Bakewell in Derbyshire is a historic town with origins going back to Saxon and Norman times. Set on hills rising up from the Wye Valley, it has an interesting variety of older buildings, mainly built in stone from the sixteenth century onwards, as well as a good range of small shops and restaurants set in lanes and courtyards to welcome visitors. As the focal point for an agricultural area, Bakewell has a weekly market with stalls and livestock and a very popular annual show. Before reaching Bakewell, the Wye passes limestone dales with attractive scenery, historic sites, nature reserves and a wide range of possibilities for outdoor activities from fishing to climbing. The Monsal Trail runs along the valley, giving good conditions for walking and cycling along a former railway track. Historic Haddon Hall and the villages of Ashford and Rowsley add further interest to the area, most of which is in the Peak District National Park.
Alan Roberts came to the Peak District to work as a research scientist at what was then the Safety in Mines Research Establishment. At his retirement, he was Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Laboratory, as the expanded laboratory had now become. Alan's interests in walking in the Peak District generally, coupled with his interests in research, led him to write three books on landscape history in the Buxton area.