During the 18th century, the development of the turnpike road system across England greatly improved travelling conditions. Areas such as the Peak District, Lake District and North Wales saw visits by artists and authors in search of the picturesque and romantic elements of those scenic areas. Their paintings, prints and guide books, in turn, led to increasing numbers of visitors in search of those scenic features.
The talk will cover a range of contributions from that period illustrating and describing the landscape of the area around Buxton at that time and walks to enjoy them. Descriptions of Castleton and the valleys of the rivers Wye, Dove and Manifold will be included. In addition, it will describe several changes to the landscape through tree planting as major local landowners sought to enhance the beauty of some of the local areas.
The talk will finish with a poem written just after the turnpike road was built along Ashwood Dale in 1810, past a local beauty spot – Lover’s Leap. It rages against the damage done to Lover’s Leap by the road building and the loss of tranquillity due to the passing traffic – a theme still familiar to us today!