Derbyshire has featured prominently in fiction. Perhaps most famously, in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice the country home of heartthrob Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pemberley, is situated in Derbyshire. Mr Darcy-better known as Colin Firth-is described as 'owning half of Derbyshire'. To this main character Elizabeth Bennett responds: 'The miserable half?'
Aside from its weather, Derbyshire is far from miserable. Situated at the top of the East Midlands, the county is graced by the southernmost parts of the Pennine hills. There is evidence, in the form of an axe handle, that the county was visited by humans up to 200,000 years ago-but probably not for long. Today the population of almost exactly 1 million is distributed throughout hundreds of small towns and rural communities, with the county's largest settlement, Chesterfield, playing home to only 70,000 people.