The Peak District was given the Royal seal of approval on Friday during a special visit from Prince Charles, who described it as “a magical part of the world.”
The future king was in the county to present awards to long-serving Peak Park volunteers at a special celebration at Haddon Hall, following tours at Bombardier Transportation and Rolls Royce in Derby.
In a speech at the reception, he said: “It’s such a magical part of the world and I can’t tell you how much I love any opportunity to come here.
“What I don’t think so many people realise is that it doesn’t just happen by accident. It is so much the result of an equation between man and nature.”
One of the longest-serving volunteer rangers in the country, Ian Milne, 71, was honoured with a plaque by the Prince for 50 years voluntary service with the Peak District National Park Authority.
Ian, of Stockport, said: “It was wonderful to receive it from him. I had no idea I was going to get it.
“We were talking about all sorts. I mentioned how lots of people get lost on top of Kinder Scout and how we get young ladies walking up there in high heeled shoes and we find the odd shoe. He was laughing about that.”
During his first official visit to Haddon Hall since 1979, Prince Charles – who arrived by helicopter – was taken on a tour of the house and met with staff involved in the building’s restoration.
Haddon joiner, Peter Dobin, 30, from South Wingfield talked with the prince about how he helped recreate a 19th-century bench based on an old photograph found at the hall.
He said: “It’s really good that he came round to see it.
“We mostly talked about the processes we went through in making it. He seemed very knowledgeable and down-to-earth.”
Speaking after the reception, the chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, Jim Dixon, said: “It has been lovely to celebrate the people who come out in their own time and serve the national park, and have a real passion for what they do.”
Following his two-hour visit to the Hall, a spokesperson for Clarence House said Prince Charles was due to visit Chatsworth House before leaving the county.
For more pictures see this week’s Matlock Mercury