Monday, 11 March 2013

High Peak Moors Vision & Plan Update

The draft High Peak Moors Vision and Plan went out for consultation before Christmas and we've been absolutely delighted with the amount and range of feedback we've received - over 430 responses, well over what we'd been expecting.  Thank you very much indeed to all those who have given us their time and comments.

In order to do justice to all our respondents' hard work we need more time to go through all responses in further detail. Therefore we're aiming to produce the final Vision and Plan this autumn, later than was originally envisaged.  In the interim we will be producing a general response to the comments we've received so that you'll be able to see the scope of feedback we've had and how we are proposing to work with it. 

We'll be in touch again when this becomes available via the project website

Friday, 8 March 2013

Making Connections at a Landscape Scale

Key environmental figures gather to celebrate unique partnership work for the Sheffield Moors 

Environment Minister Richard Benyon and Professor Sir John Lawton, who led a government review of England’s protected areas in 2010 were key speakers at a special event yesterday to mark the work of the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP). £400k is being invested over the next two years to help achieve SMP’s long-term plan that will leave a legacy to local people and visitors to this area of the Peak District.

Gathering at the National Trust’s Moorlands Discovery Centre, they were joined by John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, Liz Ballard, Chief Executive of Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of Peak District National Park Authority, Peter Robertson, RSPB Director for the Northern Region, Beccy Speight, National Trust Director for the Midlands, and from Natural England, Tom Moat, Area Manager, Peak District, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire, together with many other organisations and people connected with the Sheffield Moors.

Formed in 2010, the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP) is a collaboration between the Peak District National Park Authority, RSPB, National Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Natural England to develop a landscape scale vision for the Sheffield Moors and improve connections for people and wildlife both across and in and out of the area.

The partnership aims to achieve its vision through a programme of habitat management and restoration, to encourage wildlife to move around and thrive across the landscape. The promotion of a joined up path network from surrounding communities into and across the landscape that provide high quality outdoor experiences. It is also encouraging public engagement and involvement through volunteering, inspiring events and education. All of this will be led by a long-term, 15 year masterplan, to be published in late spring 2013.

Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said: “I’d like to see more and more people getting out and about and enjoying England’s beauty spots, like the Sheffield Moors. This long-term plan will improve paths to give people better access to Sheffield Moors’ diverse habitats, while additional visitors to its pubs, cafes and tourist spots, will help to grow the local economy.

“It’s fantastic to see the Park and the local authority working with a number of different organisations to make this an even better place to visit. I am looking forward to returning in the future to enjoy some of it myself.”

Just seven miles from the centre of Sheffield, the Sheffield Moors lie in the Peak District National Park, and comprise a 56km² (21 square miles) mosaic of moorland, meadows, bogs, deciduous woodlands, and dramatic gritstone edges such as the iconic Stanage Edge. The Moors also boasts a wealth of wildlife including one of only two red deer herds in the National Park and its only colony of adders.

Speaking on behalf of the Sheffield Moors Partnership, Nick Sellwood said:

“The Sheffield Moors are unique: their proximity to England’s fourth biggest city means they are an easily accessible wild landscape for millions of people. At the same time, visitors to the area help support local businesses in North Derbyshire and Sheffield, whilst the landscape can help attract new businesses nearby who are able to offer their employees this wonderful recreational resource on their doorsteps.”

The Making Space for Nature report, chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton, recognised that England’s network of nature reserves and other protected sites is insufficient to stem the continuing loss of wild plants and animals from our countryside.

Speaking at the event, Sir John said: “The solution is simple; the protected area network needs to include more and bigger sites, better managed and more interconnected sites, for the benefit of wildlife and people. There is now overwhelming evidence that access to quality green-spaces and interesting wildlife is highly beneficial for peoples’ mental and physical well-being. That’s why the Sheffield Moors project is so exciting, and so important, restoring and re-creating habitats for the benefit of local people and visitors, who come to see thriving wildlife in wild, restored landscapes.”

The Sheffield Moors Partnership forms part of the wider Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area (Dark Peak NIA). This is one of 12 government-funded projects taking a landscape-scale approach to meet the challenges facing our wildlife.

Through the Dark Peak NIA, £400k has been secured to help implement the Sheffield Moors masterplan.

A series of public workshops and consultation roadshows have enabled over 1000 people and organisations including the British Mountaineering Council, Ramblers, Hunter Archaeology Society, and Friends of the Peak District, to help shape and inform the draft masterplan.

The final SMP masterplan will be published in late spring 2013.  Further details can be found at

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

They played, they conquered – Longshaw’s natural play is a hit with families

Staff, volunteers and family groups at National Trust’s Longshaw Estate in the Peak District celebrated the launch of their new natural play map last week, which was greeted with big smiles, laughter and lots of thumbs up! 

Playing in the outdoors is something that has real benefits for children and the National Trust Peak District team have recently taken on the challenge of making Longshaw (just 7.5 miles from Sheffield) even more playful for young children and their families.  With plenty of fallen trees, balancing logs and woodland to explore already, the team have delved deeper into Longshaw’s hidden places, creating balancing adventures in the woods and tunnels in the rhododendrons, and doors into imaginary places. 
At the launch event on Sunday 17th February the Play Longshaw! map and new play features were unveiled on an fun activity walk, where each space had a grand opening with bunting, stories and songs.  Storyteller Gordon MacLellan (AKA the Creeping Toad), captivated children with his tales about the mischievous Boggarts of Longshaw and the Peak District, who reportedly might put stones in your shoes or eat your sandwiches when you sit down in the heather for a picnic on the moors.  Imaginations went wild as children found Boggart baths in puddles and made Boggart footprints in mud. 
The opening event was followed by a week of brilliant Boggart-making and mud-painting at the Moorland Discovery Centre, getting children and families fully into the spirit of natural play throughout half term. 

The Play Longshaw! map was designed by National Trust Volunteer, Lu Watkins. She said: “The Play Longshaw! launch week was really exciting – it was great seeing it all come alive.  From the feedback we’ve had so far we know it’s already a huge success, and we’re about to develop ideas for the second phase of the project so look out for more signs of Boggarts at Longshaw.”

The Play Longshaw! map is available from the Longshaw Visitor Centre during opening times, and the signs can be spotted along the route. 

To find out about other events, trails and facilities at Longshaw throughout the year visit: