Geology and Water


The geology of the South West Peak comprises strongly folded Millstone Grit with the dipping beds of gritstone creating defined rocky ridges and slopes such as the well-known ridge of the Roaches in Staffordshire. The great folds in the rocks have left exposed coal measures in some areas, notably in the Goyt Valley and basins such as Goldsitch Moss.


Much of the highest land in the South West Peak is covered by deposits of blanket peat, lending a smooth rounded appearance to the landscape. Elsewhere the soils are generally acidic and wet, hence the predominant agricultural land classifications of grade 4 and 5 (poor and very poor, respectively).


With rainfall of over 140cm a year, Axe Edge is one of the major watersheds of England. It is the source of five rivers ; the Dove, Manifold, Goyt, Dane and Wye. The rivers and their fast flowing tributaries have cut steep sided rocky cloughs (valleys) through the upland landscape which broaden into wide river valleys in the lowlands. Many of these streams and rivers supply reservoirs that in turn provide drinking water to Stockport, Leek, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield. So when you turn on the tap enjoy a pure, clean taste of the South West Peak!