Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire. The northern part of Derbyshire overlaps with the Pennines, a famous chain of hills and mountains. The county contains part of the National Forest.
Settled by humans 200,000 years ago during the Aveley interglacial. A Middle Paleolithic Acheulian hand axe was found near Hopton. Further occupation came with the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age when Mesolithic hunter gatherers roamed the hilly tundra. The evidence of these nomadic tribes is centred around limestone caves located on the Nottinghamshire border. Desposits left in the caves date the occupancy at around 12,000 to 7,000 BCE.
Burial mounds of Neolithic settlers are also situated throughout the county. These chambered tombs were designed for collective burial and are mostly located in the central Derbyshire region. There are tombs in Minning Low, and Five Wells, which date back to between 2000 and 2500 BCE Three miles west of Youlgreave lies the Neolithic henge monument of Arbor Low, this has been dated back to 2500 BC.
It is not until the Bronze Age that real signs of agriculture and settlement are found in the county. In the moors of the Peak District signs of clearance, arable fields and hut circles were discovered after archeological investigation. However this area and another settlement at Swarkestone are all that have been found.
During the Roman invasion the invaders were attracted to Derbyshire because of the lead ore in the limestone hills of the area. They settled throughout the county with forts built near Brough in Hope Valley and near Glossop. Later they settled around Buxton, famed for its warm springs, and set up a fort near modern day Derby in an area now known as Little Chester. Several kings of Mercia are buried in the Repton area.
Following the Norman Conquest, much of the county was subject to the forest laws. To the North West was the Forest of High Peak under the custodianship of William Peverel and his descendants. The rest of the county was bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers, a part of it becoming Duffield Frith. In time the whole area was given to the Duchy of Lancaster. Meanwhile the Forest of East Derbyshire covered the whole county to the east of the River Derwent from the reign of Henry II to that of Edward I.