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Reflections on Living in the Peak District and the Definition of ‘Home’

2021 marked the 70th Anniversary of the designation of the Peak District as Britain’s first ever National Park. There are now 15 of them up and down the length of this land, the most recent being The South Downs, designated in 2010. I feel privileged to have enjoyed living in both the oldest and the youngest one, at the appropriate ends of my life: I grew up on the South Downs, I am growing old in the Peak District. Isn’t there a certain serendipitous circularity to that? So from the softly rounded chalk hills of the South Downs, forming a splendid 87-mile band from Winchester to Beachy Head and separating rolling green-gold pastures from the grey-green waters of the English Channel, I moved north in mid-life to the harsher, darker crags of the Peak District: from the soft, salty air of the south wafting hints and lures of the continent, to the biting winds of the north swirling menacingly around our chimney stacks bringing rains and snow on their angry breath, mine has been an English

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