Friday, 11 November 2011

The Longshaw Trail was our Choice Today...

Here's a poem written by visitor Sarah Harmer who completed our Longshaw Geocache Trail. Come to the Longshaw shop to borrow our two GPS devices and have a go for yourself! Locations for all of our Peak District Geocaches can be found here:

The Longshaw trail was our choice today
Five series' caches and one more along the way.
With georellies we set out just before ten
By 2.00 we'd be back at the Lodge again! (for our free cuppa!)

The walk was fantastic over different types of terrain
And although it was cloudy it did not rain.
All five caches were easy to find
We examined the contents and each log we signed!

There was heather, bilberries and bracken too
There were trees of all species to frame each view.
We saw several cows and lots of sheep
Most were eating but some were asleep!

This is a wonderful circuit of less than five miles
We crossed bridges, forded streams and climbed several stiles.
For the series a favourite point we definitely award
And for us, four hours of fun was our reward!

From the lodge it wasn't far to cache number one
We looked for the TB but sadly it was gone.
We found the ice house, an interesting site
And set off for cache 2 on the route that was right!

From cache number one it was about a half mile hike
Along the sort of terrain we really like. (i.e. easy!)
Having located the cache, we enjoyed the view
And learning about the location was interesting too!
It wasn't hard to find cache number three
We punched our log for that free cup of tea.
We learned about the quarry and the millstone grit
And mile-a-minute and Commander H agreed this walk was a hit!

It didn't take long to locate this cache
But with gnats all around we had to dash.
There was just time to measure the tree (before we got bitten to death!)
And with cachers before us, an age of 56 years, we agree!
On the route from cache four we spied THAT van
And the most junior team member to this he ran. (he's forty something...!)
But as he was first he had to pay for us all
And we licked our ice-creams as we leaned on the wall!

This final cache was too easy to find
As it was very exposed so we hope you don't mind,
We've hidden it better but in the same place
So others will still find it easy to trace!

For the views of Carl Wark and Higger Tor
For such a wonderful walk we are awarding you once more.
A favourite point, and we just have to say
We will be back to enjoy the walk again on another day!

By Sarah Harmer
Visitor to Longshaw Geocache Trail on 30/08/2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Software Company does some Hard Graft

On Tuesday 18th October, 14 staff members from Tessella Technology and Consulting met our Estate Team at Bowden Bridge in Hayfield for a day of volunteering. 

With changeable weather and a biting wind, the group readied themselves for a day of gully blocking on top of Kinder with an air of anticipation, enthusiasm and only slight concerns about the blackening skies. 

After a quick and bumpy ride in the Land Rovers to the bottom of Kinder Low, the group began to ascend the steps to eventually reach the shelter of the rocks on the plateau. 

Whilst admiring the incredible views across to the Kinder Downfall, the spray of which was blowing upwards to look like smoke, Steve Lindop, the Estate Team Supervisor, told the group about the techniques that the National Trust had employed over the years to lay the paths that they had been walking on.  Steve also gave the men a fascinating overview of the history and archaeology of the mountain; however it was during this talk that the threatening weather front finally hit the group and brought with it a mixture of hail and sleet.    

Sheltering in their hoods (and, in one case, an umbrella!), the group walked on, battling the winds and ice, to eventually see Kinder’s trig point appear out of the gloom.  It was at this moment that they finally spotted the work site in the distance.

Heading towards the bright white bags of stone, the group members were advised to walk with caution since they had left the safety of the path and were now on open moorland. 

Negotiating a route through the squelchy peat, the men wove their way through the complex network of gullies to eventually arrive at the site near Noe Stool.     

Without hesitation, they donned their work gloves and, after a quick demonstration, began to unload the half ton bags of stone into the gullies.  The purpose of gully blocking is to slow the run-off of water down the mountain, which in turn reduces the amount of peat that ends up in the reservoir below. 

As the men worked they witnessed their efforts beginning to pay off with water pooling quickly behind their stone dams.  An unexpected upshot of getting a group of software engineers to do this task was that their professional eye for detail resulted in some of the neatest blockades on the mountain!   

Ninety minutes later, with 40 bags unloaded, the weather had worsened and yearnings for a pub lunch were growing stronger, so the decision was taken to head down the mountain, past Swinesback and Edale Cross and into the comfort of the Land Rovers.

Needless to say, we would like to thank Tessella for all their help that day and for braving the atrocious weather to make a real difference to the National Trust’s work on Kinder.

By Cathryn Hamer, Volunteer Programmes Manager

Friday, 28 October 2011

Christmas at Ilam

Get festive in the Peak District at Ilam Park’s new Christmas Festival!

Christmas at Ilam will be full of festive magic and visitors from near and far are invited to experience the winter wonderland of Ilam Park in the Peak District, on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December, from 11am – 4.30pm.   

On the second weekend in December, the courtyard and the Tea Rooms at Ilam will be transformed into a magical Christmas Market, with beautiful, sustainably sourced Christmas Trees and some local hand made crafts for sale, as well as musical entertainment provided by Ilam School and other local musicians.  There will be children’s games and Christmas craft activities to take part in, with festive face-painting, the chance to make Christmas decorations, and a warming cup of free mulled wine (for grown ups) in the Tea Rooms!  Stall holders in the stable yard will include: Taste of the Moorlands, On a Wick & Prayer, Yumma Gumma Pickles, Woodland Crafts, Holly Wreaths, Hand Painted Cards & Pictures and many more.

Part of the National Trust’s Peak District Estate, Ilam Park is nestled next to the Manifold Valley, and offers stunning walks amongst majestic woods and open parkland.  Visitors are invited to enjoy the peace and beauty of the area, and to celebrate the festive season with National Trust staff and volunteers at this new event. 

Engagement and Events Officer, Jenny Gerrans says: “The atmosphere at Ilam Park will be one of festive enjoyment for all the family.  Ilam is a beautiful place to share time with family and friends, enjoy some fresh air and try some of our delicious home made food.  It’s the first time we’ll be holding our annual Christmas Market, so with all the plotting and planning, we’re really looking forward to creating something very special for everyone.  I can’t think of a more magical place to buy a Christmas tree!” 

Christmas at Ilam runs on Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December, from 11am – 4.30pm.  The event is free, and is part of an annual programme of events with the National Trust in the Peak District.  For more information please visit

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Christmas in the Peak District

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop
Ilam: Sat 19 November 10:30 - 15:30
Longshaw: Sat 26 November 10:30 - 15:30
Make a beautiful Christmas Wreath with our expert at the Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw. Equipment provided.

Christmas Tree Sales - Longshaw
Sat 26 November - Wed 21 December from 10am-4pm
Buy a Christmas tree from us and support our conservation work at Longshaw.
Call 01433 631757 for details

Christmas Crafts at Longshaw
Sat 3, Sun 4, Sat 10, & Sun 11 December, 10.30am - 4pm
Make fun and simple decorations at the Moorland
Centre. Enjoy festive music and meals in the tea room.

Christmas Festival at Ilam
10 & 11 December
11am to 4:30pm
Enjoy a family day out with tree sales, market stalls,
 craft making, singing, music and entertainment at Ilam Park.

For a list of all of our events in the Peak District please go to

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Iconic Kinder plateau
Dark glowering peaks of granite stone
Frown down on the melancholy land.
The mist blows in from distant shores
And sits forlornly on the giants shoulders.

The mountain plays hide and seek from swirling clouds
Hiding its macabre beauty, in a sombre cloak.
How different from the balmy summer days
When the sun basks the plateau in golden light,
Catching the purple glow of heather in all it’s magisterially splendour

A mountain where trampling boots made history
Where freedom to roam was won up on high
The mass trespass sweeping aside, decades of pious rule.
A treasure now for posterity, to keep and cherish
A burden upon the mantle of the National Trust.

As the clouds unfurl, it reveals a teardrop on the cheek of Kinder
Mermaids pool, a tear lamenting the waning of former glories
Kinder a fast decaying wasteland, a mocking travesty of once proud bog moorland
But now only endless hags of peat, and dark unforgiving groughs.
The bane of walkers, hands clutching to their lifeline ‘the compass’.

And yet here, still, where the white hare coarses
Where swoops and glides the curlew and the plover
Where creeps the spongy sphagnum
The bubbling stream that is Kinder river, which cascades over the downfall
Only to be thrown back on high by unseen giant hands, the upside down waterfall.

