. Not only does the town retain parts of its heritage but there's Cannock Chase nearby too for those seeking a bit of outdoors recreation.
Finding Things to See Around Warwickshire
My encounters with Warwickshire have been limited so far to a showery Easter Sunday spent around Stratford-upon-Avon, a job interview in Coventry and various journeys by train to and from Oxford. From what is highlighted this website, it might be an idea to expand on those with more rural incursions.
It isn't easy to go poking around Warwickshire without encountering the legacy of a certain William Shakespeare from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After all, this what took me to Stratford-upon-Avon in 2001 and from what is to be seen at the properties owned by this charity, it may be time to return for another look.