Peak District in the Snow

Patchwork Mountain Hare. A Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus) midway into moulting into its brown summer coat. Derbyshire, Peak District National Park.

Published: 19th February 2015 at 5:10 pm. Posted in Blog.

As a nature photographer I endeavour to photograph my environment under a wide variety of weather conditions. Disappointingly though I have not managed many of snowy conditions. Last year we had none whatsoever, and the year before, even though there was plenty of snow, I was still getting to know the best locations to visit and so didn’t get very many images. So when this year came around I was really hoping for plenty of snow so I could show the beautiful wintry side of the Peak District and the wildlife that calls it home.


This image of Ladybower Reservoir overflow “the plughole” was taken just after the first helping of snow. You can see a snowy Bamford edge illuminated behind by the afternoon sun.


The Peter’s Stone when the second lot of snow melted enough to allow me to drive out. I love the balance between the snow around the stone and the melted area on the near side.

After shooting some landscapes I decided to concentrate on the wildlife of the Peak District. I had initially hoped to include some of the deer in the snow but unfortunately whenever I tried to drive out, I had to turn back due to icy roads or snow covered parking (my car is terrible in anything more than slush).

I did however manage to get some of some of the other wildlife and livestock that inhabit the snowy moorlands:


Mountain Hare Lepus Timidus sheltering in its snowy form.


Mountain Hare in the snow.

These images were a big achievement for me as I have been trying to photograph these charismatic animals for some time in the Peaks, but until now a good shot has eluded me. I was actually creeping up on some Grouse when I happened to look over to my left to see this well camouflaged hare crouching low in its snowy form! The Peak District is actually the only place in the UK they’re found outside of the Scottish Highlands, so I feel extremely fortunate to be able to photograph these beautiful animals so close to home!

I tried photographing Grouse in the Peak district several times in the snow, unfortunately this is easier said than done as they are forming pairs for the upcoming breeding season so they are extremely territorial and easily spooked. I also found it extremely challenging to be inconspicuous whilst trying to creep up on them through several feet deep snow drifts as I am 6’4″ and not exactly light!


Male Red Grouse in the snow.

I usually aim to capture up close and detailed portraits so that the viewer gets an intimate feeling with the subject. However on this occasion I really liked the vast snowy expanse around the grouse, so chose to frame it with plenty of surrounding space.



Male Grouse feeding on the heather shoots poking out of the snow.

Winter can be hard time for all of the wildlife that inhabit the moors, and food can be scarce even for our hardy Peak District Sheep.


Sheep digging in the snow to uncover the grass underneath.


Two sheep in the snow.


Frozen river in the Peak District.


Intricate ice patterns in a frozen river.

I’ve had a great winter so far, with all the conditions I could have hoped for and more. Now the snow’s melted and days are getting longer spring is on its way.

Thanks for looking, feel free to share.