Here amongst the tormented rock, twisted into evocative shapes.
The hardy strength of bilberry, and crowberry, which clings tenaciously to life
Here where tranquillity, is found in the isolation and solitude
The majestic beauty of a mountain that can still define
The inspiration and aspirations of all who visit

‘Kinder’ the heart and soul of our Peak District

Steve "Blade" Lindop
Estate Team Supervisor

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

National Trust Walking Festival

Walk with us and discover the great outdoors in the Peak District with the following events or with one of our downloadable walks from the website:

Twilight Walks at Longshaw, Ilam Park and Edale

24, 25 & 26 October 2011
Take a stroll into dusk with one of our wardens, and find out about
some of the wildlife of these special places, after a bowl of seasonal
soup at the visitor centre/ tea room. 5 - 7.30pm.
£8 adult, £5 child. Booking essential.

Health Walk in Edale

27 October 2011
Join us for a Health Walk in Edale, as part of our programme of
Health Walks in the Peak District. 1.30 - 4pm, Free. Booking not

Drop in Walk at Ilam Park

28 October 2011
Join us for a stroll around Ilam park, on one of our regular drop-in
walks. Meet at 11am at Ilam Park shop. Free. Drop in.
Call 01433 670368 for bookings and information.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Marsh Heritage Award

Question: What does Longshaw’s Kitchen Garden have in common with a stately home in Northumberland, a restored Victorian glasshouse in Norfolk and a cider-making project in Dorset?
Answer: A dedicated team of volunteers whose commitment has won them a national award!

Every year the Marsh Christian Trust and the National Trust present The Marsh Heritage Award for volunteer groups that have added value, made a difference and inspired others. The Awards are the brainchild of Brian Marsh OBE, chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, who set up the charity in 1981 in order to recognize the “unsung heroes” working in conservation, science, the arts, heritage, literature and volunteering. For more information visit

Longshaw Kitchen Garden Volunteers Dave Bone, Jill Beckett and Diane Gourley
are presented with a certificate and cheque for £250 by Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman
of the Marsh Christian Trust.

Last December teams of volunteers across the country applied for the Marsh Heritage Award and a panel of judges then sifted through the applications to whittle them down to 3 winners. This year, however, there are 4, as Longshaw Kitchen Garden achieved joint 3rd place with Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, winning £250 to spend on the project.

The award ceremony took place on 21st July at Corfe Castle on the Purbeck Estate in Dorset, near to where the winning team of cider makers, The Old Volunteers, are based. It was a beautiful setting for the event, which was held in a marquee at the foot of the Castle. Representatives from each team of volunteers gave a short presentation to Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust, Sue Wilkinson, Director of Supporter Development, National Trust and other staff and volunteers from the winning properties. Volunteers Diane Gourley and Dave Bone joined me in an overview of the last 18 months in Longshaw’s Kitchen Garden, demonstrating how, with a lot of hard work and dedication, a neglected lawn could become an incredibly productive organic garden.

As proof of the pudding is in the eating, we’d taken along some goodies from the garden, including a selection of salad leaves and vegetables, together with blackcurrants and strawberries which went very well with the mini clotted cream scones provided by the catering team at Corfe. The Purbeck Team gave us a demo of their apple press and we sampled the resulting juice, which was delicious. We were also given a bottle or two of the winning cider to take home and share with the rest of the team.
Longshaw Kitchen Garden has a fantastic team of truly dedicated volunteers who have worked really hard over the last year and a half to make this project happen, so it was wonderful for our team to receive this award and gain national recognition of our achievement. We’re now planning what to do with our prize money, as we’d like to use it on a specific project, which we could develop over the winter – Longshaw’s Gardeners are always on the go!

This year, despite the disappointing weather, we’ve had another bumper harvest and our new raised bed has produced exceptional crops of salad leaves and lettuce. The fruit has done particularly well with masses of strawberries and blackcurrants which Longshaw’s Catering Supervisor, Sue Dunster, used to create a delicious cheesecake recipe earlier in the summer. This autumn our apples are looking good too. All our produce is organic and used in Longshaw’s Tea Room so why not come along and sample it for yourself.

Ilam Archaeology Day

 Dig in Process.  Photos by Phil Evans, Volunteer Photographer

We held our second ever Archaeology Day at Ilam in July and had a really successful event.  The purpose of the day is twofold: firstly to let our visitors and members know how and why the Trust is involved in archaeology and just how exciting it is, and secondly to find out a little more about the archaeology of Ilam itself.

 Volunteer Steve Maynard with a young Archaeologist
We had around 600 visitors come on what was a lovely sunny Sunday (apart from 20 minutes monsoon style rain in the afternoon!) and were able to put on a wide range of activities and displays of interest to all ages.  The highlight for most children was the “sandpit dig”, a huge sandpit with many buried finds to dig up and find out about.  They also enjoyed making their very own original cave paintings below the Italian Gardens.  A short distance away we had a real dig going on with support from our Regional Archaeologist Rachael Hall, where we dug a trench across some “parch marks” in the grass and found what might be the boundary wall of the original Ilam Hall.  Elsewhere volunteers were excavating the Victorian ram pump that pumped river water up to the hall for the stables and gardens.  One of the most dramatic activities was iron-age style iron smelting, where using a clay stove, iron ore, charcoal and an enormous set of bellows, several kilograms of iron was produced at the end of the day.

Many thanks go to the staff and particularly the volunteers who gave up their Sunday and threw themselves with great enthusiasm into this event – their excitement and passion was infectious and really helped make the day a success.

Next year we want to make it even bigger and better!  I will be trying to get funding to pay for some more specialist archaeologists like our flint knapper and medieval cook to build on our success and make this event one that even more people want to come to.

Paul Mortimer, Projects Officer

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sunshine, Showers, Good Food and Volunteers

This August we hosted two volunteers’ barbeques to say a huge thanks to all our volunteers for the help and support they give to the National Trust in the Peak District.

Held at the newly refurbished Dalehead Bunkhouse, the Dark Peak BBQ attracted over 50 staff and volunteers to try the good food prepared by our very own catering team and the beer from Bradfield Brewery which was chilled nicely in the stream.

In the beautiful and relaxing surroundings of Dalehead people mingled, enjoyed the view and had a tour of the refurbished bunkhouse.  Luckily it had stopped raining 10 minutes before people arrived so we could all be outside, and there wasn’t even a single midge to contend with.

A week later it was the White Peak’s turn with over 30 volunteers and staff turning up at Grove Farm, which is also home to the Peak District Farm Shop and Tea Room. 

Nick and Helen Bonsall, who run the farm, very kindly hosted the event in one of their sheds which had to be hastily swept out when we realised that the drizzle was set to stay.  With Nick on the BBQ, we were well fed with produce from the farm and delicious salads and puddings prepared by Caroline and Helen in the Tea Room. 

After pudding, everyone was treated to a tour of the farm which gave us all a real insight into life on a working farm as well as some of the work the National Trust does with its tenant farmers. 
Linda Wilkins, Volunteer Membership Recruiter and Health Walk Guide said of the White Peak BBQ, “I thoroughly enjoyed the event and despite the weather the farm trip was great, being a country girl at heart, it was very reminiscent of my childhood!”


Thursday, 11 August 2011

New dates for 2011 Health Walks

We have now set 4 more dates for our Health Walks - they are the first Tuesday of every month in different parts of the Dark Peak area in the Peak District - booking isn't essential however if you wish to book please call us on 01433 670368 or email

Bangers & Bats Walks

Ilam, Fri 19 August
Edale, Wed 24 August
Ilam, Fri 26 August
Longshaw, Wed 31 August
7pm - 9.30pm

The evening starts with a delicious plate of bangers and mash in the cafe (Manifold Tea Room, Penny Pot Cafe or Longshaw Tea Room), followed by a talk by a local expert and a dusky stroll to see and hear the bats.

Bring a torch and bat detector if you have one, also sturdy footwear and water proof clothing.

Cost: Adults £12 Child £8. Booking is essential via 01433 670368 or

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dark Peak Discovery Events

Walk for Health at Edale

Tuesday 9 August from 1:30pm to 4pm

Join us for an easy to moderate level healthy walk with one of our wardens. Please meet at the  Train Station car park in Edale. This is a free event however please call 01433 670368 to book a place

Twilight at Longshaw

Wednesday 10 August from 8pm to 10pm

A dusk walk, looking out for wildlife on the Longshaw . Be prepared to sit still and be quiet for short periods. Please meet at the Longshaw Visitor Centre. The cost for this event is just
£2.00 per person. Please call 01433 670368 to book on to this event

Tales & Tunes at the Penny Pot Cafe (Edale)

Music, tales, and tasty food!
Friday 5 August, Edale
7.30 - 10.30pm

Enjoy a cosy night of fun and feasting with storytelling and live folk music in a lovely atmosphere. Includes a tasty bowl of summer chilli. The Penny Pot Cafe is near Edale Train Station. Bring your own bottle. £10 per person, booking is essential. Please also remember to tell us about any dietary requirements.

Call 01433 670368 or email for details and to book

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Longshaw celebrates 80 years with the National Trust

On the Sunday 19th June the Longshaw Estate near Sheffield in the Peak District celebrated eighty years of public access and being looked after by the National Trust on behalf of the nation.  Staff, volunteers, residents and friends of Longshaw, past and present, got together for a tea party with a fantastic swing band, bunting and balloons, and a specially made 80th birthday cake! 

The event was a reunion for many who have given their time and skills to look after the estate over the years.  John Bunting, 93 years of age, remembered raising the funds to buy parts of the Longshaw Estate as a rambler many years ago, in a speech he gave to a busy audience before cutting the cake with the General Manager of the National Trust in the Peak District, Jon Stewart.  This anniversary is being marked by a number of displays and talks taking place on the estate throughout the year. As part of these celebrations, the Trust is asking for those with any memories, memorabilia or photographs to get in contact and join in remembering 80 years of public access to the Longshaw Estate.

Jon Stewart commented “It is great to celebrate this event as it is all about people getting together to safeguard something they really valued for the future and that they saw the National Trust as the body to deliver that for them. Although it happened 80 years ago it is really relevant to the Trust’s current priority of working with local people to provide wonderful opportunities for experiencing the best the outdoors has to offer”. 

Jon added “Longshaw is a wonderful place to discover spectacular views of the Peak District, its ancient woods, meadows, parkland and heather moorland, as well as to explore its varied history including millstone quarries and packhorse routes.  The National Trust visitor centre is an ideal starting point for Longshaw and the Peak District and with its cafe a good place to relax before or perhaps better after a walk”.

With its long and varied history, Longshaw has something of interest for everyone. It was originally part of the Duke of Rutland’s shooting estate, with Longshaw Lodge as the accommodation.  It is also the home of the Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials, reputed to be the oldest continuous sheep dog trials in the country.  There are ancient trackways, guide stones and old quarries to explore, as well as the diverse range of habitats from heather moorland to ancient woodland, with the ever popular Burbage Brook leading down into Padley Gorge.

The Duke of Rutland’s 11,533 acre estate was put up for sale in 1927, and Sheffield Corporation purchased 3,200 acres for water collection purposes.  The 747 acres originally acquired by the National Trust were purchased from the Corporation following a public appeal by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE).  The land was first opened to the public on Easter weekend 1928 and was patrolled by volunteer wardens, with working parties from rambling clubs helping to maintain the estate. The necessary funds having been raised, the deeds were handed over to the National Trust at a ceremony on 27 June 1931. The Lodge was used as a guest house by the Holiday Fellowship until 1960 and then turned into private flats. The Longshaw Estate was the first piece of open countryside in the Peak District to be acquired by the National Trust, a year before the mass trespass on Kinder Scout and twenty years before the formation of the Peak District National Park.

So come and visit the Longshaw Estate and experience this key part of the history of the National Trust and the Peak District as a whole.

Please contact the Longshaw Estate Office on 01433 631757 with stories or information, and for details of events throughout the year please visit

Marks & Spencer volunteers help out

Four hardy Marks and Spencer employees from our local store in Ashbourne took time out from their busy schedules to volunteer for a day with the National Trust.  Little did they realise how steep the banks would be when they signed up for the day…

The walk down to Hubert’s bank, our work site for the day gave them a taste of the landscape. Passing by the site where Jacobs Ladder grows freely they learned about how we manage the area to encourage the rare plants such as Jacobs Ladder and the associated problems this causes.  Limiting grazing on the grass and scree slopes stops the flowers being eaten but allows scrub to develop and that was their task for the day – removing the ash scrub that has developed along the bank.

Despite the imposing banks, Peter, Clair, Becky and Andrea really got stuck in and we cleared an impressive amount.
Before and after - one of the areas cleared

By the end of the day nobody needed to go to the gym and everybody needed a long cool drink.

Thanks to the M&S group and I hope to see you all again next year.

Mark Cunningham - Warden

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

NT Volunteers Recognised for Long Service in the Peak District

On Sunday 26th June, the National Trust in the Peak District celebrated the incredible service and dedication of its volunteers by presenting them with their Long Service Awards. 

Over 25 volunteers arrived at the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, near Sheffield, to receive their awards which ranged from 5 to 65 years’ service.  Presented by Jon Stewart, General Manager, the group was informed of how much each individual’s support and commitment has helped the National Trust to continue to preserve its countryside estates for ever, for everyone.

Present were volunteers of all kinds, from membership recruiters, to kitchen gardeners, to bee keepers, to conservationists, each of whom play their part in the maintenance of Peak District’s beautiful places.  Members of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers were also in attendance having cut short their morning of bracken cutting to receive awards for, in many cases, over 30 years’ service.  

John Boyle, who has been involved with the National Trust’s work since 1977, said, “Volunteering for the National Trust has always been fun. I've learned lots of new skills and made long lasting friendships.  When I first started volunteering I thought I would just be contributing to the maintenance of our glorious countryside. After over 30 years I now realise that this has become a way of life and I've been rewarded a thousand fold by the fun I've had and the friends I've made."
Jon Stewart, General Manager of the National Trust in the Peak District said, "To meet and celebrate the achievements of people who have put in so much voluntary effort to help the National Trust look after large areas of the Peak District for everyone is both inspiring and humbling.  One of the volunteers, Graham Baxby, has been involved since 1947!  What I also take from this is that volunteering with the Trust is something people get a lot out of and I hope this inspires others to volunteer so that we can continue to do a great job in looking after and making available to people some of the country's most special places". 

If you are interested in volunteering for the National Trust in the Peak District, please contact Cathryn Hamer, Volunteer Programmes Manager, on or 01433 670368.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Countryside Open Days at Dunscar Farm, in Castleton.

On the 29th and 30th of May, the National Trust in the Peak District held it’s annual Countryside Open Days at Dunscar Farm, in Castleton.

The hobby horses returned for the second year running and the Dunscar Derby was the highlight of both days, with both children and adults galloping to the finishing line with style. Families had a go at geo-caching, many for the first time, and the mobile cave and crazy bikes were popular new activities.  The majority of the activities are put on by the National Trust staff and volunteers, who made the most of the bank holiday weekend’s unpredictable weather, creating a fantastic event for families and people of all ages.  Monday’s rain was no problem; with the Penny Pot CafĂ© in the big barn and the camp-fire in the woods keeping everyone warm, dry and happy!

Events Officer Jenny Gerrans says "The Family Countryside Open Days are our biggest and best event of the year, so a big thank you goes to everyone involved.  Set in the stunning scenery at the foot of Mam Tor and Winnats Pass, Dunscar Farm becomes a fantastic place of adventure and play, with music, refreshments and activities for the whole family to enjoy.  If you missed the event, don’t worry - with plenty more events coming up in the Peak District, families have still got a fun-packed summer to look forward to with us, starting with the Cycling Weekends at Longshaw in July.”

Friday, 10 June 2011

Moorland Restoration Work Continues...

The National Trust Estate Team has been busy in the Peak District getting materials ready for the next round of gully blocking, as part of the on-going moorland restoration work.

The first picture shows the team loading and weighing bags of stone for building dams in the peat on Kinder Scout. The second picture shows the bags of logs that are ready

The team now have now prepared 415 bags of stone (each containing around 400kg stone) and 300 bags of logs ready for flying onto the moors by helicopter at the end of July, this being the only way we can get the materials onto the moors.

Jonathan Leyland, Estate Worker

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Ilam Dew Pond Restoration

In the sheep grazed parkland behind Ilam Hall, part of the Peak District Estate’s White Peak Area, is a large dew pond.  About six years ago a fenced wooden platform was built next to it to enable safe pond dipping by many visiting school children each year.

During Restoration
Ken Sharples, the National Trust Community and Learning Officer, leads children as they net specimens from the dew pond, often to compare them with ones caught in the nearby river Manifold.  The leeches, water fleas, water boatmen etc. are temporarily taken back to the Learning Centre beneath Ilam Hall.  By using the projecting microscope the children can see images of the living creatures a thousand times larger on the screen.

Unfortunately, by 2010, the dew pond was choked with mud and reed-mace.  Pond dipping was much less successful or enjoyable and biodiversity in the dew pond was reducing.  Mudlarks National Trust Volunteers accepted the challenge to clear the unwanted mud and vegetation.

Dark Peak Area staff willingly loaned a pump to lower the water level and tools to dig out the dew pond during the dormant autumn and winter seasons of 2010.  Mudlarks NTV minimised disturbance around the dew pond and left some mud and reed-mace in place to preserve habitat and encourage insects and other pond life to re-colonise it.

By the spring of 2011 school groups were back at Ilam and pond dipping in the restored dew pond.  Ken Sharples said recent specimen catches showed that insects were flourishing once more in the dew pond and biodiversity was increasing.

After restoration
Future cooperation between the NT staff and volunteers to establish a regular maintenance programme will prevent the dew pond from becoming overgrown again. It will mean that this valuable learning resource is always available for visiting school parties and biodiversity in the dew pond continues to improve.

If you would like to join in other practical conservation projects look on the National Trust website to find contact details for your local volunteer group.

John Boyle           Mudlarks NTV   

Monday, 9 May 2011

Peak District to host New Cycling Event.

 An exciting new cycling event The National Trust's White Peak Challenge Ride will take place on the 3rd July 2011 on the Peak District Estate starting and finishing in the picturesque village of Ilam.  This new sportive, has three fabulous routes, a 38 mile route ideally suited to those who might be doing their first sportive, a 57 miles option and a 87 mile ride for the more experienced sportive rider, taking in some of the great Peak passes. All routes go through some of England’s most stunning countryside, offering riders the opportunity to explore areas where they may never have been. The event is organised on behalf of the Trust by the leading UK sportive organiser, KILO TO GO. 

Jenny Gerrans, Events and Engagement Officer for Trust said, ‘We are really excited to be holding this new event in the Peak District.  The short and medium routes will be taking in beautiful views of the limestone hills and dales of the White Peak, while the longest route will reach as far north as Longshaw, encountering some of the majestic gritstone edges and moorland landscapes managed by the National Trust in the Peak District.”

Simon Thomson from KILO TO GO said, “The White Peak countryside provides a route with some beautiful ingredients for a great ride in this spectacular area of the Peak District.  All three routes take in challenging terrain and will provide hills that will exhilarate all riders. As the mileage increases the ride gets even tougher, providing a fantastic route for even the most experienced riders. With three fully arrowed and supported routes to choose from, and with plentiful designated free refreshment stops along the way, this is a great day out.”

The event forms part of the National Trust’s new cycling programme which encourages people to enjoy the outdoors on a bike. The National Trust in the Peak District are launching more downloadable cycle trails and running some other events including cycling weekends at Longshaw in July as part of the wider National Trust Cycling Festival.  For more information please visit 

For further details about the White Peak Challenge Ride route, charges and entry details - please visit

Editors notes.

Starting at Ilam Country Park, all the routes head down towards Ashbourne, and then turn Northwards past Carsington Water, and up to Winster where the three routes split. The shorter route returns to Ilam via Parwich. The medium route heads over to Crowdicote where it rejoins the long route. The long route, meanwhile, continues North up to Baslow Edge, Longshaw and Hathersage.

At Crowdicote, the routes enjoy a spectacular descent down to Longnor before the long climb up to the Western edge of the Peak District and the Roaches. At which point, the riders enjoy a mostly downhill route back to Ilam via Onecote and Warslow before reaching Alstonefield where the short route rejoins. All the riders then enjoy a perfect downhill descent in to Ilam to finish.

The start line opens at 08:00 and closes at 09:00